JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – More than a half-dozen Missouri lawmakers nearly all Democrats do not appear to be headed back to their offices at the state Capitol.
Unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary elections show voters ousted a Democratic state senator from St. Louis and two other Democratic state lawmakers from the St. Louis area. A Republican House member from southwestern Missouri also was trailing.
Besides lawmakers who faced challengers not already serving in the Legislature, newly redrawn House districts matched up Democratic incumbents in four St. Louis area primary races. The closest of those races Wednesday afternoon showed a single-vote victory for Stacey Newman over Susan Carlson. More than 3,600 votes were cast in the St. Louis County district, which includes parts of University City, Clayton and Richmond Heights.
Carlson, an attorney completing her first term in the Legislature, said Wednesday that there are fewer “what-ifs” to consider in a bigger loss. She said a few things always come to mind when a race is so close.
“One more person who was out of town that you didn’t go over and beg them to take an absentee ballot or something,” Carlson said.
Missouri law allows candidates who lose by less than 1 percent to request a recount. Carlson said she plans to pursue a recount. The winner faces no opposition in November.
Three other Democratic primaries between incumbents drawn into the same state St. Louis area House districts were not as close.
Mary Nichols beat Eileen McGeoghegan and will face Republican Patrick J. Brennan. Sharon Pace defeated Churie Spreng and faces no opposition in the general election.
Rochelle Walton Gray beat Sylvester Taylor in a primary that moved ahead after the Missouri Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge over whether Taylor could run in the redrawn House district. No Republican filed in that district.
In another St. Louis contest, two Democratic House members challenged incumbent Sen. Robin Wright-Jones. Jamilah Nasheed, who also faced a legal challenge about whether she was eligible to run in the district, claimed a 2,000-vote win Tuesday. Wright-Jones finished second. Nasheed is unopposed this fall.
Also running in a Senate primary was Republican David Pearce, who has served as the Senate Education Committee chairman. He won re-election after fending off a challenge from state Rep. Mike McGhee.
Elsewhere, Republican Rep. Thomas Long was 28 votes behind businessman Jeff Messenger for a state House seat west of Springfield. Messenger was leading with 42.3 percent of the vote; Long had 41.7 percent.
Messenger said he expects a recount, noting that he likely would ask for one if the roles were reversed. The Republic resident owns a prosthetics company and said Wednesday that his business experience gives him important perspective.
“One of my strong suits is organization. And so I think I can help in organizing and taking and looking at programs and looking and seeing where we can spend our dollars most wisely, get the most out of what we have,” Messenger said.
The others to lose in Democratic primaries Tuesday were Reps. Bert Atkins, of Florissant, and Tracy McCreery, who won her St. Louis County seat in a special election last year after running as an independent. McCreery previously worked as an aide to Democratic state Sen. Joan Bray and served in Democratic Gov. Bob Holden’s administration.