Election season kicks off

Of Columbia’s four state representatives, three will run unopposed.

4th Congressional District

Vicky Hartzler

U.S. Rep. Hartzler, a Republican, will compete for her third congressional term in both the primary and general elections.

She’ll face fellow Republican John Webb of Cleveland in the August primary and, if victorious there, will go on to the November election.

A former schoolteacher, Hartzler became involved with politics after winning Missouri’s 124th district in 1994. After three terms in the Statehouse, she left in 2000 to serve as the Missouri spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage, which worked to bar same-sex marriage nationwide.

Hartzler re-entered legislative politics in 2010, campaigning for her present district on a fiscally and socially conservative platform. Since then, she’s followed party lines in her support for tax and spending cuts, as well as her opposition to loosened abortion restrictions and same-sex marriage.

John Webb

Webb will challenge Hartzler in the August primary.

Formerly of Raytown, Webb, now lives in Cleveland. Currently a cell phone salesman, he’ll try to wrestle control of the largely conservative district from rural-friendly Hartzler. The district has included Columbia since 2013 when the 3rd Congressional District, Columbia’s designation since 1863, was dissolved.

Nate Irvin

Irvin, a Democrat from Versailles, will face the winner of the Republican and Libertarian primaries.

He’ll run unopposed in the primary, as his only Democratic competition — Jim White of Pleasant Hill — dropped out to support Irvin only hours after filing.

Irvin, who has worked as a staffer for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., looks to unseat the incumbent Hartzler in a district that had, prior to redistricting, been represented by Democrats since 1955.

Randy Langkraehr

Langkraehr will face Herschel Young in the Libertarian primary come August.

Langkraehr, a resident of Warrensburg, has campaigned against cigarette smoking regulation and firearm regulation.

Herschel Young

Young, a Libertarian of Harrisonville, will battle Langkraehr for the party’s nomination.

Young was previously elected Cass County Commissioner in 2010, but was ousted in 2012 after County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley filed for his removal. Hensley’s office argued that because Young pled guilty in 1995 to second-degree assault — a Class C felony — his election didn’t count under a Missouri law passed in 2007 barring felons from holding public office in the state.

44th House District

Caleb Rowden

Rowden, a Republican from Columbia, will try to clinch his second term in November.

An MU graduate and freshman legislator, Rowden won his seat in 2012 by a margin of 2 percent. This year, he’ll face Tom Pauley, a Hallsville Democrat, in a race where neither candidate would face opposition in the August primary.

During his first election, Rowden campaigned for state spending cuts, though made exceptions for MU funding.

Tom Pauley

Pauley, a Democrat who currently serves on the Hallsville Board of Aldermen, will challenge Rowden in the general election.

45th House District

Kip Kendrick

Taking the reins from retiring State Rep. Chris Kelly, fellow Democrat Kendrick will run unopposed for the district that encompasses most of downtown Columbia and the MU campus.

An employee at Boone County Family Resources and president of the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association, Kendrick will campaign primarily on state Medicaid expansion. Missouri became one of 24 states to reject that expansion under the Affordable Care Act this year. Like Kelly before him, Kendrick plans to help Statehouse Democrats’ push to accept the expansion.

Kendrick avoided opposition in the primary election after Kelly’s endorsement secured him the Democratic vote in a district that hasn’t swayed Republican since 1980.

46th House District

Stephen Webber

Webber, a Democrat who has represented Columbia since his first election in 2008, will go into his fourth and final term unopposed.

50th House District

Caleb Jones

Incumbent Jones, R-California, will also run unopposed.

Jones’s run follows his failed bid last year for speaker of the House — a position that will be vacated next session by Tim Jones, R-Eureka, due to term limits.

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