New maps make residency an issue for candidates in Missouri’s 4th congressional district
If Missouri’s primary election were held today, three Republican contestants in the 4th congressional district would not be able to vote for themselves.
the new neighborhood lines which took effect on Wednesday has already led State Rep. Sara Walsh of Ashland to quit the campaign she started last year because her home and legislative constituency will now vote in the 3rd arrondissement.
Although nothing in the law requires a candidate to live in the district, the issue of residency becomes a line of attack in the primary.
Around the time Governor Mike Parson signed the bill creating eight new districts on Wednesday, one of the candidates running in the 4th District – farmer and accountant Kalena Bruce of Stockton – issued a press release calling rivals living outside the new borders to resign the race.
“I just know that I live, work and own a business and a farm in this district and I think it’s important for voters to understand where their congressman lives and resides,” Bruce said in an interview with The Independent. .
After Walsh’s withdrawal, there is seven candidates remaining in the GOP primary — four living within the revised boundaries and three, including the two top fundraisers, who live outside.
The main fundraiser, former Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks, lives in southern Boone County and, like Walsh, his home is now in the 3rd District.
Former Kansas City TV news anchor Mark Alford, who raised the second-largest sum, used a Cass County PO Box address when he applied, but as of Thursday morning he was listed to vote in Kansas City.
Burks, in an interview, said he would not step down. His latest campaign return, for the first quarter, shows he had raised $624,404 for the race, including a personal campaign loan of $76,715, and had $260,452 on hand as of March 31.
Burks said he was moving his residential and voter registration address to a northern Boone County homestead on Thursday and cites a childhood in Dade County, where his grandparents live and is part of of the district since 2001, as links with the district.
“It’s not shocking that Kalena wants all the candidates before her to resign,” Burks said.
Bruce raised $328,196, including a loan to his campaign of $150,100, of which $80,000 was repaid. Bruce had $170,136 on hand on March 31.
Her fundraiser is “a reflection of how little support she has in the district and why she’s asking people to drop out,” Burks said. “Her only qualification seems to be that she is a moderate woman and that is the one the establishment wants to run for.”
Alford announced his campaign at the end of October and he has raised $410,037 through March 31. He had $340,351 on hand and invested no personal funds in the campaign.
Alford, a longtime anchor on WDAF-TV in Kansas City, could not be reached for comment. But he addressed the residency issue during an appearance on Thursday. on KSSZ radio in Colombia.
In addition to noting that the US Constitution does not require candidates to live in the district they represent, Alford said he also intends to settle in the district.
Only tradition prevents voters from choosing someone who does not live in the district as their representative. A member of the United States House must be at least 25 years olda citizen of the United States for at least seven years and a resident of the state he represents.
“We’ve been planning to move for some time and I know the Senate snakes didn’t want us in this race so we were waiting for the map to be released and signed by the Governor before entering into a contract on a house to move. in the district,” Alford said.
The 4th arrondissement, which stretches from from central Missouri west to the Kansas border along and chiefly south of the Missouri River, and the 7th District in Southwestern Missouri, are considered safe Republican seats, where the GOP nomination is likely to produce the candidate who wins in November. Both are open this year because the incumbents, Hartzler of the 4th district and Billy Long from the 7th district, are running for the U.S. Senate. And both drew packed fields for the Aug. 2 primary.
There are eight candidates in the 7th District and one, Sam Alexander of Fair Play, who does not live in the district because Polk County was moved to the 4th District on the new map.
Cooper, Moniteau, and the southern half of Boone County have been moved to the 3rd District on the new map, while Randolph County has been moved to the 6th District, as has the portion of Audrain County previously in the district. . Part of eastern Jackson County as well as Lafayette and Saline counties were added from the 5th District, as was Polk County.
The third candidate who does not live in the district is Kyle Stoner LaBrue of Osage Beach, who lives in the 3rd District. LaBrue did not respond to an email seeking comment.
LaBrue raised just under $16,000 for his campaign.
Along with Bruce, the candidates who reside in the district are Senator Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, Bill Irwin, a former police officer from Lee’s Summit who lives just south of the Jackson County line in Cass County, and Jim (Soupy) Campbell of Climax Springs.
Brattin, in a statement Thursday, did not join Bruce’s call for nonresident applicants to step aside, but noted his long-term residency in Cass County and said that would not change. if he was not the candidate.
“I think it’s unfortunate that some candidates chose to run for the 4th District when they don’t live here,” Brattin said. “Unlike some of the candidates in this race, I live here, and I will continue to live in the 4th arrondissement, win or lose.”
Brattin was the only member of the state Senate who was absent when the new map was approved. Two Senate members running in the 7th District, Sens. Eric Burlison of Springfield and Mike Moon of Ash Grove, voted against the new map.
Brattin has raised $209,428, including a $30,000 campaign loan, and had $173,951 on hand as of March 31.
Barbara Irwin, wife of Bill Irwin, told The Independent that they had lived in the same house in the Cass County part of Lee’s Summit for 20 years and that her husband was “one of the few candidates to live in the district and for a long time.”
In addition to his time as a police officer, Irwin is a retired Navy SEAL. He raised $235,189, including a $150,000 personal campaign loan, and had $203,572 on hand as of March 31.
Irwin’s campaign is not joining the call for others to step down, Barbara Irwin said.
“We’re going to run our campaign and we’re just going to do it,” she said. “But it’s interesting that some can’t even vote for themselves in the race.”
This story was originally published on the Missouri Independent.
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