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Republicans maintain House majority after Election Day

The Republican Party maintained its majority in the Missouri House after Tuesday’s election, with the sole possible flip from red to blue still too close to avoid a recount.

The race for HD 135 between GOP incumbent Rep. Steve Helms and Democratic challenger Betsy Fogle came down to less than a percent, with Fogle leading by a mere 34 votes. The narrow margin will constitute a recount. 

“For those following our race, the journey continues,” Fogle said on social media. “Thank you all for being here with us.”

Fogle, who has worked in the public health field, led a campaign emphasizing health care and Medicaid expansion. Helms kept a similar focus on health while also advocating for criminal justice reform and changes to school funding, some of his priorities during his four years in the House.

The margin for a recount in Missouri is 1 percent. 

Another close race took place in HD 34, where Rick Roeber came out above Democrat Chris Hager by 345 votes, more than 1.5 percent of the total vote. 

The race had seen its share of controversy in the months leading up to Election Day. Numerous Missouri lawmakers from both chambers and sides of the aisle called for him to step aside from the race last month after his children accused him of sexually and physically abusing them

The race was over the seat left vacant after Roeber’s wife, Rebecca Roeber, passed away last year. 

HD 34 was one of two vacant seats going into Election Day. The other, HD 58, went to unopposed Republican Willard Haley. 

Next year’s legislative session is set to see a class of 46 new legislators begin their tenures in the lower chamber. 

The GOP has maintained a majority in the House since 2002 when 14 seats flipped Republican after eight years of Democratic control. The Republican supermajority in the state government took hold in 2017 with the election of Gov. Eric Greitens. 

The 2010 election saw 17 seats flip from blue to red, cementing the GOP’s hold over the lower chamber.

In 2018, only one seat flipped from red to blue, but Democrats picked up HD 99 in last year’s special election. 

Before the election, Republicans held the majority with 113 seats, while Democrats held 48 districts. 

Democrats failed to make headway in the upper chamber this year either — Republican incumbents came out ahead in two of the three biggest Senate races this year, maintaining the Republican majority in both chambers.

Republicans also swept the statewide races, cinching full terms for a class largely made up of appointees.