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Your Guide To Missouri’s Special Senate Election Between Corlew, Arthur

Kevin Corlew, Lauren Arthur
Kevin Corlew, left, and Lauren Arthur are the two Northland natives are running to fill Missouri's empty Senate seat. Election is Tuesday.

It’s time to fill Missouri’s months-vacant 17th District Senate seat, which is in a part of the Northland that doesn’t have a clear partisan leaning.

Tuesday’s election between Republican state Rep. Kevin Corlew and Democratic Rep. Lauren Arthur, both of Kansas City, could end up being a bellwether for the general election in the wake of the investigation and eventual resignation of former Gov. Eric Greitens.

Greitens caused the Senate vacancy, when he appointed Republican Ryan Silvey, a critic of Greitens, to the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Corlew, a Nebraska native, is a Kansas City-area attorney who focuses on business litigation. Before he became a state representative for the 14th District in 2014, he served on the board of education in North Kansas City.

Arthur is a native of North Kansas City. She taught with Teach for America while earning a master’s in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Arthur also was elected in 2014 to the House of Representatives, serving the 18th District.

Here's where the candidates stand on some pressing issues:

Tax cuts

Arthur believes the personal and corporate tax cuts passed this year by the legislature put Missouri's finances at risk. Corlew, on the other hand, says they will promote growth.


Corlew is “pro-life,” and supports Missouri laws restricting access to abortion. He has said he believes in good health care and speeding up the adoption process.

Arthur backs abortion rights, saying she trusts each woman to make the right decision for herself.

"I believe that when it comes to abortion, that's a decision that should be made by a woman, with her family, with her faith community and with her physician," Arthur said. "I don't think that's a decision that should be made by the Missouri legislature."


Corlew defends Missouri residents’ right to own a gun, and has said that we need to protect the Second Amendment. He said he also supports cracking down on loopholes in background checks and providing better mental health care to help curb gun violence.

Arthur is opposed to the state’s current law requiring no permit, license or registration to own a gun, and that she would not support a bill allowing guns in places where they were previously illegal, such as daycares, bars or college campuses.

Labor issues

Corlew has bucked his party to oppose anti-union legislation, but he has supported measures that protect businesses from consumer lawsuits and local minimum wage increases.

“I support making sure that we have an environment that creates the highest paying jobs possible, to make sure that our businesses can grow jobs and pay their workers much more than minimum wage,” Corlew said. “I do believe minimum wage should be set at the statewide level.”

Arthur has opposed state limits on minimum wages and has the endorsement of most local labor unions.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Clay County. 

KCUR’s Brian Ellison contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter: @ptsbrian.

KCUR’s Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter: @_tudhope.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
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