ROCHEPORT, Mo. – A tight race for the 47th House District seat ended in an upset. Chuck Basye is the representative-elect, unseating Rep. John Wright – a conversational favorite for statewide office. The 47th District consists of a mixture of urban portion of Boone County and Columbia, but the rural districts of Howard, Cooper and Randolph counties secured the win for Basye.
Basye succeeded in defeating well-liked and well-funded incumbent Wright with 51% of the vote. Wright outspent Basye by nearly double, making it one of the most expensive House races in the state. Mid-Missourians were swarmed by televisions ads during the last weeks.
“I knew I was going to have support going into it from the Republican Party, but really I just had to make my mind up that I was going to out work [Wright],” Basye said.
Basye says one of his greatest support systems, financially and otherwise, was his affiliates in the Republican Party.
Basye has been politically involved – he previously served as president of the Boone County Pachyderm Club and continues to be involved today.
One of the speakers hosted by the club in December 2013 was Jonathan Ratliff, the political director for the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee – and he expressed the need for someone who could connect both with the urban and rural parts of the district.
After a few weeks of processing the possibility of running for political office and retiring early from his position Federal Aviation Administration, Basye decided it was his time to jump into politics.
Although his experience in the political sphere prior to this campaign was marginal, Bayse jumped into campaigning feet first, and learned a lot about his district through tireless door knocking.
“The biggest concerns [in the district] depended on what area,” Basye said. “The people of Columbia were mainly concerned with education – it’s a university town with several public schools. In the rural areas, a lot of people were worried about the economy, some of them were worried about second amendment issues, abortion and, of course, agriculture is huge in the district.”
Basye was born in Kansas City and moved to the St. Charles area to complete elementary and high school, where he then joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as a field radio operator. He became an air traffic controller with the FAA in 1984.
Currently, Basye lives in Rocheport with his wife, Rhonda, where they have grown produce for many years. Basye says he enjoys the small farm, which produces enough for fruit and vegetable trucks. Basye and his wife have three children and 6 grandchildren.
His first year as a Missouri legislature, Basye says he looks forward to observing the Republican supermajority operate in Missouri, in addition to carving out his own roles, responsibilities and priorities in the Capitol.
“I am open to all sides,” Basye said. “I’m not just going to listen to Republicans point of view – not all Republicans agree on everything. I look forward to getting a lot done, to working for everybody.”
Kelsey Wingo is the multimedia reporter for The Missouri Times, and a senior at the University of Missouri. She will be graduating in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Readers can contact Kelsey by calling her cell phone at 417-343-0508 or via Twitter @kels_wingo.