Missouri voters chose Democrat Nicole Galloway to challenge incumbent Gov. Mike Parson in Tuesday’s primary election that took place amid worries about the Coronavirus pandemic and a struggling economy.
With unofficial results reported Tuesday night, Galloway, who is Missouri state auditor, easily defeated four other little-known Democratic primary challengers. Parson coasted to victory over three Republican challengers.
The statewide race with a key Kansas City connection was the Lieutenant Governor’s race, where former Kansas City Councilwoman Alissia Canady handily defeated Gregory Upchurch of St. Charles, Mo. In the Democratic primary.
In the November general election, Canady will challenge incumbent Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, who defeated three Republican challengers.
If Canady wins in November, she would be the first woman of color elected statewide in Missouri history.
Canady is an attorney and chair of Kansas City’s Tax Increment Financing Commission. She served as the 5th District city councilwoman in Kansas City from 2015-2019, before she ran for mayor, coming in third in Kansas City’s mayoral primary behind Quinton Lucas and Jolie Justus.
Canady’s platform focuses on ways to combat urban violence; address health disparities; and promote educational and economic development opportunities, especially for underserved communities.
In the Missouri attorney general’s race, two Democrats from St. Louis were vying to challenge incumbent Republican Eric Schmitt.
With incomplete returns Tuesday night, Rich Finneran, former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri had a sizeable lead over Elad Gross, an attorney who served under former Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
Gross has filed a lawsuit hoping to expose dark money donors to former Gov. Eric Greitens’ non-profit. He said he would bolster the public corruption unit in the Attorney General’s office and called for more transparency in state government.
Finneran argued that Schmitt has put politics ahead of what’s best for Missouri citizens, particularly by joining an ongoing federal lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Both Gross and Finneran opposed Schmitt’s effort to overturn the federal health care law and supported Medicaid expansion, which was also on the Aug. 4 ballot.
Tuesday’s primary also featured Missouri Legislative contests affecting the Kansas City area. Some of those key races included:
MISSOURI SENATE DISTRICT 7
In unofficial results in the Senate District 7 race, state Rep. Greg Razer defeated Michael Brown, who is vice president of the Metropolitan Community College Board of Trustees. They were vying to fill the seat vacated by Jason Holsman, to represent a district that includes part of Kansas City, south Kansas City and Grandview.
Razer has represented House District 25 since 2017. He previously was the deputy regional director for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill from 2008 to 2016. He said he supports local control of the Kansas City police department, sensible gun legislation and smart budget solutions.
Razer will face Green Party candidate Nathan Kline in November.
MISSOURI SENATE DISTRICT 9
In Missouri Senate District 9, state Rep. Barbara Washington beat Raytown Alderman Ryan Myers, in a contest to fill the seat vacated by Kiki Curls.
Washington is an attorney who has been the state Representative for District 23 in Jackson County since 2018. Myers is a commercial appraiser who also serves on the Raytown City Council.
Washington said her priorities in the Senate would remain the same as in the Missouri House: economic development, education, mental health and criminal justice.
Washington faces Republican candidate David Martin in November. The district is heavily Democratic and covers southeast Kansas City and Raytown.
MISSOURI SENATE DISTRICT 31
In the heavily Republican District 31, Cass County Auditor Rick Brattin defeated state Rep. Jack Bondon and farmer Bill Yarberry to represent the district that spans Cass, Henry, Bates and Vernon counties.
Bondon has been the House District 56 state representative since 2015. Both Bondon and Brattin said they were strong supporters of President Trump, favored an end to abortion and wanted to cut waste in the budget. Bondon had the endorsements of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missourians for Life, the Missouri Chamber PAC and the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police.
Brattin was supported by a PAC tied to the Senate Conservative Caucus. He garnered national attention in 2014 when he introduced legislation requiring a woman wanting an abortion to get written approval from the man who impregnated her.
The incumbent is term-limited out. Brattin will face Raymond Kinney of Raymore, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
HOUSE DISTRICT 19
Incumbent state Rep. Ingrid Burnett defeated former teacher and non-profit advocate Phyllis Hardwick and LGBTQ activist Wick Thomas. The district covers the Historic Northeast neighborhood plus part of Sugar Creek and Independence.
Burnett has represented the district, since 2017. She had said her focus would be “quality of life” issues for her constituents, ranging from health care to housing to the arts and recreation.
Hardwick said the district needed a representative who would focus more on support for affordable housing and small business and job growth.
Thomas said he would fight the Republican-dominated Legislature on behalf of the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities.
No Republican filed to run in the heavily-Democratic district.
Lynn Horsley is a freelance journalist in Kansas City. Follow her on Twitter @LynnHorsley.