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A look at the top 3 Senate races in Missouri

  

With two weeks before Election Day, it’s down to the wire for three state Senate races in particular. 

The Senate after the 2018 elections was a 24-10 Republican majority. With returning senators and those without competitive general elections, the Senate is now at 22-9. Rep. Doug Beck is likely to win his race in SD 1, making the Senate 22-10 — ensuring that Democrats do not lose seats. The next two are very close and will make the difference between a 22-12 or a 24-10 Senate. Now, if Gov. Mike Parson is re-elected, then the difference isn’t that large, but if Auditor Nicole Galloway wins, then 23 votes are needed to override a veto. 

Further, 18 votes are needed to adopt a PQ motion to force the end to the free and fair debate of the Missouri Senate. With Sens. Lincoln Hough and Mike Cierpiot not so inclined to PQ, for many (if any) measures, it would only take two more in a 22-12 Senate to block any PQs. This means much more in SD 15 than SD 17 as Sen. Caleb Rowden has not shown himself to be a big fan of the PQ either. 

If you drill down a bit further, a 24 member Republican Caucus will likely have at least eight Conservative Caucus members in 2021; that is a growth of two and inching very close to that all-important number of 12. However, if the Republicans lose SD 15, then that number is at seven and will have only grown one. 

On the other hand, if Republicans win SD 15 and lose SD 17, the Conservative Caucus would tout eight of 23, and with the loss of the majority leader, be in line for a very large seat at the table in Senate leadership decisions. The Senate will be a very different place if the senator from Boone, perhaps the most talented politician in Missouri politics, isn’t returned to the body. 

The three most competitive races heading into November are: incumbent Sen. Andrew Koenig versus Rep. Deb Lavender in SD 15; incumbent Sen. Caleb Rowden versus former Rep. Judy Baker in SD 19; and Rep. Doug Beck versus Dr. David Lenihan in the open SD 1. 

Here’s a look at where each candidate stands financially and what you should know about the districts. 


SD 15: Koenig versus Lavender 

Let’s start with the incumbent, Sen. Andrew Koenig. The Republican was elected to the upper chamber in 2016 after serving in the House since 2009. He’s a member of the Conservative Caucus and was credited with pushing through the massive abortion bill in 2019 and streamlining the rape kit process in 2020. 

Cash on hand: $24,758
Total receipts this election: $97,918

Koenig is supported by Freedom’s Promise Pac which boasts $57,183 in its war chest. Some of its biggest donors have been: 

  • $110,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee in October 2020
  • $35,000 from North Missouri Leadership PAC in October 2020
  • $150,000 from Rex Sinquefield in October 2020
  • $50,000 from American Federation of Children in October 2020
  • $24,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee in August 2020 
  • $50,000 from Rex Sinquefield in December 2019
  • $25,000 from CL PAC in September 2019
  • $10,000 from CL PAC in June 2019

Rep. Deb Lavender has represented HD 90 since 2015. She’s the ranking minority member on the Rules – Administrative Oversight Committee as well as the Subcommittee on Appropriations – Health, Mental Health, and Social Services. 

Cash on hand: $622,962
Total receipts this election: $932,329

Lavender is supported by the aptly named Purple PAC which has $178,115 cash on hand. Some of its biggest donors have been: 

  • $10,000 from Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local Union No. 36 in October 2020
  • $10,750 from DiPasquale Moore LLC in October 2020
  • $20,000 from Robb & Robb LLC in October 2020
  • $10,000 from AFSCME 1625 in October 2020
  • $33,250 from Safer Families for Missouri in October 2020 
  • $10,000 from IUOE Local 513 in September 2020
  • $10,000 from Edelman and Thompson in September 2020
  • $20,000 from SWMW Law in September 2020
  • $7,500 from Alliance for Progress in September 2020
  • $10,000 from LiUNA Local 110 in August 2020
  • $100,000 from CHIPP Political in July 2020
  • $10,000 from UFCW Local 655 in June 2020
  • $10,000 from UAW V CAP in June 2020
  • $25,000 from Teamsters Union 688 in November 2019

Other factors: Ten years ago, the SD 15 was drawn to be the only Republican district in St. Louis County because Democrats knew they couldn’t beat then-Sen. Eric Schmitt. Today, SD 15 is the test case to see if President Trump has alienated educated suburban women to the point where they will vote against candidates such as Koenig. 

Some would be surprised to learn Koenig has never faced a competitive general election in his career and has taken very well to it. Known in the Senate as a staunch conservative, he has keyed on the issue of law enforcement and worked that into his always prominent ground game. 

Suburban races see candidates that are not as well known as other parts of the state and often track closer to the partisan breakdowns of the districts. It’s expected that Trump will be underwater in SD 15. The question is: Can Koenig keep all of Trump’s support and maybe pick up a point or two to win? Lavender needs to keep everyone who isn’t voting for Trump and maybe add some of those educated women to her coalition to be successful in November. 

