Candidates step up for 36th House District special election


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Three political hopefuls have thrown their names into the hat for the 36th House District special election, to be decided by South Kansas City voters on Nov. 3. The seat was vacated due to Rep. Kevin McManus’ election to the Kansas City City Council.


DaRon McGee, the Jackson County COMBAT Public Affairs coordinator, received the Democratic nomination for the seat in recent weeks on the heels of independent insurance agent and Republican activist Nola Wood’s announcement that she would seek the seat for a third time.

Mary Ann Drape, a Democratic attorney, announced her independent candidacy today via a press release.

“Ours is a diverse district and I am committed to addressing the needs and concerns of all in the district,” Drape said in a release. “I will be accountable and accessible to the community. I will devote all my time, energy and resources to winning the seat and being a tireless lawmaker. I am humbled by the support I have received from the voters in of the 36th Legislative District.”


Drape serves as a court appointed mediator and began her career as an assistant prosecutor in Jackson County, and is registered as an independent with the MEC.

The three South Kansas City natives have been pushing their grassroots campaign efforts. McGee and Drape were present at a union meeting this week, while Wood attended the First Thursday Republican Club last week for a “Meet the Candidates” event, where Sen. Kurt Schaefer and others were present. Since the nomination, McGee has been tirelessly knocking doors.

nola wood

Wood is hoping that the special election is her time to be elected.

“We have less than two months, and we have another reason this is a great chance to make meaningful change in our community and state,” Wood shared on her website. “The only other thing on the ballot will be a referendum on the job-killing mandate for a $15 minimum wage.  Now we have two reasons to make sure our neighbors who understand economics will be the ones to actually get to the polls, to make sure we save the day. We can do better at: job creation, education, cutting waste in government, cutting utility bills.”
Wood has gained the endorsement of state Sen. Ed Emery, which Wood has placed on her website.
“We live in a day when few understand the value of Liberty and how quickly it is being lost. Even fewer are willing to commit their time, their treasure, and their reputation to defending it,” Emery said. “Nola Wood is one of those very few and will be a valuable asset for the people in Jefferson City.”

The 36th district leans roughly +5 Democratic, but Wood received 40% of the vote in the last election against McManus.

It is rumored that if the “bag bill,” HB 722 is overridden, the minimum wage increase will be pulled from the ballot due to the cost to the city for the measure. If the referendum is on the ballot, Kansas Citians are expecting a high Democratic turnout.

The 29th, 36th, and 89th districts will all three be filled in the special election this fall. The seat in the 29th District, located in Jackson County, became vacant after state Rep. Noel Torpey resigned. The seat in the 89th District, located in St. Louis County, became vacant when state Rep. John Diehl Jr. resigned.

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Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer. Rachael studied at the University of Missouri - Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children. To contact Rachael, email, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.