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Maddie Sinclair Johnson

Maddie Sinclair Johnson is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Abigail Spanberger and Yesli Vega are running for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District on Nov. 8

Incumbent Abigail Spanberger (D) and Yesli Vega (R) are running in the general election for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District on November 8, 2022.

Spanberger was first elected in 2018, defeating then-incumbent David Brat (R) 50.3% to 48.4%. Before that election, a Republican had represented the 7th District since 1971. According to various estimates, the district became more Democratic as a result of redistricting. The Cook Partisan Voting Index score for the old district was R+2, while the score for the new district is D+1. According to data from Daily Kos, voters in the redrawn 7th District supported Joe Biden (D) over Donald Trump (R) 52.6% to 45.8% in the 2020 presidential election.

Before she was elected to Congress, Spanberger worked in federal law enforcement and was a case officer in the CIA. In June 2022, Spanberger said, “My strength and what I endeavor to do every day is to listen to voters and to be responsive to the needs that people are facing. And I don’t just talk about problems such as inflation or the cost of prescription drugs or the challenges that our communities are facing. I endeavor to hit them head-on.”

Vega, who has a background in local law enforcement, was elected to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in 2019.

Vega’s campaign website says, “Yesli looks forward to fulfilling Congress’s responsibility of being a check and balance on the woefully inept Biden administration. She will be a strong advocate for the timeless American ideals of freedom, limited government, and restoration of the rule of law.”

Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) have prioritized this election. The DCCC designated Spanberger as a 2022 Frontline Member, providing her campaign resources meant to help her win re-election and maintain a Democratic majority. The NRCC included this district in its list of Democratic-held target seats and named Vega as an “On the Radar” member of its Young Guns program.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 districts in the House are up for election.

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54.07% of state legislatures are Republican, 44.33% Democratic in August 2022

Image of donkey and elephant to symbolize the Democratic and Republican parties.

At the end of August 2022, 54.07% of all state legislators in the United States are Republicans while 44.33% are Democrats. There are 7,383 state legislative seats in the country.

Republicans control 62 chambers, while Democrats hold 36. The Alaska House of Representatives is the only chamber organized under a multipartisan, power-sharing coalition.

Democrats hold 864 state Senate seats and 2,409 state House seats, gaining one Senate seat and losing two House seats since last month. Republicans hold 1,092 state Senate seats and 2,900 state House seats, losing one Senate seat and four House seats since last month.

Independent or third-party legislators hold 40 seats across 19 different states, including 33 state House seats and seven state Senate seats. There are 69 vacant state House seats and nine vacant state Senate seats across 32 different states.

Compared to August 2021, Democrats have gained one state Senate seat (863 v. 864) and lost 30 state House seats (2,439 v. 2,409). Republicans have gained one state Senate seat (1,091 v. 1,092) and lost 15 state House seats (2,915 v. 2,900). 

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Gov. Mike Parson calls an extraordinary session

Governor Mike Parson (R) announced an extraordinary session on August 22, 2022 which will focus on an income tax cut and agricultural tax incentives proposal. This extraordinary session is set to begin on September 6 and the annual veto session begins on September 14.

During the regular 2022 session, Parson vetoed a tax cut and tax credit bill (House Bill 2090). The proposal Parson is presenting to the legislature for the extraordinary session would lower the state’s top income tax rate and eliminate the bottom income tax bracket. If passed, the income tax cuts will total about $700 million.

Senator Lincoln Hough (R) spoke in support of the plan saying, “I welcome Gov. Parson’s call for a special session — and I plan to file a bill on the first day to cut taxes for every family in Missouri. Allowing Missourians to make more income before they actually have to file taxes is continuing to remove burdensome government from the lives of everyday Missourians.”

Representative Crystal Quade (D) disagreed with Gov. Parson’s plan. She said, “A cardinal rule of responsible budgeting is don’t use temporary revenue to take on permanent expenses. Yet the governor’s plan uses a temporary budget surplus as cover for a permanent loss of revenue that will put Missouri government back into the financial hole it just climbed out of.”

The Missouri General Assembly adjourned the regular 2022 legislative session on May 13. There were a total of 2,104 bills introduced and two bills passed.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly used the term “special session” to refer the the extraordinary session that was called on August 22, 2022.



On Missourian candidate completes Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Below are a selection of responses from the candidate who filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey on August 27. To read Catherine Dreher’s full responses, click her name at the bottom of the article.

Dreher is running for the Missouri State Senate to represent District 10. She advanced from the Libertarian Party primary on August 2. The primary is on November 8. Here’s how Dreher responded to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

“I’m passionate about limiting the size of government, criminal justice reform, school choice that also protects homeschoolers, repealing the gas tax, and reducing the amount of federal tax dollars our state takes.”

