JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Kansas City morning news anchor Mark Alford and state Sen. Eric Burlison have been elected to Congress as Republicans, replacing incumbents who chose to run for the U.S. Senate rather than seek reelection.
Alford defeated Democrat Jack Truman in the race for the north-central 4th District seat held by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler. Burlison defeated Democratic baker Kristen Radaker-Sheafer to win the southwestern seat held by U.S. Rep. Billy Long.
Hartzler and Long ran unsuccessfully for the open U.S. Senate that resulted from Sen. Roy Blunt’s retirement.
Alford, of Raymore, defeated six other candidates in the August primary to reach the general. Burlison, of Battlefield, said he’s the most conservative state legislator. He served as a member of the now-dissolved Senate Conservative Caucus, a six-member group formed in 2019 to draw attention to issues including abortion, gun rights and reducing the size of government.
Party control of Missouri’s eight congressional seats appears unlikely to shift from Republicans’ current advantage over Democrats in six districts.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, representing the Kansas City area, and Cori Bush, in the St. Louis area, face little threat from their Republican challengers, and the state’s GOP incumbents’ seats are also secure.
While redrawing congressional maps based on 2020 U.S. Census data this year, state lawmakers attempted to make it easier for Republican Rep. Ann Wagner to fend off Democratic competition for her suburban St. Louis seat.
The plan strengthens the Republican vote share there by 3 percentage points over the former districts, according to an analysis by legislative staff that focused on top-of-the-ticket election results from 2016-2020. Democrats nationally have been eyeing Wagner’s seat for years as an opportunity to flip the district.
Wagner won re-election with 52% of the vote in 2020 and 51% in 2018. This year voters will pick between her and Democratic state Sen. Trish Gunby.
Republican Jason Smith defeated Democrat Randi McCallian for a sixth term in the 8th District, and Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer defeated Democrat Bethany Mann for a sixth term in the 3rd District. Incumbent Republican Sam Graves also is expected to win reelection.