The Missouri primaries on Tues., Aug. 4, have some interesting matchups, with some of the races pretty much foretelling the November winner since the competitors won’t face an official candidate in November. That means, the primaries are important and if you want to have a say, the time to be heard is now – not later.


The last time Missouri had a democratic governor was in 2009, which really wasn’t that long ago. So, don’t think that because the state is considered Republican, that a Democrat won’t win. That’s why it’s important to get out and choose to make sure your candidate – be he Democrat or Republican – makes it to the general election.

There are five democratic candidates for governor: Nicole Galloway, Jimmie Matthews, Antoin Johnson, Eric Morrison, Jimmie Matthews and Robin Van Quaethem. Running against current Gov. Mike Parson and three other Republican candidates.

As Missouri’s State Auditor, Nicole Gallaway uncovered $350 million in wasteful spending of Missouri taxpayer dollars. If elected, she said she could ensure that wasted taxpayer money goes toward making healthcare more affordable, quality education for children, and creating more jobs. Gallaway also has an agenda for Black Missourians through criminal justice reform, a ban on housing and workplace discrimination, investing in Black communities, expanding Medicaid and putting an end to voter suppression.

Running against Gallaway are three African-American candidates. Former St. Louis Alderman Jimmie Matthews is pastor of Riverview Boulevard Baptist Church. Matthews plans to reduce crime, police violence and help the homeless.

An activist fighting against racism for 25 years, Antoin Johnson, is running to help the working-class and poor citizens of Missouri. The main goals she has for governor are creating more jobs, universal healthcare and free in-state college.

Kansas City native Eric Morrison is a pastor at Kingdom Word Ministries and community leader. A public servant the last 20 years, he has worked in ministry and reduced the suspension rate in Missouri schools. Morrison ran for governor in 2016 and gathered over 30,000 votes. His goals this time around include improving education, fighting against voter suppression and eliminating food deserts.

Lieutenant Governor

It’s been 20 years since Missouri has had a Democratic lieutenant governor. Facing off to be the Democratic candidate are Alissia Canady and Gregory A. Upchurch. Running for the Republican pick are Arnie C. AC Dienoff, Mike Kehoe, Aaron T. Wisdom and Mike Carter.

Alissia Canady has a background in finance and law and worked as an assistant prosecutor in Jackson County, which taught her that more police and longer prison sentences do not reduce violent crime. In 2015, she was elected councilwoman for Kansas City’s 5th district. She ran for mayor last year, coming in third in the primary. Canady’s goals as lieutenant governor include combating violence, addressing health disparities and promoting education and economic development.

As a small business owner from the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles, Gregory A. Upchurch believes the business world has taught him to listen and provide, which is what he plans to do for Missouri. If elected, Upchurch plans to work for the people of Missouri by expanding Medicaid, creating better salaries and fighting for cannabis legalization.

Congressman: District 5

Emanuel Cleaver has easily held this seat since originally being elected in 2005. This year he has opposition from a progressive candidate, Maite Salazar, a community activist. Salazar supports defunding the police, abolishing ICE, de-carceration, a tenant bill of rights and the new Green Deal.

State Representative: District 19

There are three democratic candidates for the District 19 seat that covers northeast Kansas City. There is no Republican competition for the general election, which means this race will most likely decide who represents this district in 2021. The seat is currently held by Ingrid Burnett, who is running against Phyllis Hardwick and Nicholas (Wick) Thomas.

Ingrid Burnett has held the District 19 seat since 2016, standing for historic preservation, support for the arts and Medicaid expansion. She has worked in the education field for 37 years and has served on the Kansas City School Board.

Phyllis Hardwick taught in Kansas City Public Schools for three years and continued her work in education at a non-profit that helps support high-school teachers. Hardwick plans to strengthen local schools by increasing funding and expanding access to school options. She also wants to create legislation surrounding gun safety.

Nicholas (Wick) Thomas (They/Them pronouns) was named “Best Activist in Missouri” by The Pitch in 2008 for their work in Missouri’s library and public-school systems, working with teenagers and at-risk youth. If elected, Thomas plans to fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, healthcare access, more funding for public schools and libraries, marijuana legalization and expungement, women’s healthcare rights, worker’s rights and environmentalism.

State Representative: District 22

There is no Republican competition for the District 22 seat, which covers the eastern side of Kansas City and parts of Jackson County. The seat, previously held by Councilman Brandon Ellington, is currently held by Yolanda Young, who won the seat during a special election in November 2019. She is running against four competitors.

Yolanda Young pushed for and passed legislations during the 2020 legislative session creating Infant and Maternal Mortality Awareness month, which will be celebrated in September every year. She is also managing director of community outreach and engagement for Kansas City and previously worked as a prevention program specialist.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Kevon Graves has experience working at the State Capitol as an intern to state representatives. His plans include increasing teachers’ salaries, equal opportunity for education, creating job opportunities for felons and legalizing recreational marijuana.

Every day, Bryce Bradford works in the community as a Crime Prevention Coordinator at the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council. Bradford is running to address racist marijuana laws, police accountability and investing in public education and community services.

Sheoni Givens has experience in business consulting, the housing field and she founded a nonprofit, Transitions for Life Foundation, dedicated to assisting in the elimination of homelessness. Givens plans to implement new housing initiatives, create opportunities for more minority-owned and women-owned small businesses and create reentry programs for ex-offenders.

Jeff Francis has experience with street outreach and violence intervention and is currently a mentor in the Kansas City Public School District. Issues he will address include criminal justice, public safety and health care.

State Representative: District 23

Barbara Anne Washington, the current District 23 representative is running for the District 9 Senate seat vacated by Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, which leaves Washington’s seat open for the picking. Without Republican competition, Democratic candidates Derron Black and Michael L. Johnson are competing for the open seat.

Derron Black who unsuccessfully ran for the District 23 seat in 2012, hopes to create legislation that will support those in the criminal justice system and expand healthcare if elected this time around. Black also has experience helping at-risk inner-city youth gain the skills to thrive in the Kansas City community.

Michael Johnson is a KC native, HBCU graduate and insurance brokers. His plan is to secure equitable and adequate funding for all Kansas City Public Schools, expand access to healthcare, support small businesses and non-profit organizations, advocate for funds to repair roads and highways and Invest in neighborhoods and families.

State Senate: District 9

Jason Holsman who won this seat In 2016 was appointed to the Missouri Public Service Commission in January and is not seeking reelections, which leaves this seat open for grabs. Two veteran state representatives are vying to capture this seat.

Michael Brown served as state representative for the 50th District from 2005-2013. After several years’ absence from political service, he is currently a member of the Metropolitan Community College Board of Directors in 2019. Brown is the owners of Ghettostone Publishing, and a member of Freedom, Inc.

Greg Razer was elected to the Missouri House representing the 25th District in 2016. A Kansas City native, he supports giving KCMO local control of their police department, expanding affordable housing, reducing gun violence, protecting LGBTQIA+ and investing in education.

Sheriff – Jackson County

Darryl Forté and Mike Sharp are the Democratic candidates running for Jackson County sheriff. There is no Republican candidate running. Forté is the current Jackson County sheriff and has over 30 years of law enforcement experience. Over his time as sheriff, Forté has been working to create a police misconduct registry.

Mike Sharp, who resigned as Jackson County sheriff in 2018 amid a scandal, is running for the position again. He has since apologized for the scandal and hopes to move forward.

Jazzlyn Johnson is a Report for America corps member based at The Community Voice covering Kansas City’s African-American community.

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Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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