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Diehl's vacant House seat in St. Louis County among three to be filled on Nov. 3

Missouri House Chamber
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI
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The chambers of the Missouri House of Representatives at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has set three legislative special elections for Nov. 3, including one to fill the post that had been held by former House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country.

Diehl resigned in May after a scandal erupted over the public disclosure of sexually suggestive text messages he had exchanged with a college-age intern.

He represented the 89th District in west St. Louis County, which is considered safe Republican territory.  Three Republicans touted as possible successors include former state Rep. Cole McNary, son of longtime county Executive Gene McNary; David Wasinger, husband for County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger; and lawyer Dean Plocher.

David Wasinger is a former member of the University of Missouri's Board of Curators. He created some controversy because then-Gov. Matt Blunt had named Wasinger to a Democratic seat on the board.

The nominee will be chosen by the 14 Republican committeemen and committeewomen within the district.

A similar process will be used to fill the other two vacant House seats, both in the Kansas City area.  The post in the 29th District, situated in Jackson County, has been vacant since late in 2014, when Republican Noel Torpey of Independence resigned to become a lobbyist. The other seat, in Kansas City’s 36th District, became open when Democrat Kevin McManus was elected to the Kansas City Council.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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