Help Wanted: Two Of Kansas City's Missouri House Seats Will Soon Need To Be Filled
There’ll likely be a special election in Missouri this fall to fill three Democrat-held House seats, two of which represent Kansas City.
Kansas City Democrat Rep. DaRon McGee resigned in April following a House investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. Rep. Brandon Ellington was elected to the Kansas City Council this month, and St. Louis Rep. Bruce Franks resigned to focus on his mental health.
Both McGee and Ellington held leadership positions in the House. McGee was the second-highest ranking Democrat, and Ellington, who just won re-election in November, was the minority whip.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Parson told KCUR that only McGee has officially resigned.
If Ellington and Franks don’t send their resignation to the governor’s office before the end of July, there won’t be enough time for a special session "to allow for the nominating committees to meet and formally obtain candidates,” Kelli Jones said in an email.
It wasn't immediately clear when a special election would be held. But the seats are safely Democratic, according to House minority floor leader Crystal Quade.
“Rep. Ellington is definitely our most senior member, so we are sad to see him go, excited for the people of Kansas City,” Quade said. “But he definitely has not just experience but wonderful relationships and has been a huge asset to us.”
Quade added that Democrats will hold an election in August to choose who’ll take over the leadership positions.
Ellington did not respond to an interview request. But he told KCUR in late March that he had to decide between running for the Senate or city council, and chose the latter because it put him in a better position to “alleviate social issues” in the city, such as stemming violence and bringing business to the 3rd District.
Aviva Okeson-Haberman is the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @avivaokeson.