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Ashcroft wants governor to call special elections for vacant House seats

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft implored Gov. Mike Parson to call special elections for the multiple vacant House seats “without delay.” 

There are four vacancies in the House with an additional two coming as Reps. Aaron Griesheimer and Justin Hill resigned earlier Wednesday. 

The other four House seats are empty because Wayne Wallingford left to become the new Department of Revenue director, Becky Ruth resigned to lead the Office of Child Advocate, Tom Hannegan passed away last year, and Rick Roeber was expelled from the House after an Ethics report said he abused his children. 

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft

Ashcroft said if Parson issued writs of election by Jan. 10, special elections could be held during the April 5 municipal elections with “minimal cost to the taxpayer, but substantial benefit to Missourians.” Without an election, the seats will remain empty for another year, Ashcroft noted. 

“Residents in the affected districts will be represented only by their state senator as lawmakers take crucial votes on spending, abortion, and congressional redistricting,” Ashcroft, a Republican, said in his letter to the governor. 

“As a state, it is critical that we take the appropriate steps to ensure that all Missourians are fairly, justly, and equitably represented at all levels of government,” he continued. “By calling a special election, these vacant seats can be filled and the constituents of these districts can again have full representation in the Missouri General Assembly.” 

A spokeswoman for the governor was not immediately available for comment. 

The legislative session kicked off Wednesday with both Hill and Griesheimer making farewell speeches from the floor.