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DICK WEBSTER REGION
1 Brian Grace v. 16 Laura Swinford
Progress Missouri can boast great success in these battles, dating back to Sean Nicholson. However, Brian Grace proved last year that he is a true A++ player, rocketing to the finals. While Grace is favored, Swinford does have a reputation of being able to keep up.
8 Jamilah Nasheed v. 9 James Harris
If you’ve ever seen two people who really are exactly what they seem to be, Nasheed and Harris would be opposites. We’ll see what will happen in this battle which would be great to see be a debate over a beer. No two people could possibly disagree on more things on the planet than Nasheed and Harris. This will be fun.
4 Tony Messenger v. 13 Travis Fitzwater
Messenger was once a stud in these types of conflicts, dating back to the Tiger Blood tournament days, but Fitzwater brings game. This will be a fun one to watch.
5 Andy Blunt v. 12 Justin Hill
One of the Republican Party’s calmest leaders versus one of its newest members. This will be a clash in styles between Blunt and Hill.
3 Peter Kinder v. 14 Roy Temple
This one goes back to the old days in Southeast Missouri, but the Puxico Punisher is sure to bring aggressive style, however Kinder brings his statewide following with a ramped up social media game now that his gubernatorial campaign is in its full throes.
6 Tim Jones v. 11 David Jackson
The Pelopidas Bowl. This could be the battle that shapes up the largest political operation in the state. We’ll see if Tim Jones can truly back up his title as “King of All Media.”
7 Braxton Payne v. 10 Danny Pfeifer
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the first round, Braxton Payne, a social media guru, faces Danny Pfeifer, the king of all things new school. This will be one of the closest matchups, we predict in the 7-10 battle.
2 Richard Callow v. 15 Sammy Panetierre
It’s the I-70 series all over again. Like the Cardinals, Callow has long standing popularity, talent and success. No word on if he’s looking at anyone’s computers in Texas though. Sammy might be the next big thing and, just like the Royals, people are excited to see how far he can go.
JIM MATHEWSON REGION
1 Caleb Rowden v. Hart Nelson
The defending champion has a tough draw in the first round against St. Louis Regional Chamber Vice President of Public Policy Hart Nelson. Look for I-70 to burn as this St. Louis v. Columbia war goes down. While Rowden reigns, this has the potential for an upset.
8 Mike Cierpiot v. 9 Joe Don McGaugh
McGaugh has a better online presence, but he’ll have to be calculative as he has some bills he wishes to see on the calendar. Though he must treat lightly running against the House Floor Leader, McGaugh does have better hair.
4 Jeff Mazur v. 13 Patrick Lynn
They’re both skinny. They’re both liberal. However, Mazur brings better heat on Twitter and Lynn has better hair than almost everyone. This will be the meanest first round matchup.
5 Robert Cornejo v. 12 John Rizzo
It won’t be the first time sparks have flown between the Gentleman from St. Charles and Democratic House Leadership, but it will be an interesting battle as Rizzo is gearing his Twitter up for his bid for senate. Look for Cornejo to bring his normal wit and look for Rizzo to bring Donald Trump into the debate with the only member of the legislature’s Hispanic Caucus.
12 Tishaura Jones v. 14 Will Kraus
We’re calling this the Voter ID bout. With Jones rising on the Democratic side, potentially a future mayor, against a potentially future secretary of state in Kraus. This could be the two most attractive people competing among the 64 in the first round.
6 Scott Charton v. 11 Jeff Smith
Charton went on a Cinderella run last year, earning the largest up-seed of anyone in the field beside Brian Grace. Smith, while in New York, still has great Twitter game in the state of Missouri.
7 Joe Lakin v. 10 David Turner
This one could go either way, because Turner is a quick-witted Democratic spokesman hailing from Koster’s campaign, while Lakin brings great hair and the Victory Enterprises’ digital team.
2 Jason Rosenbaum v. 15 Carl Bearden
When he prepares, Rosenbaum brings his A-game and is a top notch Barklage Cup/Tiger Blood participant. However, Bearden brings the largest grassroots organization to the party. We’ll see who wins this battle of the titans.
