Judges release new boundaries for Missouri Senate districts

By: - March 14, 2022 2:57 pm

The Judicial Redistricting Commission listens Friday to comments during a public hearing on a new state Senate plan. The commissioners are, from left, Mary Sheffield of the Southern District, Thomas Chapman of the Western District, Chair Cynthia Martin of the Western District, Vice Chair Gary Lynch of the Southern District, and Angela Quigless and Michael Gardner, both of the Eastern District. (Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent)

A panel of Missouri judges tasked with redrawing 34 state Senate districts released a tentative plan Monday, part of a once-in-a-decade process that reconfigures political boundaries following the U.S. Census.

The new map, drawn by the Judicial Redistricting Commission after a citizen commission failed to reach consensus, will be formally submitted to the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday. It’s release comes just two weeks before filing closes for potential candidates be on the primary ballot in August.

“The Judicial Redistricting Commission’s work has been thorough and labor intensive, and was purposefully undertaken with the goal to file a constitutionally compliant plan and map well in advance of the commission’s constitutional deadline to avoid disenfranchising voters given the candidate filing deadline and the deadline for preparing ballots,” said Western District Appeals Court Judge Cynthia L. Martin, who chaired the commission.

The Senate currently has 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Of the 17 state Senate districts on this year’s ballot, 14 are held by Republicans and three are held by Democrats.

Among the changes under the new map: The 20th District, which previously was made up of the parts of Greene County outside of Springfield and Christian County, has shifted its boundaries to drop Christian County and pick up Webster, Dade and Barton Counties. The incumbent in that district, Republican Sen. Eric Burlison of Battlefield, is giving up his seat to run for Congress.

The 34th District currently includes both Platte and Buchanan Counties. But under the new map, Buchanan would be split into two different districts, with the eastern half added to the 12th District.

The incumbent, Republican Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer of Parkville, is running for a second term in the district.

The 10th District, which previously included Audrain, Callaway, Lincoln, Monroe, Montgomery and Warren counties, now dips down to take in a portion of St. Charles County in the St. Louis suburbs. The incumbent, Republican Sen. Jeanie Riddle, is leaving office due to term limits.

The new boundary lines allows former Rep. Bryan Spencer of Wentzville to run in the district. He filed for the seat last month and will likely face off with Republican Rep. Travis Fitzwater of Fulton.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Democratic Rep. Tracy McCreery, who planned to run to replace term limited Sen. Jill Schupp in the 24th District, would live in the 14th District — represented by Democratic Sen. Brian Williams — under the new map.

A pair of current state senators were also drawn into the new 31st District, though the seat won’t be on the ballot this fall.

GOP Sens. Rick Brattin of Harrisonville and Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg saw their counties combined into one district under the new map. Brattin was elected to his first term in 2020 and isn’t up for re-election until 2024. Hoskins won his second Senate term the same year, meaning he can’t run for re-election again.

The 19th District, which has been represented by a Republican in the state Senate since 2009, would now only include Boone County, likely creating a Democratic district. It is currently represented by Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia.

The 11th District, centered on Independence and held by Democratic Sen. John Rizzo, was redrawn to take in more Republican-leaning areas of eastern Jackson County.

Neither the 11th nor the 19th is on the ballot again until 2024.

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Jason Hancock
Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has spent two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, with most of that time focused on the Missouri statehouse as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. A three-time National Headliner Award winner, he helped launch The Missouri Independent in October 2020.