The Missouri Times has a list of five state House races that are too close to call, and three of them are right here in Jefferson County, reminding us once again that we live at the epicenter of Missouri politics. The races are:
Dist. 111 – Michael Frame (Dem incumbent) vs. Shane Roden (GOP)
“It is no secret that 6 weeks ago, Frame may have been caught off guard that this was such a competitive race. Today he has got in full gear and now could be one of the few remaining Jefferson County Democrats in the General Assembly next week.” I didn’t expect much from this race, since Frame has such a big money advantage ($132,000 to $42,ooo). In the primary, Roden raised only about $5,000, and he had an early misstep with his flyer that seemed to imply military service. But money has poured in to Roden from the House Republican Campaign Committee and from elected GOP representatives as they apparently smell an opportunity. I had also thought that Frame’s willingness to vote against the 72-hour waiting period for abortion law suggested a certain feeling of electoral safety. But with a national campaign environment sharply against the Democrats, there appears to be some hope that a GOP wave will crash across the county, much as it did in 2010.
Dist. 114 – TJ McKenna (Dem incumbent) vs. Becky Ruth (GOP)
No surprise here, as this race was decided by 89 votes last time. Once again, McKenna is being pummeled by negative ads from the state GOP, but has requested no negative ads be run on his behalf (as I understand it). He has the incumbency advantage this time around, but has a worse climate to run in compared to 2012.
Dist. 118 – Ben Harris (Dem incumbent) vs. Mike McGirl (GOP)
This is an interesting race in that the district straddles Jefferson and Washington counties. Thus Harris can hit McGirl in ads here for not being from Jefferson County (which he has), and McGirl can do the opposite down there (I assume he has). The Leader says that 60% of the district is in JeffCo (I assume that is by population). Harris also has the all-important NRA and MO Right to Life endorsements, so he should pull this out unless there is a tsunami.
The Missouri Times lists the District 112 race as leaning towards GOP candidate Rob Vescovo and all other county House races as safe GOP. The senate race between Jeff Roorda and Paul Wieland is easily the premier race on the ballot here, since there are no competitive races higher up. So the outcome of that race, with about $1.5 million raised by both candidates, may trickle down the ballot to these close races. This effort will be assisted by a $70,000 donation to the JeffCo Labor PAC from a group (Missourians for Excellence in Government) that is tied to Missouri mega-donor Rex Sinquefield, who mostly (but not exclusively) supports GOP candidates. $60k of that has been donated to the Roorda campaign. Interestingly, Ruth and Elaine Gannon (R – 115th) refused checks from Grow Missouri, another Sinquefield group.