JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As the August primary election draws near, new sets of polling are projecting favorites in several state senate races, and one of the most contentious races this year will be the one to replace Sen. Dan Brown in District 16.
Three strong conservative candidates are vying for the seat, including Brown’s son, Justin, as well as Reps. Diane Franklin and Keith Frederick. New polling released this week, conducted by the Remington Research Group, shows an extremely tight primary, with each candidate sitting in the 20s.
QUESTION: Candidates in the 2018 Republican Primary Election for State Senate are Justin Dan Brown, Diane Franklin, and Keith Frederick. If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?
Justin Brown: 27%
Diane Franklin: 25%
Keith Frederick: 20%
The son of Sen. Dan “Doc” Brown is hopeful in his attempt to succeed his father’s seat, but the truth is that this race is close. Though Brown is definitely winning in terms of raising money, the polling shows a tight race with a 2-point-lead for Brown over Rep. Diane Franklin. But Camden County’s “One Tough Grandma” is confident in her campaign efforts.
“Our internal polling shows us with a solid lead,” she said in a statement. “We could not be happier with where we are with 4 weeks until the election. With our media campaign launched and a robust field operation in place, we are confident in our prospects on Election Day.”
“In this part of Missouri, we love Trump and on issues that are important to us like life, guns and our freedoms, we don’t trust politicians who say one thing and do another,” Brown said in a statement. “We need a fighter and someone that shares our values not just in advertising, but in the way they live their lives.”
Frederick, however, isn’t far behind, just five points behind Franklin and seven behind Brown. While he may be the underdog in the race, his campaign is doing exactly what many expected as the wildcard, proving to keep things just as close as possible between the three candidates.
“I believe the race is close, but that polls have been shown again, in a recent Senate race, to be unreliable,” Frederick said. “What matters is who the voters choose on Election Day and my team feels confident as we enter the last few weeks.”
Of course, this race could also be decided based on the breakdown of the district, in a sort of East vs. West showdown, which gives a slight advantage to Franklin. Pulaski County could be the deciding factor in this race, as the expectation is that Frederick and Brown would split votes in the eastern counties, with Franklin running the board in her home county, leaving Pulaski as the swing vote.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.