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Redistricting Earthquake Shakes Up Plans

Incumbents scrambling to avoid primaries, at least in the St. Louis area.

For the most part, last week’s great redistricting earthquake threw a number of lawmakers into the same state legislative districts. But rather than spurring primary fights, at least some incumbents are making plans to move.

Such was the case with Sen. Jane Cunningham, a Chesterfield Republican who was drawn into the same district with Sen. John Lamping (R-Ladue). But instead of a confrontation,

Similar situations happened across the state and region with House races. For instance, state Rep. Scott Sifton (D-Affton) And other analogous examples occurred in other parts of St. Louis.

As House Majority Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka), noted in the St. Louis Beacon article I co-wrote with Jo Mannies, it may be easy to resolve conflicts in urban and suburban areas throughout the state. That’s because districts are fairly close to each other, and state statutes allow candidates time before they have to move.

But it hasn’t been as clean and tidy in other parts of the state. The Washington Missourian reported some uncertainty about the future of Franklin County’s House delegation. That’s especially the case since Reps. Dave Hinson (R-St. Clair) and Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), who are paired up in a new district.

And even if incumbents avoid each other, it doesn't mean an end to primaries. Rudi Keller of the Columbia Daily Tribune detailed how redistricting may cause a domino effect resulting in crowded primaries across Boone County.

Needless to say, it’s going to be some time before all of the conflicts are straightened out. And some situations may not be resolved so amicably.  

WAGNER GETS BACKING OF 'LIST'

Ann Wagner celebrated yet another endorsement this week with the backing of the Susan B. Anthony List.

The Ballwin resident and former Missouri Republican Party chairwoman announced earlier this week the backing from the group, which spends money on behalf of anti-abortion rights candidates. Wagner’s opponent, GOP attorney Ed Martin, has been active in anti-abortion rights politics for some time.

"I am honored to receive the endorsement of such a well respected and politically active pro-life organization like Susan B. Anthony List,” Wagner said in a statement. “Their commitment to endorsing pro-life candidates across the nation is clear and their record of sending those candidates to Congress to fight pro-abortion forces is impressive. I've marched with Missouri Citizens for Life as a young activist and remain 100 percent pro-life and ready to fight for and defend the unborn in Washington."

The group has specific criteria for endorsing candidates. One of the requirements is that the endorsed candidate “be a pro-life woman running for election to Congress or statewide office OR be a pro-life man running for election to Congress or statewide office against a pro-abortion woman.” 

Meanwhile, Martin’s campaign noted in a press release that he had a “No Truce on Life” event in Chesterfield last Thursday with Luke VanderBleek. VanderBleek took on soon-to-be-imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich over a rule forcing pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception.

Martin also sent out a humorous Tweet last week noting that Attorney General Chris Koster made an appearance at a St. Louis Hills Christmas party. Martin misspelled the Democratic official's first name as 'Kris,' prompting some gentle chiding in Twitter Town.

Full disclosure: This writer also resides in St. Louis Hills. Contrary to imaginary rumors, Koster did not stop by to my humble abode.

WHERE’S NEWT?

In late November, I had the pleasure of visiting Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library in Little Rock, AR. One striking aspect was being reminded that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is now the GOP’s presidential front-runner in a lot of states, was such a high-profile figure in the 1990s. Very few political figures from that time period seem to have transformed into legitimate presidential contenders in the 2010s.

But as , Gingrich’s rise in the polls is coming with some extra scrutiny—including his decision to stay off the ballot in Missouri. While the primary here is non-binding, Politico noted that Gingrich adversaries showcased his absence as “an example of his limited national organization.”   

From the article:

Gingrich did not file for the Feb. 7 Missouri primary and on Monday dismissed it as a “beauty contest” with no delegates at stake. Missouri Republicans will choose their 2012 convention delegates through a caucus process.

But Gingrich opponents have already pointed to his decision to skip out on Missouri as an example of his limited national organization. It’s not like this was a hard primary to file for, as is evident from the list of candidates who made the cut.

The Show Me State’s presidential delegates for the Republicans, of course, will be

About this column: A look around the region at the week that was in electoral politics and a glimpse of the week to come.

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