Campaign season has moved into high gear as members of the General Assembly are back in their home districts after the conclusion of the 2024 legislative session. All 163 seats of the Missouri House, 17 of the 34 Senate seats, and all but one statewide office is up for election.  There is no doubt Republicans will continue to hold a sizeable majority in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly.  However, it will be the results of the August 6 primary election, not the November General Election, which will likely determine who will serve in the House, Senate and open statewide offices in January 2025.

We know the August 6 primary will shape the future of the political landscape in the Capitol, especially in the Senate. In a handful of the races in the upper chamber, conservative Republicans are squaring off against more traditional Republicans. Should the more conservative candidates come out ahead, it will add to the numbers of the Freedom Caucus in the Senate and have a drastic impact on how the body will operate next session. Members of the Freedom Caucus were largely responsible for the record low number of bills passing last session due to the tactics they employed to slow down legislation throughout the year.

In addition to House and Senate seats being up for election, all statewide offices, with the exception of the State Auditor, are on the ballot as well. In the race for Governor, many polling outlets show that Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe has closed the gap over supposed frontrunner Jay Ashcroft, and in some areas, Kehoe has taken the lead. Senate Freedom Caucus leader Bill Eigel remains in third place in all polling.

In other news, all eyes are on Governor Mike Parson as he decides the fate of legislation that reached his desk at the conclusion of the legislative session. Of particular interest will be his actions on the FY25 budget and the items he could trim from the $51.7 billion spending plan sent to him by legislators. Many will be watching to see the fate of the money earmarked for rebuilding Interstate 44, and the $100 million planned for improvements to rural and low volume roads. The Governor has until June 30 to reach a decision on budget related matters and July 14 on policy related bills.  At the time of the submission of this newsletter piece, the Governor had not taken action on the budget; however, by the time you are reading this, the Governor will have taken action on the budget.  We will send a special report if there are any notable vetoes.

Parson recently announced 19 appointments to various boards and commissions, including two appointments to the Bi-State Development Agency and two appointments to the Missouri Workforce Development Board. Those appointed must still be approved by the Missouri Senate. Several of the announced positions are re-appointments that did not receive Senate confirmation earlier in the year due to days of inaction during the legislative session. The Governor also made an appointment for an open position on the Missouri Ethics Commission, which is the body charged with overseeing and enforcing campaign finance and lobbying laws in the state. This is an important appointment, as the Commission has been unable to meet or take any enforcement action for many months due to a lack of a quorum on the Commission.

Next on the political calendar is the August 6 primary election.  It is extremely important you get out and vote on August 6 and encourage your friends and employees to vote.  Important dates to remember:

Last day to register to vote:                July 10, 2024

Absentee Voting begins:                     July 25, 2024

No Excuse Absentee Voting begins:    July 23, 2024

Primary Election:                                August 6, 2024

If you cannot vote in person on August 6, there are plenty of opportunities to vote absentee as noted above.  As previously stated, the August 6 Primary will likely determine who will serve in the majority of the statewide, House and Senate seats NOT the November General Election.  We can’t stress enough how important it is to cast your vote in the August 6 primary.  If you have any questions regarding any of the candidates in the August 6 Primary, please reach out and will be happy to answer your questions. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting