Instead of debating the bill itself, some St. Louis-area Senators began criticizing the citizens’ commission that drew up the latest State Senate district map. Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) and Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) both had harsh words for the proposed map, which would move Cunningham’s 7th District to the Kansas City area.
“I don’t want to even call (the map) a product," Cunningham said. "It doesn’t reach to that level…it is a travesty.”
Lembke added: “Like you say, it was a stab in the heart for us to lose one of those seats and for it to…shift into Kansas City.”
Under the proposed map, Cunningham would be forced to run against one of two incumbent Republicans, John Lamping (R, St. Louis County) or Brian Nieves (R, Washington, Mo.), and Lembke’s new district would contain more Democrats. Due to the length of their conversation, the bill’s sponsor, Mike Parson (R, Bolivar) withdrew it from consideration.
“Unfortunately we’re just up against the timeline, and today we (just) didn’t get it done," Parson said. "I don’t know if there’s any message being sent directly to anybody right now.”
Earlier in the day, the Missouri House made radical changes to the bill before sending it back to the Senate. House members added an amendment to shorten the filing period and move it to March 19th through the 30th. Parson says he could have lived with those changes.
Parson also has no plans to bring the bill back up next week, which means that the candidate filing period will begin on Tuesday, February 28th, as scheduled. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) offered some advice to anyone considering a run for the Missouri Senate, contained within a press release:
"Although our office has received the tentative Senate maps, the process for finalizing those boundaries remains incomplete until the conclusion of a 15 day public comment period. Because of that, candidates who intend to file for State Senate may consider waiting until after the final map is filed with our office.
"For anyone who chooses to file for State Senate before the boundaries are finalized they may later withdraw, pay another filing fee and re-file in another district until filing closes on March 27 at 5:00 pm.”