It’s yet another quiet election year in Missouri’s 6th Congressional District as incumbent Sam Graves seeks re-election for the seventh time since squeaking into office in 2000.
Neither Democrat W.A. “Bill” Hedge nor Libertarian Russ Monchil would seem to have the money or the momentum needed to unseat the Republican in the district that stretches across the breadth of northern Missouri, including Kansas City, North, and part of Jackson County.
Graves had raised nearly $1 million as of his July campaign finance report. Hedge had collected $18,000. There was no report on file for Monchil with the Federal Election Commission.
“Money doesn’t always win the election,” Hedge said.
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But even a well-financed challenger would have trouble beating Graves in this largely rural district, as former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes learned when she ran as a Democrat several years back. History and the district’s leanings on social issues and government spending favor the GOP, which has represented the 6th District for 30 of the past 38 years.
In his campaign literature, Graves stresses the need for fiscal discipline in Washington and a simpler tax code, and he clicks off a litany of stances popular with right-leaning voters: gun rights, a strong defense, opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Neither of this year’s challengers is a fresh face. Hedge, a Baptist minister from St. Joseph, lost in the primary when he ran in 2012. Monchil got 2.5 percent of the vote in that November’s general election.
If elected, Hedge would vote for policies that would guarantee people a livable wage, improve the Affordable Care Act and work to further women’s rights to equal pay for equal work and have “authority over their own bodies.”
Monchil opposes abortion personally but champions abortion rights. Government, he says, should not interfere in individuals’ right to live as they please, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. He would legalize marijuana for personal use, and he supports lower taxes and labeling genetically modified foods so people can make informed choices about what they eat.
Occupation: U.S. representative
Education: Bachelor’s in agronomy, University of Missouri in Columbia
Previous public service: Missouri Senate and House; elected to Congress in 2000
DEMOCRATW.A. “Bill” Hedge
Address: St. Joseph
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, Northwest Missouri State University; master of divinity, Central Baptist Theological Seminary; doctorate in education, University of Missouri in Columbia
Previous public service: None
Address: Rural Caldwell County
Occupation: Farmer and hotel worker
Education: Some college
Previous public service: School board member