Elections | KCUR

Elections

There are dozens of races and issues at stake for both Missouri and Kansas in 2018. Who will be the governor of Kansas? Will Claire McCaskill keep her U.S. Senate seat? And what about Missouri’s ballot issues? KCUR is committed to covering the big issues, the small issues and everything in between for Election 2018.

Missouri Senate, Samuel King

Updated at 12:05 p.m. to clarify fundraising totals — Missouri Democrats are hoping to cut into the Republicans’ supermajority in the General Assembly, and the 8th District is a main target.

It’s a rematch for the eastern Jackson County seat that stayed with Republicans in November 2017’s special election, when then-House Majority Leader Mike Cierpiot managed a narrow victory (50 percent) over Democrat Hillary Shields (42.6 percent) and independent Jacob Turk (7 percent).

file photo / Kansas News Service

Take a look at the Kansas budget and one item looms large, eating up more state spending than anything else.

Schools swallow about $4.5 billion. That spending rose after an infusion of cash by lawmakers earlier this year in response to a court ruling in a long-running fight over whether state government does enough to support public education.

Updated at 10:45 a.m., October 2, 2018: The election is nine months away, but candidates have lined up to replace Kansas City Mayor Sly James when he leaves office in 2019. 

James is term-limited and cannot run when his current term ends next year.

Jolie Justus

Kansas City councilwoman Jolie Justus has re-entered the race for Kansas City mayor in 2019.

The announcement comes one week after Jason Kander withdrew from the race citing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

In a video announcing the news, Justus first thanked Kander.

Luetkemeyer and Rucker
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The race to replace Missouri Sen. Rob Schaaf has come down to two millennials who knew each other while attending Mizzou.

One is Republican Tony Luetkemeyer, a soft-spoken attorney who’s seeking his first elective office and has deep political connections — he’s close to party leaders and his wife, Lucinda Luetkemeyer, was general counsel in the office of former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The other is Democrat Martin T. Rucker II, a former Kansas City Chiefs and Mizzou football player who co-founded a Democratic-leaning political club in the Northland and ran unsuccessfully for a state House seat in 2016.

file photo / KCUR 89.3

Missouri residents packed the driver's license office near the intersection of Cleaver and Troost Wednesday afternoon to beat the state's voter registration deadline for the November election.

Kyle Duyck moved to Missouri from Oregon two years ago. As someone who has regularly voted in previous years, Duyck said he does not want to miss this year’s midterm elections.

“I think there needs to be checks and balances,” Duyck said. “Keeping a Senate seat so we actually can get more moderate elections and get more moderate bills passed would be very important for me.”

The five candidates for Kansas governor faced off at a forum Tuesday night in Wichita.

It was a rare opportunity for independent Rick Kloos and Libertarian Jeff Caldwell to share a stage with the three major candidates — Republican Kris Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Terry Chester was 15 when he got his first job at the I-70 Drive-In, making $2.90 per hour. That was minimum wage at the time.

Decades later, after the recession, he found himself working for minimum wage again as a sacker at Sun Fresh. Chester, 53, has been there five years and now makes $9.85 an hour. He said he lives paycheck to paycheck.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

As the rain fell steadily outside Tuesday morning, a maintenance worker was trying to dry out the carpet in the children’s corner of the Waldo branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

“Water seeping through here is a regular occurrence,” said deputy library director Joel Jones.

As Mary Elizabeth Coleman drives her kids to school, her SUV is a cacophony of chatter. At a stoplight she pulls up behind a car with a "Jesus loves feminists" bumper sticker.

Coleman says to nobody in particular, “Yesterday was the day that women earned the right to vote! 98 years ago … ” She trails off as her footnote to the bumper sticker is drowned out by the shrieking of her baby and a barrage of school drop-off questions from her other kids.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Fresh off a victory that cemented his latest, controversial, pick for the nation’s high court, President Donald Trump came to Kansas Saturday night hoping to transfer his popularity in the state to two fellow Republicans.

Trump arrived just hours after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court — the most controversial appointment to the court in generations. He was in regular rally form, playing to an adoring crowd of some 10,000 thrilled supporters at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

With seven months to go before the 2019 primary election, the eight candidates running to replace Kansas City Mayor Sly James participated in the second debate of the race Saturday afternoon at UMKC

Luetkemeyer and Rucker
Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The influence of money in today's politics is undeniable, in Missouri and everywhere else. We explore campaign contributions, PACs, "dark money" groups and more, not only in big races like the U.S. Senate race between Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley, but also in tight local races like the fight for the Missouri Senate seat in Platte and Buchanan Counties. We talk with Republican Tony Luetkemeyer and Democrat Martin Rucker, and St. Louis Public Radio's Jo Mannies.

