J.J. Rizzo will run for the state Senate seat once held by Paul LeVota of Independence.
Rizzo, a Democratic state representative since 2010, announced his plans to The Buzz in a Thanksgiving night statement. The decision wasn’t a huge surprise as Kansas City Democrats have been talking for months about Rizzo likely entering the race.
Rizzo, whose father was a long-time state rep in the 1980s and 90s, has strong name ID and would rank as the early favorite.
Since LeVota, a Democrat, stepped down in August over sexual harassment allegations involving an intern, Gov. Jay Nixon has opted not to call a special election to fill the seat.
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Rizzo, 35, has taken several steps in recent weeks to prepare for a race for the 11st District seat. First, he listed a new address that’s inside the district — 315 N. Chelsea in Kansas City — on a campaign filing. Apparently his prior address, 340 Garfield Ave., was just outside district boundaries.
He’s also stepped up his fundraising. He brought in more than $19,000 in the year’s third quarter giving him more than $70,000 cash on hand in his campaign account. He raised $4,925 in the second quarter.
On Turkey Night, he issued a statement:
“Since being elected in 2010, I have had the pleasure of serving the residents of Northeast Kansas City, Independence, and Sugar Creek as state representative. Over the past five years, I have fought to bring quality jobs to our region, increase funding for our educational institutions, and protect workers against attacks by well-financed out of state special interests.
“I am thankful for the continued support from the residents of Missouri’s 19th House District, and am energized to continue supporting our middle class values in the 2016 session.
“The challenges facing Missouri and Jackson County require committed leadership, and after much consideration I have decided that the best way for me to continue to represent our interests in Jefferson City is to run for the 11th District Senate seat. I look forward to talking with the people of the Jackson County about how we can make our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”