Voters boot out House incumbents in Kansas, Missouri

In a bipartisan embrace of change for much different reasons, a freshmen House Republican and a 10-term veteran House Democrat were both given their walking papers in primary elections on Tuesday, as Congress is seeing the most turnover in primaries since the 2012 elections.

Knocked off first was Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS), as State Treasurer Jake LaTurner will be the favorite to hold this seat for the GOP in November.

Watkins was weighed down by a series of federal felony vote fraud charges, stemming from the discovery that the Kansas Republican had used the address of a local UPS store for his voter registration.

Watkins became the second first-term Republican to lose already this year, joining Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA).

Meanwhile in St. Louis, the story was much different, as Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) lost his seat after 20 years in the House, defeated by a progressive activist who simply outworked the Missouri Democratic incumbent.

Clay - who took over the House seat from his father - lost to Cori Bush, who had support from Bernie Sanders and other more liberal backers.

Bush will be the first black woman from Congress in the Show Me State.

Clay seemed to have been caught flat footed, two years after he defeated Bush in the 2018 Missouri Primary.

So far in 2020, seven incumbent House members have lost in their renomination bids; 3 Democrats and 4 Republicans.

But overall, of the 44 House members who won't be returning in January of 2021, 31 are Republicans.

Primaries must still be held in 13 states - Tennessee is next on Thursday.

Jamie Dupree, CMG Washington News Bureau

Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau


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