Democrats take majority of Boone County House district seats
Four of the five Democratic candidates running for Boone County's state House seats won their races Tuesday night.
Kathy Steinhoff and David Tyson Smith ran as unopposed Democrats in the 45th and 46th districts, respectively.
Winning 63% of the vote, incumbent Republican Cheri Toalson Reisch beat Democrat Dave Raithel in 44th House district race.
Democrat Adrian Plank, who received 52% of the vote, beat Republican John Martin in the race for the 47th House district seat.
And Democrat Doug Mann beat Republican James Musgraves in the 50th House District with 55% of the vote.
Raithel, Plank and Mann attended an area Democratic watch party on the roof of the Broadway Hotel on Tuesday night. Martin, Musgraves and Reisch attended an area Republican watch party at the Boone County Republican headquarters.
Reisch, who has held the position for 6 years, focused her 2022 campaign on her experience in office, noting that she has supported bills for criminal justice reform and Second Amendment protections.
Moving into her final term, Reisch said she is looking forward to taking on a leadership role in the state House.
"I’m humbled and honored that the people of the 44th District have re-elected me to my fourth and final term," Reisch said Tuesday night.
She often emphasized at candidate forums that being a legislator is not just about sponsoring legislation.
“It’s not always if you pass your own legislation and get your own name on a bill as that you work together as a team and can pass legislation that’s good for all 6 million Missourians,” Reisch said a candidate forum.
The race between Reisch and Raithel was marked by debates over national party issues.
Raithel's campaign often focused on his belief in democracy over parties, and his desire to reach across the aisle to pass what he calls common sense policy.
After redistricting, the 44th district now includes nearly all of southern Boone County below the Columbia city limits. However, even with the new district lines, the district retains a similar voting demographic.
Both Martin and Plank, the 47th District's candidates, have backgrounds in running small businesses.
Plank, the Democrat, values environmental issues and sustainable farming. He also believes in trans rights and abortion rights. He owned and operated a small business until the 2008 recession and currently works as a union carpenter, he said.
He has unsuccessfully run for the 47th House seat twice in the past.
Martin, the Republican running, is the owner of Pro Pumping and Hydrojetting, and has worked for the company for 40 years. He values strong schools and said he considers himself a “pro-life candidate.” He said he aims to keep taxes low and entice businesses to the mid-Missouri region.
At the Republican watch party, Martin led a prayer thanking veterans and police and wishing for a secure election.
“We pray for our election process right now and that the votes will be counted with integrity," Martin said.
Incumbent Republican Chuck Bayse could not run again due to term limits.
Mann and Musgraves were the two candidates for the 50th District this year.
Mann, a civil rights attorney and former public school teacher, said education would be his main focus in office. He advocated for modifying the funding formula, increasing state education funding to stem the tide of teacher shortages and four-day weeks statewide. He also said he would prioritize protecting reproductive rights and increasing funding for mental health and the Missouri Human Rights Commission.
Musgraves is a retired Navy commander whose top-line issue during the campaign was the economy. He supports repealing the state's personal property tax, grocery tax and gas tax increase to curb inflation. His campaign also highlighted improving Missouri's infrastructure, supporting police and eliminating "the woke agenda" in schools.
Long a Republican stronghold, the voting demographics in the 50th have become more even because of redistricting — Democrats now slightly outnumbering Republicans.