Bonus: Lavender and Koenig faced off in the Oct. 18 episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” over mask mandates, law enforcement, and health care. 

TIP SHEET PREDICTION: TOSS UP


SD 19: Rowden versus Baker 

Starting with the incumbent, Sen. Caleb Rowden was elected to the Senate in 2016 and was selected as the Majority Floor Leader two years later. He is a former state representative who served in the House from 2012 to 2016. Lately, Rowden said his family has been “followed,” and a fake message was circulated falsely claiming he withdrew from the race. 

Cash on hand: $398,001
Total receipts this election: $833,925

Rowden is supported by Missouri Forward PAC which has $426,769 on hand. Some of its biggest donors have been: 

  • $250,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee in October 2020
  • $10,000 from Drury Development Corporation in October 2020
  • $10,000 from Ameren Missouri PAC in October 2020
  • $10,000 from Caesars Enterprises Services LLC in September 2020
  • $150,000 from Jeanne Sinquefield in September 2020
  • $10,000 from Continental Investment LLC in September 2020
  • $7,500 from Supporters of Health Research & Treatment in September 2020
  • $10,000 from RAI Services in August 2020
  • $7,500 from Richard Miller in August 2020
  • $10,000 from Spire Missouri in July 2020
  • $10,000 from Lincoln PAC in July 2020
  • $10,000 from MO Majority PAC in July 2020
  • $30,000 from the Missouri Soybean Association in July 2020
  • $7,500 from Spirit of Missouri in July 2020
  • $6,500 from Missouri Leadership Forum in July 2020
  • $10,000 from BNSF Railway Company in June 2020
  • $275,000 from Supporters of Health Research & Treatment in January 2020
  • $150,000 from Rex Sinquefield in January 2020

Judy Baker is a former state representative who has also run for U.S. Congress, lieutenant governor, and state treasurer. Baker has a background in health care policy and started a non-profit that addresses poverty and youth development. She and her husband are well known in the community and has made this a very close race. 

Cash on hand: $168,903
Total receipts this election: $376,196

Baker is supported by Missouri Action PAC which has $85,624 on hand. Some of its biggest donors have been: 

  • $50,000 from John Douglas Arnold in September 2020
  • $25,000 Missouri and Kansas Laborers’ PAC in September 2020

Other factors: Recently, there has been some harassment of Rowden’s family — which has made the news and is likely to help Rowden. 

On top of that, a group has begun putting up “Caleb Rowden Lies” signs around Columbia. This is probably going to be seen as over the top and combined with the harassment of his family will probably end up helping Rowden. 

Baker will get every vote a Democrat should and has taken advantage of what is shaping up to be a good year for Democrats in Boone County. 

Those who care about the University of Missouri and are politically savvy could be a boost to Rowden as he is the Senate Majority Leader and can shield the state from the draconian cuts the House Budget Committee has sent over the past few years. 

This race will be razor-thin as Baker is now getting some financial help. It may come down to whether Trump manages not to be too offensive to Boone Countians for the next two weeks because, in many ways, Rowden is running a race to see how far ahead of Trump he can run as he is anything else. 

TIP SHEET PREDICTION: LEAN REPUBLICAN 


SD 1: Beck versus Lenihan

A member of the House since 2017, Rep. Doug Beck is the Democratic nominee to replace Sen. Scott Sifton, who is term-limited, in the district. He’s a longtime pipefitter and former director of the Affton School Board. In the legislature, he is the ranking minority member on the Economic Development and Workforce Development committees. 

Cash on hand: $315,916
Total receipts this election: $179,441

Beck is supported by DougPAC which has $94,395 cash on hand. Some of its biggest donors have been: 

  • $125,000 from Protect Missouri Freedom in October 2020
  • $15,000 from Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 Political Education Fund in October 2020
  • $20,000 from Robb & Robb LLC in October 2020
  • $10,750 from DiPasquale Moore LLC in October 2020
  • $10,000 from Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Political Fund Account No. 1 in October 2020
  • $33,250 from Safer Families for Missouri in October 2020
  • $10,000 from International Union of Operating Engineers Political & Educational Fund in September 2020
  • $25,000 from United Association Political Education Missouri Committee in September 2020
  • $10,000 from Edelman and Thompson in September 2020
  • $20,000 from SWMW Law in September 2020
  • $7,500 from Alliance for Progress in September 2020
  • $100,036 from Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 36 Voluntary Political Fund in September 2020
  • $10,000 from Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 Political Education Fund in September 2020
  • $25,000 from United Association Political Education Missouri Committee in July 2020
  • $10,000 from UAW V-CAP in June 2020
  • $10,000 from Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 Political Education Fund in June 2020
  • $10,000 from UFCW Local 655 Elect Club in June 2020
  • $10,000 from Laborers Union Local #110 Voluntary Political Fund in June 2020

Dr. David Lenihan has a storied career in the health care industry, having received his Ph.D. in peripheral neurosurgery from the University of Edinburgh. He is the former dean of Touro’s Medical School in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He created Tiber Health, a network of medical universities, and bought Ponce Health Sciences University. Additionally, Lenihan has plans to bring a new medical university to St. Louis. 

