Missouri voters filling 2 open seats in Congress


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri voters will elect new members of Congress during Tuesday’s general election to fill seats held by outgoing Republican U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, and conservative Republicans are favored to win the districts.

Former Kansas City morning news anchor Republican Mark Alford faces Democrat Jack Truman in the race for Hartzler’s north-central Missouri 4th District seat. GOP state Sen. Eric Burlison and Democratic baker Kristen Radaker-Sheafer are vying for Long’s southwestern 7th District seat.

Alford, of Raymore, defeated six other candidates in the August primary to reach the general. Burlison, of Battlefield, says he’s the most conservative Missouri legislator, and was a member of the Senate Conservative Caucus, a six-member group formed in 2019 to draw attention to issues including abortion, gun rights and reducing the size of government.

Party control of Missouri’s eight congressional seats appears unlikely to shift from Republicans’ current advantage over Democrats in six districts.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, representing the Kansas City area, and Cori Bush, in the St. Louis area, face little threat from their Republican challengers, and the state’s GOP incumbents’ seats are also secure.

While redrawing congressional maps based on 2020 U.S. Census data this year, state lawmakers attempted to make it easier for Republican Rep. Ann Wagner to fend off Democratic competition for her suburban St. Louis seat.

The plan strengthens the Republican vote share there by 3 percentage points over the former districts, according to an analysis by legislative staff that focused on top-of-the-ticket election results from 2016-2020. Democrats nationally have been eyeing Wagner’s seat for years as an opportunity to flip the district.

Wagner won re-election with 52% of the vote in 2020 and 51% in 2018. This year voters will pick between her and Democratic state Sen. Trish Gunby.

The remaining incumbents — Republican Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Sam Graves and Jason Smith — are expected to win reelection easily.

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