JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Plenty of observers around the state expected the 12th Senate district Republican primary to be a well-contended and entertaining race. But after yet another shift in the political landscape, it would appear that former state Rep. Dan Hegeman moved one step closer to locking up the seat ahead of the 2014 elections.
The seat comprises more than a dozen counties in the northwest corner of the state, and current Senator Brad Lager, a Republican, is about to be termed out. Rep. Casey Guernsey, a northwest Missouri Republican, was expected to make a strong challenge for the seat before surprisingly withdrawing last month even after some impressive fundraising hauls.
Rep. Delus Johnson, another sitting House member from the region, announced he would be perusing the seat after Guernsey’s withdrawal. But a week later, he changed his mind.
“I have decided to end my campaign for state senate, and seek reelection to Missouri’s 9th State District House seat” Johnson said in a statement.
All the while, former state rep. Dan Hegeman has been slowly gathering support from current and former area-lawmakers. Former 12th district senator and U.S. Congressman Sam Graves announced his endorsement of Hegeman earlier today, and promised to help him on the campaign.
“I served with Dan in Jefferson City and saw his leadership for Northwest Missouri first-hand,” Graves said in a press release.
He is a conservative that will be a powerful advocate for agriculture and small businesses. I believe he is the right man to send to the Senate. I am proud to call him a friend and a colleague. I will be working hard to convince voters to send him to the Senate.”
Hegeman is likely to receive the support of sitting senator Lager and has enlisted the powerful Axiom Strategies consulting firm to carry his message. Jeff Roe, Principal and founder at Axiom, has supported both Lager and Kansas City-area Republican Will Kraus, and his track record in the area and Hegeman’s growing pile of supporters make the election less suspenseful by the day.
Currently, no other Republicans have challenged Hegeman.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.