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New lines leave one competitive race in Kansas and Missouri

Democrat Davids faces fight, but Republican Wagner’s seat made safer

Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., won by 10 points in 2020 but faces a toss-up race this year because of a redistricting and a tougher political climate, analyst Nathan L. Gonzales says.
Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., won by 10 points in 2020 but faces a toss-up race this year because of a redistricting and a tougher political climate, analyst Nathan L. Gonzales says. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even though they already control nine of 12 congressional districts across Missouri and Kansas, some Republicans had plans to diminish Democrats down to a single seat. After the long process played out in the legislatures and the courts, however, Republicans are more likely to gain just a single seat in those states as they pursue the House majority in November. 

In Missouri, arguably the biggest redistricting question was whether Republicans would dilute Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II’s Kansas City-based 5th District. In the end, they chose not to, and he gets to run for reelection in a seat President Joe Biden would have won by 26 points in 2020. That race is rated Solid Democratic. 

Even though Republicans didn’t create a new takeover opportunity, they took one of their own vulnerable districts off the table. GOP Rep. Ann Wagner has been a consistent Democratic target in recent cycles. Under the new lines, she gets to run in a redrawn 2nd District that President Donald Trump would have won by 8 points compared to the current district where the 2020 presidential race was evenly divided. Wagner’s race is rated Solid Republican in the current political environment. 

[More House race ratings | Initial Senate race ratings]

Missouri’s 4th and 7th districts are hosting competitive GOP primaries on Aug. 2 to replace Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, who are running to replace GOP Sen. Roy Blunt. Both House races, and the Senate race, are rated Solid Republican. 

While Missouri’s 1st District is rated Solid Democratic for November, there’s a competitive Democratic primary. Rep. Cori Bush was elected in 2020 after knocking off incumbent William Lacy Clay in the primary. Now she faces state Sen. Steve Roberts, who is trying to make the case that Bush’s strident progressivism is hurting her St. Louis-area constituents. No matter who wins the primary, the seat will remain in Democratic hands considering Biden would have won it by 58 points in 2020. 

Alternatively, there isn’t much action expected in the Aug. 2 primaries in the three Kansas districts rated as Solid Republican. All eyes will be on the 3rd District in November.

Kansas’ 3rd District (Sharice Davids, D)

Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids’ reelection race went from tough to tougher because of redistricting. Republican legislators drew the district from a seat Biden carried by more than 10 points to one he would have carried by 5 points. And while the political environment wasn’t great for Davids in 2020, it’s demonstrably worse in 2022 with an unpopular Democratic president in the Oval Office. 

Davids won her 2020 race by 10 points, 54 percent to 44 percent, over Republican health care executive Amanda Adkins and will likely face Adkins again. But unlike last cycle, Adkins doesn’t have a competitive GOP primary to worry about before being able to focus on Davids, and she has even more political wind at her back. 

There will be plenty of spending on this competitive contest from the candidates, parties and outside groups. On March 31, Davids had $2.8 million in the bank compared to Adkins’ $1.3 million.

Republicans will admit that Davids has proven to be a very formidable opponent. But at a time when voters are poised to punish the party in power, this is the type of race Republicans should win if they’re riding a wave to the majority. Initial rating: Toss-up

Races rated Solid Republican

Races rated Solid Democratic

Nathan L. Gonzales is an elections analyst with CQ Roll Call.

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