Greene County lawmakers seek re-election in new, amended districts
JEFFERSON CITY — Representatives for Springfield and Greene County in the state Capitol sought re-election on Tuesday, with several running for terms in districts changed by a new House map.
That new map, based on new U.S. Census data and finalized in January by a bipartisan Citizens’ Commission, will pit some sitting state lawmakers against each other. However, there will be no such races in Greene County, as the area’s six House members seeking another term will run in separate districts.
The 163 seats in the Missouri House are re-elected every two years.
Two seats in Greene County are up for grabs, with Greene West becoming its own district and a Springfield legislator seeking to join the state Senate. The new Senate map is still not finalized as a panel of appeals judges scramble to draw districts after a bipartisan commission failed to do so.
Rep. Bishop Davidson, a Republican, said Monday he would run in the 130th District directly west of Springfield. That district is leaning 67.15% to Republicans, according to a third-party redistricting tool that uses a composite of previous election results.
Republican Rep. Bill Owen will no longer represent portions of northern Springfield, running in the new 131st District representing much of the northern and western parts of the county (72.84 percent Republican). After pulling case number 001 on Tuesday, he said in an interview that he “really enjoyed working in the northern neighborhoods of Springfield” but was looking forward to representing the broad western strip. of Greene County.
“I don’t feel like I’m walking away from anybody,” Owen said. “I’m just recruiting new friends. … I think the vitality of northern Greene County depends on the growth and development of northern Springfield. And I feel that, in a way, I represent my district making sure we continue to do things to make Springfield thrive and bind it together.”
Stephanos Freeman, a Republican who won just over 14% of the vote in the 2020 primary against Owen, also filed for the district.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Democrat, will seek her final term in the House in the downtown 132nd Precinct (49.84% Democrat, 45.49% Republican).
Two Republicans, business owner Melanie Stinnett and Chillicothe city official Darin Chappell, are running for Southwest Springfield’s 133rd District, vacated by Rep. Curtis Trent (49.07 percent Republican, 46, 08% Democrat). No Democrats have announced their candidacy for the seat.
Representative Alex Riley, a Republican, said Monday he will run to represent Battlefield and communities southwest of Springfield in the 134th District (62.06% Republican), which is significantly changed from his former district. that meandered through downtown Springfield.
He said Tuesday that in a year when Republicans will seek to rebuke the Democratic Biden administration nationally, the Missouri GOP should focus on pursuing conservative policies.
“I think we’re in this weird situation where a lot of voters are extremely frustrated with what’s going on nationally, but overall are happy with the way things are going in Missouri,” Riley said. . “We’ve made good progress over the last few years, but there’s still a lot of things we need to keep pushing the needle on.”
Missouri House: See the finalized districts under the new redrawn map
In the only district that flipped party control in 2020, Democratic Rep. Betsy Fogle will seek another term representing northeast Springfield in the competitive 135th district (49.39 percent Democratic, 46.01 percent Republican).
She told the News-Leader that her campaign began knocking on doors in December and plans to focus on access to health care, public education and solid jobs in her district.
“It’s important as a Southwest Missouri Democrat to differentiate ourselves from what’s happening nationally,” Fogle said. “I really try to only talk about issues that I can have an impact on at the state level, because it’s so easy to get (disillusioned) with politics that are happening at the federal level.”
Republican Rep. Craig Fishel will seek re-election in Southeast Springfield’s 136th District (50.43% Republican, 45.68% Democrat). Stephanie Hein, a hospitality educator at Missouri State University, also filed for election as a Democrat in the district on Tuesday.
A seat is open to represent the 137th district in eastern Greene County (67.46% Republican), after Rep. John Black’s home in Marshfield was drawn into a separate district. Republican and Greene County Circuit Clerk Tom Barr announced last week that he was running for the seat and said Tuesday he had seen a “very positive” response to his campaign.
Greene County Senate seat up for grabs
Half of the upper house is also eligible for re-election. The new district lines are yet to be finalized as a panel of appeals judges is yet to meet after a citizens’ commission was unable to reach an agreement. However, candidates are still filing applications in the districts as they presently stand.
Senator Lincoln Hough, a Republican, will run for his second term representing all of Springfield.
The seat representing the rest of Greene County is open, as Republican Sen. Eric Burlison runs for Congress. Rep. Curtis Trent and Brian Gelner, both Republicans, are running for the seat in a race that has already drawn big money.