If enough of those districts switch to Democrats, the Republican party could lose its super majority in the Legislature, meaning Republicans would be unable to override gubernatorial vetoes on a party-line vote, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .
Strategists for both parties say views on President Donald Trump and other GOP priorities are mixed in the suburbs.
“It’s a tough environment” for Republicans, said incoming House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, who suggested voters in suburban St. Louis and Kansas City — and perhaps around Columbia and Springfield — might want to punish Trump’s party.
Democrats must net two seats in the Senate and eight seats in the House to take Republicans below a veto-proof majority.
A handful of suburban districts are “looking more dicey for us, and we’re having to pay a little more attention to those,” said Casey Wheat, executive director of the Republican House committee.
Democrats are emphasizing to voters that state Republicans cut specialty care for some Medicaid recipients, eliminated the state’s pharmacy assistance program and passed “right to work” legislation that was overwhelmingly rejected by Missouri voters in August. They also say funding for education and Medicaid should be increased, and questioned how the state would provide services during an economic recession.
Rep. Shamed Dogan, a Republican from Ballwin, said Republicans have kept promises made in 2016 to cut taxes and regulations, to defend the Second Amendment and to implement new abortion restrictions.
The Democrats’ objective for this year is to flip a few seats in preparation for the 2020 election, said Rep. Crystal Quade, a Democrat from Springfield.
“I would be ecstatic if we pick up (a net) three, four, five seats,” said Quade, who works with the Democrats’ House Victory Committee. “We are really focused on 2020 and building an infrastructure.”
The Republicans have raised far more money for legislative elections than the Democrats. As of Sept. 30, the House Republican Campaign Committee had raised $3.1 million compared to the House Democrats’ $379,146.