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Race Ratings: Missouri Unlikely to Feature Pitched Battles

Missouri lost a seat in reapportionment but it’s the Democrats who will suffer thanks to the new district lines. The Show-Me State is likely to send six Republican Members back to Washington after the 2012 elections. Two districts with large African-American populations, the 1st and 5th, appear likely to remain safely Democratic. The new 2nd district could be more competitive, as Rep. Todd Akin (R) is running for Senate against first-term Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). With the Senate battle and Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D) re-election race on the ballot in 2012, Missouri will reprise its role as a battleground with national implications.

1st District

Incumbent: William Lacy Clay (D)

6th term (74 percent)

Rating: Safe Democratic

Though there is some discontent with Clay, he is likely to be re-elected in the district, which is 49.5 percent black and includes all of St. Louis. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) was moved into Clay’s district on the new map, and he has not yet made up his mind about whether he will challenge Clay in a primary or opt to run elsewhere. Either way, Democrats make up the majority of the district’s voters and the seat is safe for the party.

2nd District

Open seat: Todd Akin (R) is running for Senate

Rating: Leans Republican

This district includes the suburban and exurban areas outside of St. Louis that trend Republican. Carnahan would face an uphill battle in this district, if he decided to run here instead of against Clay or for statewide office. The two declared Republican candidates are attorney Ed Martin, who was chief of staff to former Gov. Matt Blunt (R), and former ambassador to Luxembourg Ann Wagner. Martin has positioned himself as the tea party candidate. Wagner, who served as co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, likely has more institutional backing. State Sen. Jane Cunningham told Roll Call she is “seriously considering” entering the GOP primary race. Democratic candidates in the 2nd are likely waiting on Carnahan’s decision.

3rd District

Incumbent: Blaine Luetkemeyer (R)

2nd term (77 percent)

Rating: Safe Republican

Luetkemeyer currently represents the 9th district, which covers most of the territory that will become the new 3rd district. He will lose some counties in northeastern Missouri to the 6th district, but will gain Cole County — home to the state’s capital, Jefferson City. Cole County went 62 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. Luetkemeyer will likely glide to a third term.

4th District

Incumbent: Vicky Hartzler (R)

1st term (50 percent)

Rating: Likely Republican

Hartzler knocked off longtime Rep. Ike Skelton (D) in 2010 and will face a slightly more liberal district with the addition of the city of Columbia, home to the University of Missouri. Boone County, where Columbia is located, went 55 percent for Barack Obama in 2008. That said, until a serious Democratic contender emerges, the district looks likely to remain in GOP hands.

5th District

Incumbent: Emanuel Cleaver (D)

4th term (53 percent)

Rating: Safe Democratic

Cleaver is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and barring an extraordinary event, he should handily win re-election in this substantially African-American district. The 5th includes Kansas City and the surrounding area.

6th District

Incumbent: Sam Graves (R)

6th term (69 percent)

Rating: Safe Republican

The 6th district includes all of northern Missouri. This district previously encompassed just the northwestern part of the state, and through redistricting it gained a swath of the current 9th district. The new 6th will run all the way across the Missouri border with Iowa. Graves beat his Democratic challenger by 39 percent here in 2010. In a stronger year for Democrats in 2008, Graves beat former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes (D) by 23 percent. Graves looks safe to comfortably cruise to a seventh term.

7th District

Incumbent: Billy Long (R)

1st term (63 percent)

Rating: Safe Republican

This staunchly Republican district in southwest Missouri — almost identical to the current 7th district, isn’t going to switch parties any time soon. Long replaced then-Rep. Roy Blunt (R), who was elected to the Senate.

8th District

Incumbent: Jo Ann Emerson (R)

9th term (66 percent)

Rating: Safe Republican

Emerson, a member of the Appropriations Committee, is expected to win re-election in a district quite similar to the one she currently represents. Her Democratic opponent in 2010, Army veteran Tommy Sowers, only picked up 29 percent of the vote. Emerson was considered a top-tier contender to run statewide against McCaskill, but opted against taking on the first-term Senator.