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Government, Politics & Issues

Nixon calls special elections in two House districts, including one in St. Louis

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 17, 2013 - Gov. Jay Nixon has set dates to fill two vacant seats in the Missouri House, including one in a St. Louis-based district.

Nixon's office announced on Thursday that the governor set April 2 as the date for special elections to fill vacant House seats in the St. Louis-based 76th District and the Lawrence County-based 157th District.

The 76th seat became vacant after former state Rep. Chris Carter, D-St. Louis, was elected to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. That district, which covers part of north St. Louis, is overwhelmingly Democratic.

The 157th District became vacant after state Rep. Don Ruzicka, R-Mt. Vernon, was appointed to serve on the state Board of Probation and Parole. While the 157th District leans Republican, Democrat Charles Dake won a 2006 special election in a similar district.

Ruzicka's appointment caused some grumbling from House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, who accused the governor of using his appointment power to winnow the GOP’s super-majority. After Ruzicka’s departure, Republicans have 109 members – the exact number need to override Nixon’s vetoes, with no leeway.

Members of the city's Democratic Central Committee who reside within the 76th District's boundaries will choose that district’s Democratic nominee by a weighted vote. Carter told the Beacon last year that at least two Democrats -- Keith Tubbs and Chris Elliott -- were interested in pursuing the Democratic nomination in the 76th District.

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