Candidates stump for votes for Missouri House district vacancy

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COLUMBIA – Missouri's special election for its vacant 50th district seat isn't for another two months, but that hasn't stopped the two candidates from pushing for every single vote.

Democrat Michela Skelton and Republican Sara Walsh are looking to represent parts of Cole, Moniteau, Cooper and southern Boone Counties.

The vacancy became available when Caleb Jones, a representative since 2011, accepted a position as deputy chief of staff for Gov. Eric Greitens in early January. Former governor Jay Nixon called for a special election a few days after Jones left for the new position.

“It was a bit of a surprise, and I was not anticipating running this year,” Skelton said. “But I had been looking at and planning for 2018, which was when [Jones] was going to be terming out.”

An organization called “Our Revolution Mid-Missouri” is hosting a meeting Wednesday evening to raise support for Skelton. Skelton has also engaged in door-to-door campaigning and meet and greet opportunities for several communities within the district.

Skelton said her campaign focuses on addressing income inequality, public education and infrastructure, but she is also open to listening to the district’s voters over other concerns.

“I want to start moving our communities forward and building that progressive vision where government works with everybody,” Skelton said. “Rural communities understand that we need to be doing something different, and so I’m excited to continue to move that forward

Walsh has tried to get the word out by conducting door-to-door interviews in California on Wednesday, and plans to do the same in Columbia, Ashland and other communities.

Mike Zweifel, Boone County Republican Central Committee chair, said Walsh’s campaign supports pro-Second Amendment and pro-life visions that he thinks the district strongly values.

“In terms of campaign issues, I think Sara aligns well with the district overall,” Zweifel said. “She’s knocking on doors, talking to people at their homes and meeting future constituents face-to-face.”

Zweifel said the largest challenge is making sure district members vote in the special election, which is Tuesday, August 8.

“Running in a special election is always hard, especially during summer people are on vacation or have extra plans,” Zweifel said. “It’s going to impact different parts of the state for any legislation. I don’t view that as a deal breaker.”