A quick look into the current candidate field for Missouri’s 2022 Congressional elections

With under 10 months to go until the Missouri Congressional primary elections, here’s a quick look into who’s running, their background and past voting trends for each district. 

All official candidate listings are attributed to Ballotpedia, who defines “official candidates” as those who have registered with the Federal Elections Commission and appear on candidate lists released by government agencies. 

1st Congressional District

Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, encompassing all of St. Louis City and a majority of Northern St. Louis County, is currently represented by Democrat Cori Bush. Former Congressman Lacy Clay represented the heavily-democratic district for two decades until Bush beat him in the 2020 Democratic primary by less than 3 points. The district hasn’t elected a Republican to Congress since 1946. 

While it is assumed that Bush will run for reelection, Democrat Earl Childress is the only official candidate at this time. According to his website, Childress is a businessman, ordained pastor and “financial activist”. 

2nd Congressional District

Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District encompasses portions of St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Charles counties and is currently represented by Republican Ann Wagner, who has served in the role since 2013. In 2020, Wagner defeated Democrat State Senator Jill Schupp to retain the seat. Wagner confirmed her reelection bid after turning down a run for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022. The 2nd Congressional District hasn’t elected a Democrat to Congress since 1991.

Democrat candidates hoping to unseat Wagner include State Rep. Trish Gunby, Raymond Reed and Ben Samuels. Gunby’s messaging has focused on criticizing current and past Republican elected officials and supporting liberal policies such as medicare-for-all, environmental regulations and COVID-19 restrictions. Reed has formerly worked for the Missouri Democratic Party and as Outreach Coordinator for Fun Without Guns Inc., according to his LinkedIn profile.

According to his website, Samuels is a “businessperson, an economic policy expert, and a bipartisan problem-solver.” He also formerly served as Managing Operations Officer for the Mayor of Chicago. 

Challenging Wagner from the Conservative Party is Wesley Smith. Smith is from Arnold, Missouri and served seven years in the U.S. Army until medically retiring in 2020, according to his website. Wagner also has a primary opponent in Republican Bob Anders whose website has not yet fully launched. 

3rd Congressional District

Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District is currently represented by Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer. The district surrounds St. Louis County and stretches inward all the way to Camdenton County. The 3rd Congressional District took its current shape after Missouri lost a congressional seat in 2013 due to redistricting, and Luetkemeyer has held the seat since then.

Though it is assumed that the incumbent will file for reelection in 2022, the only official candidate listed currently is Democrat Jon Karlen. However, an official campaign website could not be found for Karlen.

4th Congressional District

Missouri’s 4th Congressional District encompasses Central and Western Missouri. The district has been represented by Republican Vicky Hartzler since 2011, but Hartzler bowed out of a 2022 reelection bid earlier this year when she announced her campaign for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat. Hartzler unseated 34-year Democrat incumbent Ike Skelton in the 2010 election by just over 5 points. 

Republican candidates hoping to fill Hartzler’s vacancy include State Rep. Sara Walsh, veteran and former Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks and Kalena Bruce. Walsh was first elected to the state legislature in 2017 and announced her congressional bid in July. She is running on a conservative platform of bolstering workers and supporting the “American dream”. 

Burks announced his campaign just after Walsh, and his priorities include improving election integrity, agriculture in Missouri and national security. Bruce is a fifth-generation farmer and CPA from Stockton, Missouri who is consistently involved in her local agriculture organizations, according to her website

The lone Democratic candidate that filed to run for the 4th Congressional District is JD Leathers, but has since dropped out of the race.

5th Congressional District

Missouri’s 5th Congressional District includes the inner Kansas City metropolitan area and stretches eastward into Marshall County. The district has been represented by Democrat Emanuel Cleaver since 2005 and hasn’t elected a Republican to Congress since 1946. There are currently no official candidates listed for the 2022 5th Congressional District election, though it is expected that Cleaver will file sometime before the deadline.

6th Congressional District

Missouri’s 6th Congressional District has been represented by Republican Sam Graves since 2001 and encompasses the entire northern portion of the state. Since first getting elected, Graves has received more than 60% of the vote in all but just one of his elections when he received 59.4% in 2008. There are currently no official candidates listed for the 2022 4th Congressional District election, but it is expected that Graves will file sometime before the deadline.

7th Congressional District

Missouri’s 7th Congressional District encompasses the southwest portion of the state and is one of the most conservative regions in Missouri. The district hasn’t elected a Democrat to Congress since 1958 and hasn’t given a Democratic presidential candidate more than 35% of the vote since 2000. Republican Congressman Billy Long has served in the seat since 2011. However, just as Hartzler did, Long bowed out of a 2022 reelection bid earlier this year to pursue a shot at the vacant U.S. Senate seat.

With Long opting out of running for reelection, the 7th Congressional District is shaping up to be one of the most contested districts in the state. Republican candidates hoping to fill the vacancy include State Sens. Mike Moon and Eric Burlison, former State Sen. Jay Wasson and Aubrey Richards. 

Moon, who announced his candidacy in late August, served four terms in the House and was elected to his first Senate term in 2020. Burlison also served four terms in the House before getting elected to State Senate in 2018 and has received endorsements from Club for Growth, the House Freedom Fund and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Wasson is from Ozark, Missouri and previously served eight years in both the Missouri House and Senate, leaving in 2019 due to term limits. Richards is a Southwest Missouri native whose top priority is education, according to her website

Dr. Sam Alexander is a physician and farmer from Dixon, Missouri and pledges to fight against socialism and the Biden administration, according to his campaign.

Pastor Derral Reynolds is also listed as a Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District, but has yet to publish an official campaign website. 

8th Congressional District

Missouri’s 8th Congressional District has been represented by Republican Jason Smith since 2013 and includes the southeast and south central portions of the state. The widely rural district has not elected a Democrat to Congress since 1978. 

Smith has been rumored as a potential candidate for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat since the news broke that Sen. Roy Blunt was retiring. However, there has yet to be an official announcement on whether he will run for reelection or vy for the Senate seat. Nevertheless, it is still widely assumed that Smith will be on one of the ballots once the filing deadline approaches next year. 

Though Smith’s Congressional candidacy is a large possibility, only one person has officially filed to run for the 7th Congressional District in 2022: Republican Jeremy Dennison. According to his website, Dennison is an Iraq veteran and currently works as a maintenance pipefitter at a local refinery. 

As multiple candidate listings are seemingly incomplete, voters can expect there to be plenty of developments between now and the March 29, 2022 filing deadline. The primaries are scheduled for Aug. 2, 2022 and the general elections are scheduled for Nov. 8, 2022. 

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