BILL McKENNA REGION
1 Jane Dueker v. 16 Ron Hicks
Ron making his initial foray into the Barklage Cup as he runs for mayor of St. Peters, but Jane’s an absolute pro. She’s an absolute freak at these kinds of events. Deuker brings A-game, and it will be fun to watch her make another run for the title.
8 Michael Sean Kelley v. 9 John Hancock
It’s normally Hancock and Kelley, but this time, it’s Hancock versus Kelley. Both competing for the Barklage Cup to raise money for charity. Hopefully, they will go at each other worse than they do on Fox 2.
4 Todd Richardson v. 13 Steve Tilley
Speaker on Speaker violence. The former Speaker from SEMO versus the current Speaker from SEMO, separated only by a short 36 months.
5 Sean Nicholson v. 12 Alex Eaton
Both of these people can bring flat hate, and we’re hoping they can bring it here against each other in the first round of the Barklage Cup. Eaton being a newcomer takes a modest 12 seed, but Nicholson, who many would say is one of the co-founders of the concept, knows his way around a poll or two and can draw blood like no other. Some would say could draw tiger blood.
3 Mark Reardon v. 14 Mike Parson
Two completely different schools collide as former sheriff of Polk County and current lieutenant governor candidate squares off against the KMOX star. We look forward to seeing at the end of this if Mark Reardon admits that Scott Faughn was right about Donald Trump all along. Can Reardon make the Barklage Cup great again?
6 Michael Calhoun v. 11 Mike Hafner
It’s Mike on Mike crime with the KMOX reporting star against the star of the Republican operating ranks and the man running the Brunner campaign. We know Hafner can throw elbows, and it will be very interesting to see how he throws them on Calhoun.
7 Chris Koster v. 10 Caleb Jones
If you asked them, they would both tell you they’re just small town lawyers. It will be interesting to see these two Missourians take up arms against each other to fight for the Barklage Cup.
2 Eric Schmitt v. 15 Justin Alferman
We have the highest ranking German elected official in the state taking on the man who represents Hermann, who has a statue of one of the greatest Germans of all time. We’re all very interested to see just how mean this fight for the Fatherland can get.
HAROLD CASKEY REGION
1 Mayor Francis Slay v. 16 Todd Abrajano
You have an earnings tax primary here. Abrajano being a non-earnings tax person, and the mayor being very pro-earnings tax. We’ll see if Abrajano can start his own Club for Growth in growing his vote total against the number one seed.
8 Jason Holsman v. 9 Jeremy LaFaver
It’s a Kansas City street fight between Holsman and LaFaver. You don’t get anymore Kansas City or more liberal than these two. Watching these two go at it will be great.
4 Megan Shakelford v. 13 Crystal Brinkley
Democrat on Democrat violence as the two rising female stars in the Democratic party square off. This one will be the most interesting and savage battle.
5 Kurt Schaefer v. 12 Scott Dieckhaus
The marquee match up of the first round where Kurt Schaefer has to square off against his own consultant in Scott Dieckhaus in a death match in a fight to the end. Could it be any better than a consultant having to turn his guns on his own client?
3 McGraw Milhaven v. 14 Aaron Baker
While McGraw has a huge following, Aaron Baker knows social media and is generally “that guy” when many say they “know a guy” – we’ll see if “they” will turn out to vote. We’re watching this one very closely to see old school media versus new school media.
6 Elijah Haahr v. 11 Renee Hulshof
Two bigwigs in the Republican party square off. Radio and social media versus political and social media. Watch the fur fly, and hopefully this fight gets taken to the airwaves.
7 Jack Cardetti v. 10 Brittany Burke
The battle of two former Nixon staffers. it will be very interesting to see who Gov. Jay Nixon votes for in this particular event as Brittany Burke has a professional social media game and Jack Cardetti has professional sarcasm. If you ask the publisher what his favorite first job was, it’s as plain as two flag stores in St. James. This is one to watch.
2 Chris Kelley v. Noel Torpe
How do you like this? Two former legislators that are now lobbying on energy issues going at it. This could be a precursor to what happens to the energy bill in the next two months. Who has the most social media pull could win the first Barklage Cup fight.