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David Tyson Smith wins special House race in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. — David Tyson Smith, an attorney, will replace former Rep. Kip Kendrick as the representative for HD 45 in Columbia, becoming the first Black representative to serve a district outside of the Kansas City or St. Louis areas in the House

“Winning this election is not the end. It is only the beginning. I am dedicated to getting up every day to make sure that every voter’s rights are protected and that everyone has fair and equitable access to the ballot,” Smith said in a statement. “I want this victory to inspire renewed engagement in the political process. Together, we have a lot of work to do, but it’s clear that we can believe again.”

Smith received more than 75 percent of the vote, beating out Libertarian candidate Glenn Nielsen, according to unofficial vote tallies Tuesday night. Nielsen was the only challenger in the special election

Smith had received an endorsement from famed civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, who said the two “share a vision.”

“I battled for justice alongside Dr. King for many years, and it is clear that David represents a future in which we can all ‘Believe Again,’” Jackson said.

The seat opened up when Kendrick stepped down to serve as chief of staff for state Sen. Greg Razer. Smith was chosen by the Democratic Legislative Committee for HD 45 as the party’s nominee to replace Kendrick in January.

The representative-elect will join the super-minority Democratic Caucus in the Missouri House of Representatives once the election results are certified by both the County Clerk and the secretary of state. Smith said he expects that process to occur within the next few weeks. 

“The hope that with this election, we can begin to turn the tide against voter suppression and other punitive bills in the state legislature — indeed, that we can begin to break the supermajority rule that has become a wall of unrestrained power in Jefferson City,” Smith said.

This story has been updated to reflect Smith is the first Black representative from a district outside of the Kansas City or St. Louis areas, not the cities themselves.