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State senate campaigns begin to take form

The odd-numbered senate seats will be on the ballot in 2016, some safe and some sure to give a good political show down.

Rated from the most contested to safest, here’s how each seat is looking:


  1. 19th (Schaefer) 

This race is destined to be the most competitive and expensive in the state. Rep. Stephen Webber seems to have the Democratic side sewn up, and is awaiting who his opponent will be.

Rep. Caleb Jones is being actively recruited and could put together the money and is a great campaigner. Rep. Caleb Rowden is a communications expert who has won several tough races and has had HRCC invest hundreds of thousands of dollars building his name ID in Boone County. Also, should MU professor Josh Hawley take a pass on the attorney general’s race, he would be formidable.

Rep. Stephen Webber          $195,184.77
Rep. Caleb Jones                  $185,913.55
Rep. Caleb Rowden               $37,985.30


  1. 1st (Sifton)

The 1st’s position hinges on Senator Sifton running for attorney general, which we believe he is running statewide and the 1st will be an open seat. The Democratic side is the most interesting. Rep. Genise Montecillo is actively running, and would have the support of the teachers unions, but there are some who feel that either former Rep. Vicki Englund or Lottery Commissioner May Schieve would have a better chance in the fall.

On the Republican side, many are lining up behind Rep. Marsha Haefner, but former Senator Jim Lembke could also make a comeback bid. Either way, the 1st will likely be just as competitive and expensive as it was in 2012.

Rep. Genise Montecillo          $48,811.63
Rep. Marsha Haefner             $16,909.38
Vicki Englund                          $10,769.56 (no senate committee formed yet, number from active school board committee)
Jim Lembke                             $0.00 (terminated)


  1. 23rd (Dempsey)

This race has two components in a pretty evenly divided district. The first is the primary where Rep. Anne Zerr is being challenged by Tea Party candidate Rep. Mark Parkinson. The second is the bigger question can the democrats field a credible candidate in the 23rd. Many people have seen the population migration from north St. Louis County to the St. Charles area, and that has made the district competitive. If Zerr wins the primary, the Democrats will have no chance, if Parkinson emerges from the primary and the Democrats field a candidate, then this will become one of the most competitive races in the state. A third candidate filed a committee last week and is expected to close on a house within the district to meet the residency requirement.

Rep. Anne Zerr                 $103,926.28
Rep. Mark Parkinson      $303.62 (not including recent $50,000 donation from self)
William Eigle                     NA


  1. 15th (Schmitt)

This race has an interesting dynamic for the front runner, former Rep. Rick Stream. His county executive race, that he barely lost, made him a huge figure in St. Louis County Republican politics and likely ensured that he wins any general election. However, some of the strategy he implemented in the general election makes him susceptible to a primary challenge. He currently has one from Rep. Andrew Koenig, and could have another from Rep. Mike Leara, who has changed his committee to indicate senate intentions.

Former Rep. Rick Stream   $20,249.24
Rep. Andrew Koenig            $54,019.10
Rep. Mike Leara                    $5,075.00


  1. 5th (Nasheed)

This seat seems to always have primary activity. In fact, Senator Nasheed won the seat by beating an incumbent in 2012. She has the backing of all of the key St. Louis political figures, and has an ace in the hole because she can raise money. It could be that all of her hard work pays off and the trend of primaries end. Nasheed is currently the only candidate with a committee with $212,199.63 in the bank.


  1. 17th (Silvey)

The 17th is a seat the Democrats have to win to deplete the Republicans’ supermajority. However, they are extremely unlikely to do it while Senator Silvey holds the seat. Silvey is not only an outstanding campaigner, but he also has the support of several traditionally Democratic constituencies. Silvey is the only committee-ed candidate with $306,685.62 in the bank.


  1. 3rd (Romine)

Senator Romine is a very solid place for re-election and is overwhelmingly likely to be re-elected but the 3rd holds the seven spot because of the district rating. Romine kicks off his campaign this week with $86,951.52 and may remain unopposed.


  1. 11th (LeVota)

This race is very likely to fall down the list to at or near the bottom of the list, but for the next few weeks, this is a race to watch. First of all, because there is only one other race that Republicans could be on offense, but secondly, because of some of the other issues making the news recently. No other candidates have filed committees. LeVota has $114,739.68 in the bank.


  1. 21st (Pearce)

This race seemed to be cruising toward an easy win for Rep. Hoskins, and even with a tumultuous end of session, it still seems to be heading that way. Hoskin’s northern educator neighbor, Rep. Lair, has amended his committee for the seat, but has been quiet on the campaign front.

Rep. Denny Hoskins       $50,552.53
Rep. Mike Lair                 $1,770.44


  1. 7th (Holsman)

This seat plummets if Holsman runs for re-election, but there is a great deal of talk about the senator running for statewide office. If he does, then the primary to replace him will be as competitive as the primary he won in 2012. Look for Rep. LaFaver to be the early favorite to replace Holsman if he runs for statewide office.

Sen. Jason Holsman      $107,580.42
Rep. Jeremy LaFaver     $2,647.00


  1. 27th (Wallingford)

Wallingford has the most impressive resume of anyone in the senate with his military and business records. It’s always possible a primary develops in the fractious Cape Count, but with his strength not only in Cape, but in the rest of the district as well, it would be a kamikaze mission. Wallingford has $55,387.82 in the bank with no opponents.


  1. 33rd (Cunningham)

Senator Cunningham seems to have put his hard fought three-way primary behind him, and coalesced the support of his huge district that stretches from the Springfield suburbs to the Current River. No opponents have filed a committee and Cunningham is sitting on $91,428.39.


  1. 29th (Sater)

Senator Sater is universally respected in his district. There is always the chance of a primary, but it wont be a serious one. Sater is sitting on $64,318.67 and has no official opponents.


  1. 31st (Emery)

The 31st is overwhelmingly Republican. Try to get to the right of Senator Emery…just try. Emery is the sole candidate with a committee in this district and is sitting on $45,409.83.


  1. 13th (Walsh)

With her position as the premiere defender of labor in the senate, she will not only cruise to re-election, but will be a key fundraiser to assist other candidates as well. Walsh is the only candidate committee-filed for the seat and has $50,580.84.


  1. 9th (Curls)

Senator Curls has not only positioned herself well for re-election, but as a force in Kansas City. Freedom Inc. may make a few enemies, but is also the only force that could assist a challenger. No other candidates have filed committees, but Curls sits on $5,457.09.


  1. 25th (Libla)

The safest seat in the senate at this point in the cycle belongs to Senator Libla. He has a conservative voting record, has demonstrated an excellent ability to fundraise, and literally spends hours of his time in the poorest part of the his district helping kids. The only way Libla doesn’t return is that he doesn’t file. Former Congressman Bill Burlison has filed a committee.

Bill Burlison               $17,204.34

Sen. Doug Libla        $92,876.78



Cash on hand numbers from most recently filed reports.