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House seats counted attract big Republicans in Missouri

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COLUMBIA, Missouri (AP) — Dozens of ambitious Republican candidates in Missouri are jumping at the chance to run for two rarely-held seats in the U.S. Congress in November.

U.S. Representatives Vicky Hertzler and Billy Long will run for the Senate in Tuesday’s Republican primary, leaving Hartzler’s Central 4th Congressional District and Long’s Southwest 7th Congressional District.

Republican primaries for Hartzler’s seat include state senator Rick Brattin, rancher Karina Bruce, former Kansas City-area newscaster Mark Alford, former Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks, and former St. • Blues player Jim Campbell is included. As of mid-July, Burks and Campbell were the top two fundraisers, although Campbell is largely self-funded and has not spent any money.

Republicans seeking seats for Long include state senators Eric Burlison and Mike Moon, former state senators Jay Wasson, Reverend Alex Bryant and Dr. Sam Alexander. Wasson is leading the fundraising.

All but two incumbent Missouri delegates won seats when they became available, which is unusual for Missouri.

Democrat Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver has represented the Kansas City area since 2005, and Republican Rep. Sam Graves has represented Northern Missouri since 2001.

One reason is that there are no federal term limits. Incumbents typically have high profile, economic advantages, and the ability to claim credit for local programs and government funding, said Robin Kuhlman, a political scientist at Central Missouri University. increase.

“This is why candidates tend to surge during free-seat elections,” she said. “Generally speaking, free seat elections are a chance to enter the arena on a much more level playing field.”

In Missouri’s Republican primary, a crowded pipeline of ambitious Republican candidates has made it more competitive, said John Hancock, a longtime Republican political consultant in the state.

Republicans have nearly two-thirds majority in the state legislature and the Senate, which has traditionally been the starting point for political careers. They are barred from running for re-election after eight years of service, forcing candidates to seize other political opportunities.

“Term limits are either imminent or approaching, and there is little opportunity for political progress,” Hancock said.

He expects congressional and statewide seats to remain open, attracting a large field of Republican hopefuls.

In the Republican-dominated 4th and 7th districts, Democrats face tough times, Kuhlman said.

“For this reason, candidates who have successfully emerged from these two Republican primaries are very likely to attend the coronation ceremony, even though the general election is looming.

This dynamic encourages candidates to wager increasingly conservative positions to win the primary.

“I’m the most conservative legislator in Jeff City,” Burlison said at a debate on July 20.

The Republican candidate’s biggest problems include abortion, immigration, America’s energy independence and gasoline prices, inflation, and “the usual middle-of-the-road battle against the president’s party and its institutions.”

“All these races are too close to call,” said Hancock. “It could be late Tuesday night.”

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Associate Press writer David A. Lieb contributed to this report from Jefferson City.

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