JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The February 2018 special elections could prove to be very interesting, and not just because of the elections.
Voters on Tuesday will hit the polls to decide who will represent them in four open House seats, and with every special election, it’s anyone’s guess about how many constituents will get out and vote.
And that’s not even factoring the calls for inclement weather coming. Meteorologists across the state have called for snow and ice, and hazardous road conditions could play a pivotal role.
“We’ve been monitoring the weather forecasts, as our candidates have been, but we’re certainly are aware what that could do turnout and what it could do to these elections if it’s a low turnout,” Robert Knodell, the executive director of the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee said. “We don’t take anything for granted; these are standalone elections, with not much else on the ballot, and we’re hoping for a good turnout, and we can’t take that for granted because these are nontraditional elections in these places. We can’t necessarily rely on turnout generated by other issues, a presidential race, or statewide races or congressional race.”
In this instance, it’s truly all about the candidates on both sides of the ballot. There are four races taking place on Tuesday:
HD 39 (Former Rep. Joe Don McGaugh):
- (R) Peggy McGaugh
- (D) Ethan C. Perkinson
HD 97 (Former Rep. John McCaherty)
- (R) David C. Linton
- (D) Mike Revis
HD 129 (Former Rep. Sandy Crawford)
- (R) Jeff Knight
- (D) Ronna Ford
HD 144 (Former Rep. Paul Fitzwater)
- (R) Chris Dinkins
- (D) Jim Scaggs
Each of the four seats had been held by Republican members of the House, but Republicans are not resting on their laurels in any of these races. As for how members of the party are feeling about their odds in Tuesday’s elections, here are their comments:
“Heading into 2018, the fact that Democrats have four strong candidates running in deep red districts that weren’t even contested in 2016 shows our grassroots momentum continues to grow,” Missouri Democratic Party Stephen Webber said in a statement. “This is especially true as working families are feeling pain from Republican policies that prioritize millionaires, while Eric Greitens’ scandals, dishonesty, and corruption clouds everything related to the Governor’s Mansion.”
“We’re cautiously optimistic in all four of these races. We obviously feel like the 129th and 39th districts, we’re cautiously optimistic of those. We’ve seen more of a battleground in the 97th and the 144th, but we’re doing everything we can to get Republicans out and hopefully will be successful,” Knodell said.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.