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Republicans compete for Missouri’s 4th District seat

Elections in Boone County.jpg
Rebecca Smith
/
KBIA

The primary election is on Tuesday. For Boone county voters, the polls are open from 6 am to 7 pm.

The Republican primary for Missouri’s 4th District seat is one of the most consequential elections on Tuesday. Incumbent Vicky Hartzler is vacating the seat to run for the US Senate. Seven republicans are vying for the nomination for House District 4, which is considered by analysts as a “safe Republican” seat. Across the board, the seven Republicans hold similar ideas, including being pro-life, protecting the second amendment, and having strong border control.

KBIA’s Katie Quinn tells us about the Republican candidates and how campaign funding affects the race.

Taylor Burks’ standout issue is election integrity. Previously, he was the Boone County Clerk. He believes in transparency and accountability in elections. Burks is also endorsed by Senator Tom Cotton.

Kalena Bruce is a farmer and CPA. Her main issue is investing in infrastructure. Particularly, she is focused on funding highways and bridges. Bruce got Governor Parsons' endorsement in June.

Before running, Mark Alford was a Kansas City news anchor. One of his campaign issues is election integrity. Although it is different from Burks’ ideas. Alford wants to investigate the 2020 election.

Rick Brattin is a Missouri state senator. While many of his issues are similar to that of other Republicans, he holds strong views on China as a threat to the American economy.

Bill Irwin is a retired Navy SEAL. Irwin is pushing for energy independence. He wants more oil drilling on United States soil.

One issue Kyle LaBrue is emphasizing more than the other candidates is school choice. LaBrue thinks it should be the parent’s decision for their child’s education. His background is in business.

Jim Campbell was an ex-St. Louis Blues Hockey Player. His issues are not publicly stated.

While there are seven Republican candidates on the ballot, campaign funding tells a different story. Peverill Squire is a political science professor at the University of Missouri. Campaign funds are essential to any candidate. With local elections, it’s all about name recognition.

“These candidates who are running in the open seat and the new fourth district have to make themselves known to the voters. So they both have to introduce themselves to the potential voters in the Republican primary. And then they have to try to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” said Squire.

The amount of money from individual donors could be an indication that the candidate has more voter support.

“Generally, if candidates have roughly the same amount of money and more, one of the candidates has a much higher percentage that comes in smaller contributions, that might signal that that person actually enjoys more voter support, at least at the grassroots level,” said Squire.

But money isn’t everything. According to Squire, it’s a fuzzy relationship regarding campaign funds and winning an election. It’s more about how candidates reach out to the community and spend the money.

“It gets lost sometimes and the amount of money overall that the candidates have to spend, who manages to get on to TV, who manages to get on to radio, who manages to spend money to get mailers put into your mailbox,” said Squire.

Campaign money for US House Representatives candidates is disclosed to the FEC every quarter. The latest report from July 13th reveals Taylor Burks has the biggest war chest, with his campaign funds currently at $774,000. Following behind is Mark Alford at 600 thousand. Rick Brattin is third at $271,000 and Kalena Bruce at $233,000. The other three candidates are much further behind those four in campaign funding.

The primary election is on August 2nd. For more information on what's on the ballot, go to showmeboone.org/clerk.

Katie Quinn studies radio journalism and political science at the University of Missouri- Columbia. She comes from a small town outside of St. Louis called Fenton.