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Bipartisan group of lawmakers call on Roeber to step aside from campaign

A bipartisan group of lawmakers — mostly from Jackson County — called on Rick Roeber to withdraw his candidacy for state representative following allegations he abused his children years ago.

The signees on Friday’s letter include Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo and a few Republicans, including state Reps. Bill Kidd, Jack Bondon, Shamed Dogan, and Sheila Solon. The latter two GOP lawmakers had previously told The Missouri Times they believed Roeber’s children and thought he should step aside from the campaign. 

Rick Roeber
Rick Roeber

“Abuse of any kind is never acceptable and will be met by a zero-tolerance policy by the legislature,” the letter said. “We believe in forgiveness and the ability of individuals to change, but the honor of serving in the People’s House is a privilege that certain acts preclude.” 

Other signees included House Minority Leader Crystal Quade and state Reps. Keri Ingle, Ingrid Burnett, Greg Razor, Barbara Washington, Jerome Barnes, Ashley Bland Manlove, Mark Sharp, Rory Rowland, Robert Sauls, Joe Runions, and Yolanda Young.

Late last month, Roeber’s children, who are now adults, accused him of both sexual and physical assault in a Kansas City Star editorial. The alleged abuse occurred decades prior. 

Roeber, who is running for the former seat of his late wife, has vociferously denied the allegations. 

“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 previously said in a statement. “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.” 

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Ahead of the letter, the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) confirmed HD 34 was not on its 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. “Right now, District 34 is not on our target list.” 

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. 

Solon, the GOP 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.”