"I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land." Ezekiel 22:30

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five Missouri Elections to Watch in 2014

Usually off-year or mid-term elections feature at least a couple high-profile statewide races, such as a U.S. Senate race and usually a down-ballot statewide office race. But here in Missouri, the 2014 election is a rare instance where only one statewide office – state auditor – is up for election, and that race is all but over. Of course, all of Missouri’s 162 state representative seats and its eight congressional seats are up for election, but few of those will attract much attention. Yet, even with the lack of high-profile races, Missouri has a fair share of intriguing races to watch in 2014.

1) State Auditor

You’re probably wondering how a boring race like the one for state auditor could be the top race to watch in the state. Well, to put it very simply, this race is a trial run for the 2016 race for the governor’s mansion. Governor Jay Nixon is term-limited, so Republican-turned-Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster is the heir-apparent for the Democrat nomination. Current State Auditor Tom Schweich is widely considered to be a top contender for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination, although he has not officially declared yet, choosing instead to focus on the auditor’s race. Because Schweich doesn’t have serious opposition this year, he may have an advantage over his future 2016 GOP opponents as 2014 will afford him the opportunity to pad his campaign coffers and build valuable name ID for 2016.

2) St. Louis County Executive

The race for St. Louis County Executive in 2014 got a lot more intriguing late in the filing process when State Representative Rick Stream put his name on the ballot against the other Republican, Green Park alderman Tony Pousosa. On the Democrat side, current County Executive Charlie Dooley faces a stiff primary challenge in Councilman Steve Stenger, and whoever survives the bruising primary will most assuredly have a high name ID, but a depleted treasury and potentially tarnished image to go with it. The outcome of this race will have a big impact on the future of the city-county merger debate.

3) State Senate District 22

Two Jefferson County State Representatives are facing off in what may be the most watched race in the state this cycle. Democrat Jeff Roorda and Republican Paul Wieland are gearing up for a messy campaign; one that could be an indication of how future elections will turn out in Jefferson County and beyond. As one of the largest and fastest growing counties in the state, Jefferson County is considered a harbinger of trends in Missouri’s political landscape. This race will be an interesting one to say the least, especially because both candidates have comparable views. However, just this week Roorda has tried to differentiate himself by switching his position on SB 509, the tax cut bill that Nixon vetoed.

4) State Senate District 2

State Representatives Chuck Gatschenberger and Vicki Schneider, and former State Representative Dr. Bob Onder are facing off in a three-way Republican primary that will also determine the next senator in Missouri’s 2nd Senatorial district. Each of the candidates have been campaigning for many months now (about a year in fact), knocking doors and speaking to various conservative groups, each trying to appeal to their conservative base. Even three months out from the August primary it’s hard to tell who has the advantage. Keep an eye on this one; it should heat up just like the weather in July.

5) State Senate District 24

This race may not be so much intriguing for the actual campaigning as for the background that lead up to it being a race at all. The current Senator from the 24th District, Senator John Lamping, has declined to seek another term. Instead, he will be moving with the rest of his family over to – of all places – Kansas so that he can be with his daughter who has been training at a prestigious gymnastics gym in Blue Springs. If that weren’t enough, on the final day of filing, Jay Ashcroft, the son of former Missouri Governor and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, entered his name for the 24th district seat. If you’re a Missouri political junkie, this one will be hard to resist watching.

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This post was originally written for The 9s Magazine blog and was published on May 7th, 2014. Please visit their website and consider buying a subscription.

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