© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Politics, Elections and Government

Five Takeaways From The August Primary In Missouri And Kansas

Carlos Moreno
Tremain Davis, left, and his mother Vallire Davis, feed their ballots into the scanners at the Wyandotte County Election Office in Kansas City on Friday morning. Vallire said she always brings her 47-year-old son, who has special needs, to the polls to cast his ballot.

Both Missouri and Kansas saw some close statehouse races. Here's what to make of the results.

Tuesday’s election included key Kansas Congressional primaries and a historic vote to expand Medicaid in Missouri.

Here are five important takeaways:

Flipping the Kansas U.S. Senate Seat will be harder for Democrats with Marshall, not Kobach, as the Republican opponent

A Democratic-aligned super PAC poured millions into the Republican primary, hoping to boost Kris Kobach. With Kobach’s 2018 gubernatorial loss still fresh in mind, Republican voters backed U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall. Voters will have a choice between two doctors in November. Marshall spent three decades as an OB-GYN and is up against Barbara Bollier, a retired physician and state lawmaker who switched parties in 2018. While Bollier has already raised about $8 million, early polls in May suggest an advantage for Marshall, and The Cook Political Report pegs the seat as “lean Republican.”

Mail-in voting didn’t stop most major elections from being called on election night

The state of Kansas mailed out more than 300,000 advance ballots ahead of the election — a more than 500% increase from 2018. Because ballots needed to be postmarked by election day but had until Friday to arrive, officials cautioned that races may be too close to call on election night. Although some down-ballot races are still too close to call, election watchers and candidates were able to determine clear winners for top ballot races without a significant delay.

Come November, Cori Bush will likely be the first Black woman representing Missouri in Congress

Cori Bush, a nurse and Black Lives Matter activist, defeated ten-term Congressman Lacy Clay in the 1st Congressional District which includes St. Louis City and a part of St. Louis County. Bush was one of the progressive candidates, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, featured in the documentary Knock Down the House. Bush's attempt to unseat Clay in 2018 was unsuccessful, but this time around, the candidate won by three percentage points.

Missouri Democrats Get A Policy Win With Medicaid Expansion

Expanding access to Medicaid has been a priority for state Democrats for a long time, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nicole Galloway has advocated for the amendment. The campaign for expansion was well-funded and included support from groups like the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, an ally of Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

This is one of a number of ballot measures that Democrats supported that voters passed in recent years, including increasing minimum wage and legalizing medical marijuana.

Every vote counts, especially in statehouse races

One vote separates Aaron Coleman and Stan Frownfelter in the Democratic primary for the Kansas House District 37, with results likely to change as the final mail-in ballots are received. Coleman is 19 and said in a recent Facebook post that he would “giggle” if a former state republican lawmaker died from the coronavirus, according to the Kansas Reflector.

Missouri also had some close statehouse races. Fewer than 200 votes made the difference in two Republican state senate primaries. In House District 15, Republican Steve West won the primary by 61 votes, according to the unofficial results. West regularly espouses anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views. The district is solidly Democratic and Republican party leaders have called West’s rhetoric “abhorrent.”

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make non-profit journalism available for everyone.