MO's Midterm Primary Election Offers Intrigue on Several Levels

Written by Jason Taylor |

 

Tuesday’s midterm election in Missouri features one big statewide issue, Congressional primaries, and some intriguing local votes.

The most high-profile vote is the Proposition A ballot measure to decide if Missouri becomes a right to work state.  It’s a referendum on a 2017 law passed by the legislature that would prohibit mandatory union membership or the collection of union dues as a workplace requirement.

The vote is being watched nationally as a bellwether on how other states might respond to right to work efforts.  It’s thought that interest in Proposition A could trigger a bigger than usual turnout.  Pro-union groups opposing right to work have outraised business organizations who are backing the measure several times over and seem to have more intensity heading into the election.

The U.S. Senate primary features 11 Republican candidates and seven Democrats, although both incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill and GOP challenger Josh Hawley are expected to easily win their contests.  One of Hawley’s opponents, Austin Petersen has tried to create interest by raffling off a Ghost Gunner 2, a machine that allows users to build an untraceable AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.  Petersen, who gave away an actual AR-15 gun in October, announced he was raffling off a second Ghost Gunner 2 Monday night.

Five of Missouri’s eight U.S. House members have primary challengers with St. Louis Democrat William Lacy Clay notably being opposed by democratic socialist Cori Bush.  She’s friends with fellow democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who shocked the political world by beating 10-term Rep. Joseph Crowley in the New York Democratic primary. That momentum has fueled Bush’s optimism heading into Tuesday Missouri election.  Her odds could still be long as Lacy Clay has held the 1st District Congressional seat since 2001, succeeding his father, Bill Clay, who held the position for 32 years before retiring.

On the local level, the race for Greene County Presiding Commissioner features a contentious primary between retiring Republican state Senator Bob Dixon and GOP incumbent Bob Cirtin, who’s been accused of misusing tax dollars.

Under Cirtin’s direction, the county spent more than $260,000 on attorney’s fees to the Kansas City law firm Graves Garrett in response to a Missouri Ethics Commission investigation and a requested audit from the Missouri State Auditor following whistleblower complaints.

The Ethics Commission investigated Greene County following a complaint it had misused taxpayer money in promoting a half-cent sales tax to voters before a November 2017 election.  The Ethics Commission found the county commission did not misuse taxpayer money to advocate for the tax but says it committed a smaller violation.  The county paid a $100 fee to the commission which Cirtin touted as proof that no wrongdoing had occurred.

Also, the city of Springfield will decide whether it wants to ban pit bull dogs.  The City Council narrowly voted to prohibit the breed in November 2017 after two toddlers were attacked by a neighbor’s pit bulls while they were playing in their family’s backyard.  Opponents of the ban easily collected the needed signatures to force a public vote.

 

 

This article was published on August 7, 2018 on Ozarks First and was written by Jason Taylor