2012 elections review: Several incumbents defeated in Missouri primaries

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August 8, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The primary season continued with elections in Missouri yesterday.

Here's what happened in Missouri yesterday, where elections were held for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, State House, and State Senate.

Contested Primaries in Missouri -- August 7, 2012
U.S. House
(8 seats)
State Legislature
(180 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 4 (50%) 38 (21.1%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 7 (87.5%) 51 (28.3%)


U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Missouri, 2012

Heading into the election, the Republican Party held six of the nine Congressional seats from Missouri. However, the state lost one seat after the 2010 census and will elect eight representatives.

All of Missouri's congressional incumbents won their primaries to advance to the general election yesterday, with the exception of 2nd district incumbent Todd Akin who won the Republican nomination in the race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill (D).

Missouri had a total of 8 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 46 candidates filed to run, made up of 14 Democratic challengers, 24 Republican challengers, and 8 incumbents. Including states with primaries yesterday, a total of 353 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 57.79% of possible primaries have been contested. Missouri's contested figure of 68.75% (11 out of 16 possible party primaries) is more competitive than the national average.

Missouri lost a congressional seat following the results of the 2010 Census, bringing its number of representatives down to eight. The redistricting trimmed the seat from St. Louis, changing up the 1st and 3rd congressional districts and upsetting their Democrat representatives, William Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan, respectively. With Carnahan’s own home now in Clay’s 1st district, the two saw the new map as unfair. Incumbent William Lacy Clay defeated incumbent Russ Carnahan and candidate Candice Britton in the Democratic primary. Clay will take on Robyn Hamlin in the general election. Hamlin defeated Martin D. Baker in the Republican primary.[1]

The open seat created by Todd Akin's decision to run for Missouri's Senate seat in 2012 drew considerable competition on both tickets. Four candidates filed on both the Democratic and Republican tickets. Ann Wagner defeated John Morris, James O. Baker, and Randy Jotte in the Republican primary. The race between Marshall Works, George Weber, Harold Whitfield and Glenn Koenen came to a standstill after candidates Glenn Koenen and Harold Whitfield were separated by less than a hundred votes with 99% of the precincts reporting, leaving the race too close to call.[1] Ann Wagner (R) will face the winner of the race between Koenen and Whitfield in the general election.

According to the Washington Post, redistricting has turned the 4th district from a safely conservative seat into a swing district. Democratic candidate Teresa Hensley, who recently has been raising more money than incumbent Vicky Hartzler, may present significant competition to Hartzler in the general election.[2] Hartzler defeated challenger Bernie Mowinski in the Republican primary.[1]

Two incumbents, former 9th district incumbent running for re-election in the 3rd district Blaine Luetkemeyer (R), and 5th district incumbent Emanuel Cleaver (D), ran unopposed in their primaries yesterday. Incumbent Sam Graves of the 6th district defeated challengers Bob Gough and Christopher Ryan. He will face winner of the 6th district Democratic primary, Kyle Yarber, in the general election. 7th district incumbent Billy Long also defeated two challengers to win the nomination. Long will face Jim Evans (D) in the general election.

U.S. Senate

United States Senate elections in Missouri, 2012

Incumbent Claire McCaskill ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for the Missouri Senate seat tomorrow. However, significant Republican competition filed for the nomination. In total, 8 Republican candidates ran in the primary yesterday, including 2nd district Representative Todd Akin. Akin defeated John Brunner, Sarah Steelman, Mark Lodes, Jerry Beck, Mark Memoly, Robert Poole, and Hector Maldonado to win the nomination.[3] Akin will face incumbent McCaskill and Libertarian Party candidate Jonathan Dine in the general election.

According to The University of Virginia's Center for Politics race rating, incumbent freshman senator Claire McCaskill (D) is vulnerable in the Republican leaning state.[4] Todd Akin is expected to present a significant challenge to the vulnerable incumbent.[4]

While independent conservative groups spent more than $3 million on television and radio ads in Missouri to unseat McCaskill, the Washington Post reported in late April that McCaskill's response was unique, "McCaskill’s response has been an unconventional and risky strategy: She’s targeting the super PACs right back." The story elaborates, "Standard practice suggests that voters are rarely interested in arguments over campaign finances, particularly in the face of a tough economy and a political system awash in money on both sides. But McCaskill is betting she can turn the millions spent against her into an advantage, a sign of her political independence. She devoted her first campaign ad for re-election to the argument that out-of-state special interests are trying to knock her out of the Senate in November. “You make one company mad by casting a principled vote, and they say, ‘Okay, we’ll just gin up $10 million of our corporate money and take her out anonymously,’ ” she said. “I think if people figure out that’s what’s going on, they’re going to be very turned off by it.”" [5]

Members of the U.S. House from Missouri -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 3 2
     Republican Party 6 6
Total 9 8

State legislature

Missouri State Senate elections, 2012 and Missouri House of Representatives elections, 2012

In Missouri, there are 180 total legislative seats with elections in 2012. There were 38 (21.1%) contested Democratic primaries and 51 (28.3%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there were 89 (24.7%) races with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 24.7% figure of contested primaries in Missouri is higher than the current national contested average of 19.4% for states that have had filing deadlines.

There were a total of 35 incumbents facing primary opposition -- 18 Democrats and 17 Republicans. In the House, there were four districts where two incumbents will face off in the primary election. A total of 8 incumbents failed to defeat their primary opponents -- 7 Democrats and 1 Republican.

Incumbents defeated by their primary opponent are:

Democratic Party District 5: Incumbent Robin Wright-Jones was defeated by House incumbent Jamilah Nasheed.

Democratic Party District 68: Incumbent Bert Atkins was defeated by Keith English.
Democratic Party District 71: Incumbent Tracy McCreery lost to challenger Susan Meredith.
Democratic Party District 72: Incumbent Eileen Grant McGeoghegan fell to fellow incumbent Mary Nichols.
Democratic Party District 74: Incumbent C.M. Spreng was bested by fellow incumbent Sharon L. Pace.
Democratic Party District 75: Incumbent Sylvester Taylor, II was defeated by fellow incumbent Rochelle Walton Gray.
Democratic Party District 87: Incumbent Susan Carlson was defeated by fellow incumbent Stacey Newman.

  • Note: Unofficial results put Newman ahead by just one vote.[6]

Republican Party District 130: Incumbent Thomas Long fell to challenger Jeff Messenger.

Missouri State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 8 10
     Republican Party 26 24
Total 34 34

Missouri House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 54 53
     Republican Party 105 110
     Vacancy 4 0
Total 163 163

See also

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