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Musical chairs: Riddle announces for Cunningham's retooled state Senate district

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 19, 2011 - A key proponent of constructing another nuclear power plant in Callaway County announced today she will run for a soon-to-be-vacant state Senate seat.

Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, which is in Callaway County, announced Monday that she will run next year for the 7th senatorial district seat. After 2012, that district will include all of Lincoln, Audrain, Callaway, Montgomery, Ralls and Pike counties. It also includes part of northern St. Charles County.

"My top priorities over my two terms in the legislature have been strengthening our education system, reducing the size of the government so businesses flourish and protecting the sacred values of faith and family," Riddle said in a statement, adding she would bring a "spirit of resolve" as a state senator.

Riddle has been an ardent supporter of constructing a new nuclear power plant in Callaway County. She also handled a bill that Gov. Jay Nixon signed earlier this year lowering the state's conceal and carry age to 21.

Riddle's press release featured endorsements from state Sens. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, and Ron Richard, R-Joplin.

Most state Senate districts were redrawn by a panel of appellate judges, and changes to the 7th District were perhaps the most dramatic. The judges shifted the St. Louis County-based district currently represented by state Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, distinctly northward. Nobody in the Missouri Senate resides in any of the retooled 7th District's counties, making the seat effectively vacant for next year's election cycle.

Cunningham, who would live in Sen. John Lamping's 24th District under the new maps, announced she will run next year in the 27th District, which is being moved to include part of St. Louis County

The release also noted that "should the courts change those boundaries, I will not run against an incumbent Republican senator because I firmly stand behind our current Republican Senate delegation." Some lawmakers have said a lawsuit may occur since some reconfigured Senate districts are split contrary to stipulations within the Missouri Constitution.

Jason Rosenbaum, a freelance journalist in St. Louis, covers state and local government and politics. 

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