If you’re a Missouri candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

If you’re not running for office but you would like to know more about candidates in Missouri, share the link and urge them to take the survey!

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Previewing the Missouri Supreme Court’s September docket

The Missouri Supreme Court has 11 cases on the docket for the month of September. This is the fewest number of cases argued in front of the Supreme Court in the month of September since 2017. 

The following cases will be heard on three separate days at the end of September. 

September 20 

  • Cedar County Commission, et al. v. Governor Michael Parson, et al
  • Christopher Zang v. City of St. Charles, Missouri, Kyle G. Petersen v. State of Missouri
  • In re: Lorenzo Antoine Hester

September 21

  • Saddle and Sirloin Club of Kansas City v. Director of Revenue
  • Charter Communications Entertainment I LLC v. Director of Revenue
  • Alvin Brockington, Individually and on Behalf of All Similarly Situated v. New Horizons Enterprises LLC
  • In re: Kimberly D. Tyler

September 28

  • Gary M. Weibrecht v. Treasurer of Missouri as Custodian of Second Injury Fund
  • James W. Swafford v. Treasurer of Missouri as Custodian of Second Injury Fund
  • Thomas Dubuc v. Treasurer of the State of Missouri Custodian of the Second Injury Fund
  • In re: Amy A. McGowan

The Missouri Supreme Court has heard arguments in 25 cases in 2022 and issued 28 decisions.

Founded in 1820, the Missouri Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has seven justices. Justices are appointed to 12-year terms by the governor from a list provided by the Missouri Appellate Judicial Commission. As of Sept. 2022, three judges were appointed by a Democratic governor and four by a Republican governor. 

The jurisdiction of the Missouri Supreme Court includes appeals concerning the validity of federal statutes and treaties in addition to state statues, state revenue laws, the right of a state elected official to hold office, and the imposition of the death penalty. The Missouri Supreme Court also has the discretion to hear appeals on questions of general interest and if a lower court’s decision is in conflict with a previous appellate decision.  



Missouri celebrates 201 years of statehood

201 years ago, Missouri became the 24th state admitted to the Union on Aug. 10, 1821.

According to archeological excavations, humans have inhabited the Missouri area since about 9000 BCE. There were many different civilizations of native peoples including the Missouri, Quapaw, and Osage. The French began to settle in present-day Missouri around 1735.

The United States acquired the land that makes up present-day Missouri from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Missouri Territory originally included parts of what are now Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. 

The Missouri Territory first applied in 1817, but was unable to obtain statehood due to the debate in Congress over slavery. In 1820, Maine applied for statehood with the intention of outlawing slavery. Congress passed the Missouri Compromise in March 1820 that would allow both Maine and Missouri to gain statehood. The Missouri constitution was ratified on July 19, 1820, and Missouri was granted statehood a year later in August 1821. President James Monroe signed the federal legislation. 

The first known census for inhabitants of what would later become Missouri was taken by France in 1752. The census included 23 individuals. In 2021, Missouri’s bicentennial, the state had over six million residents, making it the 19th most populous state. Missouri is the 21st largest state geographically and is bordered by the most states along with Tennessee (eight). 



More responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection from Missouri roll in

Below are a selection of responses from the candidates who filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey since July 17. To read each candidate’s full responses, click their name at the bottom of the article.

Manny Abarca (D) is running for Jackson County Legislature to represent District 1 and is on the ballot in the general election on Nov. 8. Here’s how Abarca responded to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

“I am mostly interested in establishing a transparent and fair foundation for County government. Every issue area after that can have an unbiased shot at getting passed.

Here are a few of the issues I highlight online: 

  • Property Tax Reform Plan 
  • Establishment of a Senior Services Fund 
  • Support for Working Families 
  • Access to Parks and Conservation 
  • Efficiency in our Government 
  • Promotion of Arts and Culture 
  • Efficient Regional Healthcare Pipeline 
  • Jackson County Nondiscrimination Act and Equity Policy 
  • Economic Development and Infrastructure Investment”

Click here to read the rest of Abarca’s answers. 

Megan Marshall is running for election to the Jackson County Legislature to represent District 3 At-Large and is on the ballot in the general election on Nov. 8. Here’s how Marshall responded to the question “Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?”

“We don’t need any more politicians content in their Ivory Towers – dismissive and indifferent to the needs of working people. Those who refuse to put service before self. Our communities deserve engaged and responsive leaders. Not those who believe getting your vote is the end of their service.

I’m committed to constituent engagement across Jackson County. I will be the most accessible legislator in county government. Engagement and accessibility has not been a hallmark of county government and that must change. Taxpayers deserve to know who their representatives are and feel confident their concerns are part of the decision-making process. When residents across our county are left in the dark, it breeds distrust. When representatives are not committed to listening to taxpayer concerns, their decisions lack proper responsiveness and instead worsen the lives of residents. I will continue listening to the concerns of taxpayers and work diligently to deliver meaningful change.

