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A rarity in Missouri politics: A member of Congress gets a serious primary challenger

Clay
Clay AP

You don’t see this very often anymore.

Eight-term Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay apparently will face a primary challenge from a state senator.

Fellow Democrat Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to take on the incumbent in the primary next August in the heavily Democratic district.

Chappelle-Nadal, 41, has criticized Clay for not doing enough for his district. She pointed to the numerous challenges the St. Louis area faces and the government’s failure to resolve an underground landfill fire.

She also suggested to the Post-Dispatch that Clay isn’t around enough.

“I am one of those folks who always comes home,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “People know me. I have a reputation for doing the hard work, even when it is not popular.”

The district includes Ferguson, the site of rioting following the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Last summer, Clay dismissed a potential challenge from the senator, saying a primary fight with her would be akin to “comic relief.”

Chappelle-Nadal was highly critical during the Ferguson crisis of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

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