JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The race to represent Senate District 17 is heating up, and the June special election is promising to be intense.
Voters will decide this summer as to who they want representing them in the state senate, who will follow former Sen. Ryan Silvey in what may be the last true purple district in the Show-Me State.
Representing part of Clay County, Silvey won two terms as a Republican in the moderate swing district, and now, after being appointed to the Missouri Public Service Commission, the seat is left empty, with two members of the House vying for the position.
Rep. Kevin Corlew (R) and Rep. Lauren Arthur (D) both have their eyes on the prize, and the outcome of this election could mean a lot to both political parties. And as one of the few true “toss-up” districts, the race is expected to be both competitive and expensive as Republicans hope to stave off the chance for a Democrat to flip a seat.
According to Arthur’s April quarterly report, her committee currently holds $161,852.94. In comparison, Corlew shows $68,455.51 in cash on hand. In terms of fundraising, Corlew has raised $21,700 this past quarter, while Arthur has brought in $59,765.
But fundraising is only part of the process. Both candidates have picked up some significant endorsements along the way, as well.
The Missouri Chamber PAC and Associated Industries of Missouri are both endorsing Corlew.
“From his important work as Chair of the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force to his focus on bringing several much-needed legal reforms to our state, Rep. Kevin Corlew has made pro-business legislation and economic growth a central part of his mission,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “On June 5, we encourage voters in District 17 to cast their votes for Kevin Corlew.”
“Rep. Corlew’s use of his skills to help employers and promote jobs in Missouri makes our endorsement of him in this race a no-brainer,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “Kevin is a consistent voice of reason for the businesses and voters in his district and across Missouri. His legal expertise will be extremely valuable in the Missouri Senate,” he said.
Arthur, meanwhile, has received the endorsements of some labor groups, including the Greater KC AFL-CIO.
Our campaign is about standing up for working families, and I am honored to have labor stand with me. Thank you, @GreaterKCAFLCIO, for the endorsement. #moleg #RepealRTW #VoteNoOnPropA pic.twitter.com/Vt928sobFG
— Lauren Arthur (@RepLaurenArthur) April 14, 2018
But another factor in the race could very well be how things play out in the trial and investigations of Gov. Eric Greitens. Sen. Rob Schaaf stated on the Senate floor that every day the Governor stays in office, he’s dragging down the Republican Party.
The June special election could serve as a testing of the waters, to see if the ongoing events with Greitens will impact Republicans at the polls.
Both Arthur and Corlew have stated that they believe Greitens should resign or face impeachment.
Whatever the case, the SD 17 promises to be one to watch. Voters head to the polls on June 5, 2018.
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.