Now that the filing period to sign up for state legislative races is over, things are beginning to be a little clearer about what’s to come during the impending election cycle.
Locally the main event will most likely be the 1st Congressional District race that features ). Barring a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that chucks the redistricted congressional map, both candidates remain on the ballot to run in the district that includes all of St. Louis City and a portion of St. Louis County.
The battle between Clay and Carnahan is one notable primary set to occur during the 2012 election cycle. There is, after all, a dizzying eight-way Democratic race for lieutenant governor. There are five other challengers to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) besides Rep. Todd Akin, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and Frontenac businessman John Brunner.
There’s even a Reynolds County Democrat named Clay Thunderhawk that’s running a most-likely hopeless race against Gov. Jay Nixon. That's almost as unusual as Chief Wana Dube, a Dent County man who briefly ran for governor a few years ago as a Libertarian.
And then there are the candidates that got a little gun-shy, deciding either to skip this election cycle altogether or to try a different race. GOP Attorney General hopeful Ed Martin went through this phase before filing began, but others made some switcheroos before Tuesday’s deadline.
One example is Bill Haas, a member of the St. Louis School Board who had originally signed up to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat. The perennial candidate even went so far as to run radio ads for his bid. But since withdrawing from that race, Haas has changed course twice. He signed up to run for the 5th District Senate seat in St. Louis City and then decided to run for lieutenant governor.
As reported in the St. Louis Beacon, Rep. Scott Sifton decided to run for the 1st Senate District seat. That means that he withdrew from contention in the 93rd state House District. Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield) also decided against running for another term, as her seat was effectively moved to Kansas City. Two local aspirants for state House seats, Chuck Brodell of Imperial and David Knisley of Wentzville, also withdrew before the filing period.
While filing is over for most contests, there is still time in a select group of races for more candidates to emerge. That’s because state law stipulates that filing will remain open if a candidate withdraws from a race two days before the Tuesday deadline.
In the St. Louis area, that means more time for candidates to come forward in the races for 5th Senate District, 93rd House District and the 112th House District. The 5th Senate District covers part of St. Louis City, the 93rd House District includes portions of south St. Louis County and the 112th House District covers portions of Jefferson County.
Tuesday was also a defacto victory celebration for a number of candidates, including some notable St. Louis-area lawmakers.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) and Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) will not have opponents in either the August or November elections.
Various other state representatives, including Rep. Rory Ellinger (D-University City), Rep. Clem Smith (D-Velda Village Hills), Rep. Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur), Rep. Mike Leara (R-Sunset Hills) and Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst (R-High Ridge), also didn’t get opponents.
That doesn’t mean that these candidates won’t make an impact in the election cycle. Many will almost certainly campaign or donate money to candidates in more competitive races. On Wednesday, Dempsey sent $50,000 to a committee aimed at helping out state Senate candidates. That could be helpful to someone like Sen. Jim Lembke, a Lemay Republican who could be facing a tough re-election campaign in the 1st Senatorial District.
Jacquelyn Thomas, a Republican committeewoman for Florissant Township, signed up to run as a Republican in the Democratic leaning 13th Senatorial District. Former state Rep. Gina Walsh and Florissant resident Reddit Hudson are running to represent the North St. Louis County-based Senate District.
Wagner meets with the pachyderms
Meanwhile, Ann Wagner, a Ballwin Republican who is running for the 2nd Congressional District House seat, will be the main speaker at the St. Louis County Pachyderm Club dinner this Friday.
Wagner is running against three other people for the GOP nomination in the 2nd District, including former Webster Groves Councilman Randy Jotte. Two lesser-known candidates from St. Charles County, James O. Baker and John Morris, are also in the contest.
The Democratic field includes . Koenen recently stepped aside from leading the Circle of Concern food pantry in Valley Park.