State Senate elections
Democrats picked up two new state Senate seats in the Nov. 7, 2006, election but Republicans still hold the upper chamber with a 21-13 seat majority. Democrat Wes Shoemyer defeated Republican Bob Behnen in the northeast Missouri Senate seat currently held by term-limited Republican John Cauthorn. In Jefferson County, incumbent Republican Bill Alter was defeated by Democratic challenger Ryan McKenna.
Incumbents re-elected include Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville); Carl Vogel (R-Jefferson City); Matt Bartle (R-Kansas City); Rita Days (D-St. Louis); Frank Barnitz (D-Lake Spring); Dan Clemens (R-Marshfield); Joan Bray (D-St. Louis); John Griesheimer (R-Washington); Delbert Scott (R-Lowry City); Norma Champion (R-Springfield); Gary Nodler (R-Joplin); and Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph). In addition to Shoemyer and McKenna, freshman senators elected include Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis); Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City); and Brad Lager (R-Maryville).
The University of Missouri can claim 17 alumni in the new Senate that convenes in January. [See a list of UM alumni in the State Senate]
The Senate is expected to caucus and hold leadership elections soon.
State House elections
Republicans now hold a 92-71 majority in the lower chamber, but Democrats picked up five seats. Four incumbents lost: Republican Kathy Chinn lost to challenger Tom Shively in northeast Missouri; Democrat Jane Bogetto lost to challenger Rick Stream in St. Louis; Republican Rex Rector lost to challenger Luke Scavuzzo in eastern Missouri; and Democrat Charles Dake lost to challenger Don Ruzicka in southwest Missouri.
In Kirksville, the House seat held by outgoing Republican Bob Behnen will go to Democrat Rebecca McClanahan. In Springfield, the seat held by outgoing Republican Mark Wright will go to Democrat Charlie Norr. In Kansas City, the seat formerly held by term-limited Republican Susan Philips was won by Democrat Jason Grill. In the bootheel, two seats switched from Republican to Democrat. Democrat Steve Hodges won the seat formerly held by term-limited Republican Lanie Black and Democrat Thomas Todd won the seat formerly held by the late Republican Otto Bean.
The University of Missouri will now have 47 alumni in the new House that convenes in January. [See a list of UM alumni in the House]
State auditor race
In the election for Auditor, the only statewide office on the ballot, Missouri voters chose Democrat Susan Montee 52.8 percent over Republican Sandra Thomas. Montee holds a law degree from UMKC.
Stem cell research initiative passes
Missouri voters narrowly approved Amendment 2 on Nov. 7, with 50.7 percent voting in favor. The constitutional amendment outlines the parameters of stem cell research in Missouri. The initiative was sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, a bipartisan group of community leaders, associations, health care providers, and health care and research institutions. In its basic provisions, the constitutional amendment will allow any stem cell research permitted under federal law to be conducted in Missouri; allow any stem cell therapies and cures permitted by federal law to be provided to patients in Missouri; prohibit cloning of a human being; prohibit purchasing or selling stem cells for research; and limit those who may perform stem cell research, based on prior approval by and continuing review of an oversight committee and adopted ethical standard.
Tobacco tax initiative fails
Missouri voters rejected Amendment 3 on Nov. 7 with 51.7 percent voting against it. The amendment would have added a tax equal to four cents per cigarette, or $.97 a pack, and 20 percent on other tobacco products. Currently, Missouri imposes a $.17 per pack tax on cigarettes, which is the second lowest in the nation. The increase would have placed Missouri close to the national average for tobacco taxes. Money raised would have been placed into a fund to be used for smoking cessation programs and health care access for low-income and uninsured Missourians.
Federal elections update
In Missouri’s U.S. Senate election, Democrat State Auditor Claire McCaskill was victorious over incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent by a two percent margin. McCaskill holds a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Voters also returned all nine of the state’s incumbents to Congressional seats, including U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay (D), District 1; U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R), District 2; U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D), District 3; U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton (D), District 4; U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D), District 5; U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R), District 6; U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt (R), District 7; U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R), District 8; and U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R), District 9.
In January, University of Missouri alumni in the Missouri Congressional delegation will include McCaskill (MU), Carnahan (MU), Skelton (MU), Graves (MU), and Hulshof (MU).