President Donald Trump is coming to Kansas this weekend, and some Republican candidates are hoping that will provide them a boost. That includes the Republican newcomer running for Congress in the 2nd District, who’s fending off more questions about his background, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Meanwhile, Kobach's Democratic opponent in the governor's race, state Sen. Laura Kelly, is trying to tie him to former Gov. Sam Brownback.  

Jim McLean, Stephen Koranda, and Madeline Fox of the Kansas News Service discuss whether any of it will sway voters.


Jason Kander announced Tuesday that he is dropping out of the Kansas City mayoral race, citing his battle with depression and symptoms of PTSD.
Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

Jason Kander’s decision to drop out of the Kansas City mayoral race is bringing more attention to post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health issues faced by veterans.

Kander is an Army veteran who served a four-month tour in Afghanistan 11 years ago. He said in a statement that his time in the military continues to affect him and has led to battles with depression and symptoms of PTSD.  

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

At more than 60 years old, Kansas City’s Buck O’Neil bridge is nearing the end of its useful life. And it’s one of thousands across Missouri that the state Department of Transportation can’t afford to replace.

In 2017, MoDOT gave the city two options: It could make major repairs, which would mean closing the bridge for two years. Or the city could make smaller repairs but keep it open to limited traffic.

Jason Kander announced Tuesday that he is dropping out of the Kansas City mayoral race, citing his battle with depression and symptoms of PTSD.
Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander dropped out of the Kansas City, Missouri, mayoral race on Tuesday, saying in a post on his campaign website that he needs to focus on his mental health due to PTSD.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is calling for a special counsel to investigate whether U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her staff improperly handled sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Hawley, Missouri’s GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, is joining a number of Republicans who are upset over how the letter from Christine Blasey Ford was leaked to the press several weeks ago.

The Kansas economy has been sluggish the past few years, but the candidates running for governor each have a plan to jumpstart things.

Will any of them actually work?

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 / Senator Claire McCaskill / Flickr - CC

Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill has a clear fundraising edge over her Republican opponent, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, in her re-election race — with about a month left before the Nov. 6 midterm.

McCaskill brought in $22,785,442, as of the July 18 report to the Federal Election Committee, or FEC. In contrast, Hawley had raised $5,320,513.

file photo / KCUR

The National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled more than $1 million in advertising support from Rep. Kevin Yoder's re-election campaign in the Kansas 3rd District, according to The Hill newspaper.

The Hill broke the story late Sunday and quotes an unnamed source "familiar with the NRCC's strategic thinking."

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Updated Sept. 24 with appeal denied — A ballot measure that would change Missouri's ethics laws and redistricting process will go in front of voters in November, an appeals court panel ruled Friday. And the state Supreme Court confirmed as much Monday in denying an appeal.  

File photo

If there’s been one constant in Kansas politics for the last 30 years, it’s that Republicans seeking statewide office must be unequivocally against abortion, and for overturning Roe v. Wade.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

All four major political ratings organizations currently consider the race for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District a toss-up.

FiveThirtyEight moved the race Saturday from "leans Republican" to a "toss-up" between incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder and Democrat Sharice Davids.

It comes on the heels of two pieces of good news for Davids, a lawyer who is making her first run for office, though she still lags behind Yoder, the incumbent, in fundraising.

Then-state Sen. Mike Kehoe stands on the Missouri Senate chamber floor of the General Assembly.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Segment 1: Missourians will vote on the first gas-tax increase in 24 years. 

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill won’t vote for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the Democrat said in a news release Wednesday.

After weeks of deliberation, McCaskill said she opposes Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court because of so-called dark money — donations to nonprofits that keep the source secret.

Scott Canon / Kansas News Servcie

The ACLU of Kansas is now suing Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker to gain access to lists of 900 voters who filed provisional ballots and about 150 voters whose advance ballots were not counted in the August primary. 

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

It’s late summer, and the drone of insects is a sound that Lonnie Kessler has come to dread. A similar chirping means he’s minutes away from another seizure.

“It sounds like a thousand crickets all at once in my head. And so that really alerts me this is going to happen right now,” Kessler said. “And then I lose consciousness.”

Both of Missouri’s senators want their colleagues to investigate allegations of sexual assault against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

It comes as Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court was expected to get a key vote later this week.

Thirty years after its hard turn to the right — driven largely by abortion politics and the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy protests — Kansas is on the cusp of what could be another course-changing event: the 2018 race for governor.

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