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Rizzo rides momentum into primary victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Rep. John Rizzo won his Democratic primary election over government affairs officer Jessica Podhola and two other contenders Tuesday. He’ll move on to face former state representative Republican Brent Lasater in the heavily Democratic district.

Rizzo won by a closer than expected margin, 46.5-38. While the primary was originally expected to be close, polling in July showed Rizzo with a double-digit lead, some beyond 30 points.


Rizzo gained momentum throughout July as he knocked doors in the district and won the endorsement of Gov. Jay Nixon.

After Rizzo’s win, observers may be questioning the power of some labor groups. The Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council endorsed Podhola, who works for the painters union over Rizzo. The state AFL-CIO also left the race open, despite Rizzo’s 100 percent pro-labor voting record.

Last week, Rizzo questioned why a candidate would ever need the Kansas City Building Trades Council’s support again.

“If I’m fortunate enough to win this election after all of the stuff that my opponent from the building trades has put me through, why would anybody ever need their support in the future,” Rizzo said Friday. “It’s clear that you can without them.”

Rizzo kept from going negative in the race and used a significant financial advantage to air television ads in the Kansas City market. Those ads focused on introducing himself and his family to the district.