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When national politics overwhelmed a Missouri district

Once a Democratic stronghold, a swing congressional district in northern Missouri became dominated by Republicans, thanks to a national realignment and the influence of conservative media. Plus: Why a Democratic candidate thinks she has a shot to flip a Kansas House district in Johnson County.

Sixteen years ago, Democrat Wes Shoemyer defeated a flood of Republican money and high-profile Republican political figures to win Missouri’s 18th Senatorial District contest, one of the most competitive in Missouri. After his 2010 loss for re-election, the counties that make up the 18th District aggressively trended toward the Republican Party.

As Jason Rosenbaum of St. Louis Public Radio reports, the collapse of the Missouri Democrats across the northern third of the state is more than a story about a political shift. It’s about an existential crisis for a party that used to control Missouri politics.

Kansas’ 39th House District is predominantly white and for decades has elected a Republican candidate. But new district borders and changing demographics have a first-time African American candidate optimistic about her chances. KCUR’s Noah Taborda has the story.

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Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Byron Love and KCUR Studios and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

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