Last year four state House Republicans from the Kansas City area broke party ranks and became key votes to uphold Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of anti-labor legislation.
On Tuesday, two of those four lost to primary challengers who were mainly funded by Joplin businessman David Humphreys, an opponent of organized labor who sought to oust the incumbents from office.
Nick King of Liberty lost a hotly contested primary against Mary Hill, who received $75,000 from Humphreys, by a mere 44 votes. The winner will face Democrat Mark Ellebracht of Liberty, who was unopposed.
Dan Stacy also upended incumbent Sheila Solon from Blue Springs by a 55-45 margin. Stacy received $25,000 from Humphreys. He will occupy Solon’s seat in Jefferson City next year because he faces no opposition in the general election.
Republican state representatives Kevin Corlew of Kansas City and Bill Kidd of Independence won their primaries. Kidd defeated Christopher Dale with 63 percent of the vote. Corlew defeated Sean Pouche by a 61-39 margin.
“We were up against the political establishment and wealthy special interests,” said Corlew, who now faces Democrat Martin Rucker in November. “But we persevered and stood up for the middle-class values of our district.”
Kidd will face Democrat Mike Englert, who was unopposed in his primary.
The four incumbents were among 20 Republicans who joined House Democrats to kill an override attempt last year of a right-to-work bill that passed the Missouri General Assembly but received Nixon’s veto stamp.
Anne Zerr, a St. Charles County Republican, lost her primary race to Bill Eigel, who received contributions from Humphreys.
Right-to-work legislation would prevent unions or businesses from requiring employees to pay union dues. It’s been a goal for many Republicans in the Capitol for years. Last year and again this year, anti-labor bills withstood attempts at veto overrides, which require the votes of two-thirds of both chambers. That was despite Republican super-majorities in both the House and Senate.
After last year’s failed override, Humphreys and his sister, Sarah Atkins, made hefty campaign contributions to primary challengers for several pro-labor Republicans.
Humphreys, who opposes Missouri’s labor-friendly laws, also pumped in nearly $3 million into a political action committee called Committee For Accountable Government, which ran advertisements against candidates seen as pro-labor.
Ryan Silvey, a Republican state senator from Kansas City, North, will also go up against a Humphreys-funded candidate in November. Silvey, who has voted against right-to-work legislation, had no primary opponent Tuesday.
He will run against Democratic challenger Ranen Bechthold of Gladstone. Humphreys has funded Bechtold’s campaign, representing one of the few contributions the businessman has made to Democratic candidates.
In other local races, John Rizzo won a four-way Democratic Senate primary. Rizzo, who has served three terms in the Missouri House, has a strong shot of returning to Jefferson City as a senator when he takes on Republican Brent Lasater in the Democratic-leaning District 11 in November.
Richard Brown defeated incumbent state Rep. Bonnaye Mims, a southeast Kansas City Democrat. Brown held 65 percent of the vote with 95 percent of precincts reporting.
Rep. Randy Dunn, a Kansas City incumbent, easily defeated fellow Democrat Derron Black. Dunn had 78 percent of the vote with 92 percent of precincts reporting. He faces no Republican challenger in November.
Also winning a House primary easily was Harrisonville Democrat Chase Linder, who defeated Lake Lotawana’s Syed Asif. Linder will now run against Lake Lotawana Republican Donna Pfautsch, who ran unopposed in her primary.
Kansas City-area Democratic Sens. Kiki Curls and Jason Holsman faced no opposition on Tuesday. Curls has no opposition in the general, while Holsman will likely win another term for Senate District 7. He faces Libertarian Jeanne Bojarski; no Republican filed for the race.
Brandon Ellington, Greg Razer, DaRon McGee, Gail McCann-Beatty and Judy Morgan, all Kansas City House Democrats, will return for another term in the Missouri House. None faced opposition Tuesday, nor drew an opponent for November.
In eastern Jackson County House primaries, Rory Rowland, an Independence Democrat; Joe Runions, a Grandview Democrat; Jeanie Lauer, a Blue Springs Republican; Rebecca Roeber a Lee’s Summit Republican and Mike Cierpiot, also a Lee’s Summit Republican, all have their tickets back to Jefferson City punched with no opposition this election year.