The budget is reflective of what a government values. What government values should reflect what taxpayers value, because policymakers’ first obligation should always be to those they represent – not their own interests. Residents of Jackson County want property tax relief, affordable housing, reduced crime, greater access to mental health and drug recovery services, and most importantly, confidence that their county government is working for them.”

Click here to read the rest of Marshall’s answers. 

If you’re a Missouri candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

If you’re not running for office but you would like to know more about candidates in Missouri, share the link and urge them to take the survey!

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Scott Fitzpatrick wins contested Missouri auditor primary

Alan Green (D), Scott Fitzpatrick (R), and John Hartwig (L) won their respective primaries for Missouri State Auditor on Aug. 2, 2022. Green and Hartwig ran unopposed; Fitzpatrick received 64.7% of the vote based on unofficial returns. David Gregory was the only other Republican candidate. The general election will take place on Nov. 8.

Green is a former police officer and has held several positions in the Missouri government. Most recently he was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, representing District 67. He completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey and his answers can be found here.

Fitzpatrick currently holds the office of Missouri State Treasurer. He was appointed to the position in Dec. 2018. Fitzpatrick is a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, representing District 158.

Hartwig is an Army veteran and his career experience includes working as a certified public accountant. Hartwig completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey and his answers can be found here.

Nicole Galloway (D) is the current Missouri State Auditor. She was appointed in 2015 by Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to serve the remainder of former Auditor Thomas Schweich’s (R) term. She did not run for re-election in 2022 and her term expires on Jan. 9, 2023. 

The Office of State Auditor acts as Missouri’s independent watchdog agency, working to ensure the proper use of public funds and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Missouri government. This is achieved through auditing of state agencies, boards, and commissions, the circuit court system, the counties in Missouri that do not have a county auditor, and other political subdivisions upon request.

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Derges resignation only irregular officeholder transition in Missouri for July 2022

In July, there was one irregular officeholder transition in Missouri for offices within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope. We define irregular officeholder transitions as transitions that occur due to resignation, death, appointment, or winning of a special election in positions such as a state executive office, a seat in the General Assembly, or a non-district judgeship.

Missouri House Rep. Tricia Derges left office on July 1 after she was convicted by a federal jury of 22 medical fraud-related charges. Derges represented District 140 and had been serving in the Missouri House of Representatives since 2021. The vacancy has not been filled. 

Eight seats are currently vacant in the Missouri House of Representatives, with the oldest open since April 21, 2021. On that date, former State Rep. Rick Roeber (R)—who represented District 34—was expelled from the House by unanimous vote due to allegations of child abuse. District 65 became vacant after the death of State Rep. Tom Hannegan (R) in Oct. 2021. District 114 has been vacant since Nov. 2021 and was previously held by Becky Ruth (R). In the first week of Jan. 2022, Districts 147, 108, and 61 all became vacant. They were held by Wayne Wallingford (R), Justin Hill (R), and Aaron Griesheimer (R) respectively. District 29 became vacant in April 2022 after Rory Rowland was elected as Mayor of Independence, Missouri. 

Vacancies in the Missouri General Assembly are filled through a special election called by the governor. Missouri is one of 25 states that fill vacancies in the state legislature through special elections. As of April 2022, 45 state legislative special elections have been scheduled nationwide for 2022 in 20 states. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) has not called for any legislative special elections this year. All Missouri House of Representatives districts will be up for regular election on Nov. 8.



Seven Missourian candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey since July 17

Below are a selection of responses from the candidates who filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey since July 17. To read each candidate’s full responses, click their name at the bottom of the article.

Bryce Lockwood is running for election to the U.S. House to represent Missouri’s 7th Congressional District and the Democratic primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Lockwood responded to the question “What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?”

“Becoming upset with the lack of affordable health care for friends and associates, the lack of expansion of the Medicare Program after voting Missourians overwhelmingly urged their government to do so in two elections, the deterioration of our nation’s transportation networks, highways and bridges, Mr. Lockwood decided to file for the Missouri 7th US Congressional District on the last day of filing, March 29th, 2022.”

Click here to read the rest of Lockwood’s answers. 

Jason Pearson is running for Jackson County Executive and the Republican primary is on Aug. 2. Here’s how Pearson responded to the question “Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?”

“I already have a pension from Jackson County. There is no reason to go back unless I feel I could make a difference. I have direct experience in the Assessment Department. I’m a perfectionist who is not comfortable unless things are accomplished. No problems would be too big or small to address.”

Click here to read the rest of Pearson’s answers. 

If you’re a Missouri candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

If you’re not running for office but you would like to know more about candidates in Missouri, share the link and urge them to take the survey!

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