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After Roeber abuse allegations, HD 34 not on HRCC ‘target list’

  

Following accusations that GOP state representative candidate Rick Roeber physically and sexually abused his children several years ago, his district remains absent from the House Republican Campaign Committee’s (HRCC) target list. 

“I would say that right now HRCC evaluates each district on a case-by-case basis and invests resources where we think we have the greatest chance to be successful on Election Day,” Jon Ratliff, the interim executive director, told The Missouri Times in a text message. “Right now, District 34 is not on our target list.” 

It’s been nearly a month since Roeber’s children, who are now adults, accused him of sexual and physical mistreatment when they were younger in a Kansas City Star editorial. Roeber, a Republican candidate for HD 34, denied the allegations. 

Rick Roeber
Rick Roeber

Roeber has slightly more than $19,000 cash on hand, according to the latest quarterly filings. He raised $3,229 in Q3 with most of the donations — including contributions from Missouri REALTORS and NFIB Missouri PAC — coming in before the story broke on Sept. 29. 

Chris Hager, Roeber’s Democratic opponent, raked in nearly $10,500 this quarter, bringing his war chest to just under $10,000. An influx of donations came into his campaign from Sept. 29-30 — including from Democratic state Rep. Keri Ingle and a handful of people outside Missouri. 

In comparison, Hager raised a little more than $2,100 and had about $1,700 cash on hand in the previous quarter. Roeber’s campaign raised about $3,700 and reported having a little more than $8,500 cash on hand during that same reporting period. 

Rep. Sheila Solon, the Republican chair of the House Children and Families Committee, was the first — and one of the only — Republicans who called for Roeber to step aside from the campaign. 

“These are very distributing and upsetting accusations. I believe the victims. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s about protecting and believing children,” Solon first told The Missouri Times. “His children are doing a very brave thing in speaking out. He needs to withdraw from the race for the sake of everyone.” 

GOP Rep. Shamed Dogan echoed Solon’s sentiments as well as a few other House Republicans who wished not to be named. 

House leadership, however, has largely remained mum. Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo’s office could not be immediately reached Thursday. 

“These allegations are extremely disturbing,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade told The Missouri Times. “The fact that Republican leadership is staying completely silent makes them completely implicit. The People’s House is supposed to be a place of honor.” 

Roeber is running for the seat left open after his wife, Rebecca Roeber, died in 2019. He is an ordained pastor who has been vocal about his struggles with alcoholism in the past. 

“Decades ago, I suffered through a bitter divorce. In 2003, the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board (CANRB) concluded that all accusations were without merit and I was completely exonerated,” Roeber said in a statement provided to The Missouri Times last month. “Now, these same allegations are being brought up, just one month prior to my election. The desperation of Democrats and the Main Stream Media to discredit my campaign is deplorable and indefensible.”