COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The ongoing redistricting debate was a common theme of the Boone County Lincoln Days event Friday evening.
Boone County Republican Central Committee held its annual Lincoln Days banquet Friday evening at the Courtyard by Marriott. The candidates for many upcoming August primary races attended, including all of the candidates for the competitive U.S. Senate Republican primary.
Missouri is one of the last four states to still be working on a map. The Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri Senate are in a disagreement over the U.S. Congressional map, both having passed different maps.
In the map passed by the State Senate, Boone County is split between the third and fourth districts.
For the candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives fourth district, redistricting is a cause of concern while campaigning since the two proposed maps have a very different layout for mid-Missouri.
“In the meantime, I am campaigning in the current 4th congressional district, the proposed congressional district as well as the House’s proposed congressional districts,” said fourth district candidate and current State Rep. Sara Walsh (R-Ashland).
Former Boone County Clerk and current fourth district candidate Taylor Burks was not shy to call out the Missouri legislature.
“It’s incredibly frustrating that our general assembly has failed to do one of the basic functions that they’re required to do every 10 years, including our members from this area,” Burks said.
Majority leader State Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) said Senate and House leadership has been meeting to discuss possible solutions. A conference or a new bill are some possibilities.
“We had a good meeting with House leadership this past week, has a conversation about trying to find as many vehicles and paths to try and find a path,” Rowden said.
Boone County Democratic Party Chair Lyra Noce said the Boone County split in the proposed Senate map is an attack on blue voters.
“It was a Republican compromise, which diluted the Democratic votes that are in Boone County,” Noce said. “Boone County is mostly blue and dividing that would divide more democratic voices into two Republican districts.”
However, Rowden said in response that Democratic voters were not part of the concern when the Boone County compromise was made in the Senate.
“Both of those districts are reliably conservative, the third and the fourth, both are districts that Republicans are going to win for the next decade for sure,” Rowden said. “There was less thought given to where the Democrats were, cause in those two districts there’s not a whole lot of them.”
The U.S. Senate primary has been a hotly contested race so far.
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) is currently leading the polls with the endorsement of both current Missouri Senators. Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) and Mark McCloskey were also in attendance.