Cash on hand: $50,896
Total receipts this election: $23,003

Lenihan is supported by Citizens for a Better District 1 which has $32,477 cash on hand. Some of its biggest donors have been: 

  • $24,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee in September 2020
  • $10,000 from Carpenters Help in the Political Process (CHIPP) in July 2020
  • $7,500 from Red Letter Communications Inc. in June 2020
  • $7,500 from John Edmonds in June 2020
  • $7,500 from Mississippi Cape LLC in June 2020
  • $7,500 from Riley Services Inc. in June 2020
  • $5,001 from Northside Regeneration LLC in June 2020
  • $5,001 from M Property Services LLC in June 2020
  • $5,001 from McEagle-O-Fallon LC in June 2020

Other factors: The congressional race is seeing a great deal of mail and door-knocking in the district along with several competitive House districts and a county council race between incumbent Ernie Trakas and Rep. Bob Burns. 

Beck began the race as the frontrunner, and his work along with the national mood has the wind at his back. Lenihan is competing with SD 15 and SD 17 for funding, and as they both have Republican incumbents in those seats, he will be third in line. However, this race may not be within range in the current environment for suburban Republicans.

TIP SHEET PREDICTION: LIKELY DEMOCRAT


Other Senate races 

SD 27: SAFE REPUBLICAN

(R) Holly Rehder
Contributions this quarter: $52,825
Cash on hand: $49,275
PAC: Holly PAC
Cash on hand: $481
(D) Donnie Owens
N/A


SD 31: SAFE REPUBLICAN 

(R) Fmr. Rep Rick Brattin
Contributions this quarter: $50,809
Cash on hand: $31,521
PAC: The Brattin Brigade PAC
Cash on hand: $2,110
(D) Raymond Kinney
Contributions this quarter: $6,111
Cash on hand: $3,609


SD 33: SAFE REPUBLICAN

(R) Rep. Karla Eslinger
Contributions this quarter: $53,786
Cash on hand: $177,675
(D) Tammy Harty
Contributions this quarter: $3,035
Cash on hand: $9,372


SD 29: SAFE REPUBLICAN

(R) Rep. Mike Moon
Contributions this quarter: $16,123
Cash on hand: $12,980
PAC: Table Rock Conservative PAC
Cash on hand: $0


SD 25: SAFE REPUBLICAN

(R) Jason Bean
Contributions this quarter: $40,177
Cash on hand: $30,187


SD 5: SAFE DEMOCRAT

(D) Rep. Steven Roberts
Contributions this quarter: $25,471
Cash on hand: $45,631
(R) Michael Hebron
Contributions this quarter: $50
Cash on hand: $806


SD 3: SAFE REPUBLICAN

(R) Rep. Elaine Gannon
Contributions this quarter: $47,334
Cash on hand: $15,057
PAC: Six County PAC
Cash on hand: $20,848


SD 13: SAFE DEMOCRAT

(D) Angela Mosley
Contributions this quarter: $24,362
Cash on hand: $28,832


SD 23: SAFE REPUBLICAN

(R) Senator Bill Eigel
Contributions this quarter: $11,700
Cash on hand: $45,748
PAC: Believe in Life and Liberty (BILL)
Cash on hand: $79,579
(D) Richard Orr
Contributions this quarter: $5,507
Cash on hand: $13,598


SD 9: SAFE DEMOCRAT

(D) Rep. Barbara Washington 
Contributions this quarter: N/A
Cash on hand: N/A
(R) David Martin
Contributions this quarter: $625
Cash on hand: $174


SD 7: SAFE DEMOCRAT

(D) Rep. Greg Razer
Contributions this quarter: $17,725
Cash on hand: $79,139
PAC: KC Neighbors for Progress
Cash on hand: $5,287


SD 17: SAFE DEMOCRAT

(D) Senator Lauren Arthur
Contributions this quarter: $61,996
Cash on hand: $430,015
PAC: True North
Cash on hand: $94,609
(R) Mickey Younghanz
Contributions this quarter: $11,873
Cash on hand: $5,290


SD 21: SAFE REPUBLICAN

(R) Senator Denny Hoskins
Contributions this quarter: $27,807
Cash on hand: $130,034
PAC: Old Drum Conservative
Cash on hand: $45,064


SD 11: SAFE DEMOCRAT

(D) Senator John Rizzo
Contributions this quarter: $48,859
Cash on hand: $247,459
PAC: Truth in Campaigns
Cash on hand: $143,517