Many voters say they are fed up with Congress and want new leadership, but incumbents in the Kansas City area’s local U.S. House races won out over their opponents in unofficial returns Tuesday night.
On the Missouri side, U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, Sam Graves and Vicky Hartzler all prevailed, as did U.S. Reps. Kevin Yoder and Lynn Jenkins in Kansas.
3rd District in Kansas
Republican Yoder easily defeated Democrat Kelly Kultala, 60 percent to 40 percent with nearly all precincts reporting. He won his third term to serve the 3rd District, which includes Wyandotte and Johnson counties and the northeast corner of Miami County.
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Yoder has been a reliable GOP vote against policies such as the Affordable Care Act and changes in immigration law, but he has tried to work with Kansas City’s Cleaver on promoting greater civility and some bipartisanship in Congress.
Yoder was challenged by Kultala, a former state senator and a former Wyandotte County commissioner. She focused on education and health care, but her base is Wyandotte County in a district largely controlled by Johnson County Republicans.
2nd District in Kansas
With 70 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Jenkins was defeating Democrat Margie Wakefield, 57 percent to 39 percent, in her quest for a fourth term representing the 2nd District, which includes Topeka, Lawrence and a good portion of northeast and southeast Kansas.
Jenkins has run as a fiscal conservative on a platform of low taxes and a strong national defense.
She was challenged by Wakefield, a Lawrence lawyer who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Chris Clemmons, the Libertarian in the race, was at 4 percent.
5th District in Missouri
Cleaver, a Democrat, won a sixth term representing the 5th District in the U.S. House, which covers much of Kansas City south of the Missouri River, part of the Northland and east to Marshall. He beat Republican Jacob Turk, 52 percent to 45 percent, with nearly all precincts reporting.
It was the fifth time the two candidates have faced off, and this was a low-key race with very little media attention, in contrast to races in Kansas.
Cleaver has repeatedly garnered support from a majority of district voters for his Democratic stands on public education, fair housing, immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act and other partisan issues. Turk has campaigned as a “small government” candidate working to reduce the regulatory impact of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service and other national government agencies.
Also running in the race was Roy Welborn, a Libertarian, who received 3 percent.
6th District in Missouri
Republican Graves coasted to another victory representing the 6th District in the U.S. House. He defeated Bill Hedges, a St. Joseph minister and former teacher, 67 percent to 30 percent.
Graves has had a lock on the 6th District, which spans all of north Missouri and part of eastern Jackson County, since 2001. He is popular in the largely rural district and campaigns on a platform of low taxes, support for small business and limited government regulation.
Russ Monchil was the Libertarian in the race and got 4 percent.
4th District in Missouri
Republican Hartzler defeated Democrat Nate Irvin, 68 percent to 26 percent, with all precincts reporting.
Hartzler, whose district covers west central Missouri, is seeking her third term in Congress. She has campaigned on a platform of low taxes and reducing wasteful government, limited government regulation and a strong national defense.
But she has been criticized for taking those stances while her family farm has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies under U.S. farm policy.
Irvin is a grass-roots organization and a first-time campaigner.
The race also featured Libertarian candidate Herschel Young, who got nearly 6 percent.