By DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Democrats have picked up a Missouri House seat previously held by Republicans in a suburban St. Louis district that voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump in 2016.
The victory by Democrat Mike Revis over Republican David Linton in a close special election Tuesday continued a national trend of Democratic gains since Trump’s election, though Republicans held on to three other seats on the Missouri ballot.
In all four races to replace Republicans who had resigned, the Democratic legislative candidates garnered a significantly larger share of the vote than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did against Trump. Democrats hadn’t even fielded state House candidates in any of the districts in 2016.
Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber asserted that the election results showed “there’s a new rush of energy behind Democrats.”
Since Trump’s election, Democrats have flipped 35 seats previously held by Republicans in contested races for state legislatures throughout the country, according to the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. It said Republicans have flipped three Democratic seats during that time.
Revis, a procurement manager at brewer Anhueser-Busch InBev, got nearly 52 percent of the vote in a district that Trump won with 61 percent of the vote less than two years ago. The district encompassing parts of Jefferson and St. Louis counties had historically favored pro-labor Democrats until Republicans gained a stronger foothold over the roughly past decade.
Revis will succeed Republican state Rep. John McCaherty, who abruptly resigned in September after nearly seven years in office to focus on his family and a race for Jefferson County executive. McCaherty said Wednesday that he has since dropped out of that local race.
In another close race, Republican Chris Dinkens got nearly 53 percent of the vote while defeating Democrat Jim Scaggs in a rural eastern Missouri district that Trump had won with 78 percent support. Dinkins will succeed Republican Paul Fitzwater, who resigned in September after being appointed to the state Board of Probation and Parole.
In other races, Republican Peggy McGaugh won an election to succeed her son, Joe Don McGaugh, who was appointed as a Carroll County associate circuit judge in October, and Republican Jeff Knight easily won a rural western Missouri race to succeed Republican Sandy Crawford, who had previously won a special election to the Senate.
When the newly elected Missouri House members take office, Republicans will hold a 115-47 majority over Democrats with one remaining vacancy.