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Rehder narrowly wins SD 27 nomination


In one of the most dramatic contests in Missouri elections yet this year, Holly Rehder eked out a win over her fellow House legislator Kathy Swan in SD 27. 

With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Rehder was ahead of Swan by just 141 votes — a thin enough margin that could trigger a recount. 

“I want to thank the voters of Southeast Missouri for their support,” Rehder said on social media. “This was a spirited campaign, and I was up against a strong opponent in Rep. Kathy Swan. She has served Cape Girardeau well for many years, and I certainly respect her service. Today, voters chose a different path of fearless conservatism that didn’t just stand for the way things have always been but new ideas on how we can move this state forward. I look forward to being a part of those solutions in the Missouri Senate.”

Swan did not immediately respond to a request for comment or address the race on social media at the time of this reporting.  

The race was competitive, flashy, and certainly not boring with attack ads flying between the two candidates. 

Swan accused Rehder of being “dishonest” about her career as a lobbyist in a television ad last month, alleging her opponent spent a total of 17 years as a lobbyist — including during her time in office. Rehder’s camp called the accusations “false and derogatory” and accused Swan of jealousy over polling numbers. 

Rehder leveled accusations of her own the following week, sending out a mailer accusing Swan of voting for an amendment in committee that would have allowed the teaching of the Quran in schools. Swan rejected the attack ad on social media.   

Swan has served HD 147 since 2012. She chaired the Joint Task Force on Radiologic Technologist Licensure as well as Workforce Development. She works as president of JCS Wireless, her communications company. She has also served on numerous boards and local community service groups.  

Rehder has represented HD 148 since 2012, having championed a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) bill during every session. Her PDMP bill nearly made it through the Missouri Legislature this year before it ultimately stalled. She has also worked as a campaign staffer in Congress and in the telecommunications industry. 

Both candidates are term-limited.

The battle was over SD 27, where outgoing Sen. Wayne Wallingford was term-limited. The district covers Cape Girardeau and Sikeston. 

Wallingford is seeking a return to the House. He won the Republican primary for HD 147 by about 200 votes Tuesday. 

Rehder had more than $33,600 cash on hand ahead of Tuesday night while her PAC had little more than $6,400. Swan, on the other hand, had more than $41,000 in her war chest.