U.S. Senate Candidates

There are 34 candidates vying for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate Seat, of them record number, six are African-American. Learn more about them and other Black candidates who will compete in Aug. 2. primary to advance to November’s general election.

The ballots are set for the August 2 Missouri party primaries that will whittle the candidate lists down for the November general election to one contender from each party. In some races, there’s a lot of whittling that needs to be done, while a number of candidates are already basically elected since nobody from any party filed to run against them.

US Senate Race

After 12 years in office, incumbent Missouri Senator Ray Blount is not running for reelection and it appears the flood gates opened for people seeking to replace him. There are 21 Republicans, 11 Democrats, 1 Libertarian and 1 Constitution Party candidates vying to replace him. While the field may be crowded at this point, the Republican race is being considered a race among three high-profile candidates: Missouri’s embattled former governor Eric Greitens, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler and Atty. Gen Eric Schmitt.

In a state dominated by Republicans, so far, it’s difficult for any Democratic candidate to get much attention, but there are six African-American candidates vying for the Democrats’ nod. They are:

Jewel Kelly Jr, Festus, MO, is a lawyer with no previous elected experience. His career experience includes small-business ownership as well as work as an operations manager for an American multinational conglomerate.

Lewis Rolen, St. Louis, has no previous elected experience. He is a graduate of Harris-Stowe State University. Formerly a social studies teacher, he now works as an operation assistant for the Washington University Department of Otolaryngology.

Gena Ross, Platte City, has a Ph.d. from Walden University. In 2020, she was the Democrats’ candidate for the state’s 6th Congressional District, which covers most of north Missouri from the Illinois to the Kansas border. Ross worked as an assistant professor of business at Kansas City Kansas Community College and previously as a constituent services representative for former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.

Joshua Shipp, St. Louis, has a graduate degree from Logan University. He has no prior political experience and works as a clinical exercise physiologist.

Clarence Taylor is from St. Louis. We weren’t able to find out much about him other than he was born in Los Angeles and that he has no elected experience.

Carla Coffee Wright, St. Louis, was the only African-American candidate in 2018, when 21 cnaidates competed for a different open U. S. Senate Seat in Missouri. Wright, who has an associate’s degree from St. Louis Community College, is best known in St. Louis as the organizer of the Juneteenth Celebration.

State Auditor

In Missouri, the state auditor is the state’s chief fiscal regulator. The office is responsible for conducting financial and performance audits for approximately 200 state agencies, boards, and commissions, and the state’s judicial branch.

The Republican incumbent Scott Fitzgerald, who was appointed to the position in December 2018 is seeking reelection. He has a Republican competitor in the primary, David Gregory, who previously served in the Missouri House.

Alan Green is the sole Democrat vying for the position. Green, from Florissant, served in the Missouri House from 2014 to 2021.

U.S. Congressional Candidates
U.S. Congressional Candidates

U.S. Congress

Even with new district maps, Missouri still has two districts where an African-American candidate has a strong opportunity to prevail: the 1st and 5th Districts

District 5, Kansas City, is currently represented by Emanuel Cleaver, who was first elected to the position in 2005. Including Cleaver, there are six candidates vying for this seat – 3 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Libertarian. Cleaver’s Democratic contender is Maite Salazar, who says her opponent is a centrist, corporate Democrat.

District 1, in St. Louis, is currently represented by Cori Bush, who was elected for the first time in 2020, after upsetting 20-year incumbent William Lacy Clay. It appears a group of candidates don’t want Bush to get too comfortable in her seat. Including Bush, there are eight candidates in her race – 5 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Libertarian. All four of her Democratic competitors are Black.

Vying against Bush for this St. Louis district are:

Steve Roberts is a member of the Missouri State Senate, whose term doesn’t expire until 2025. A graduate of Pepperdine Law School, Roberts’ career experience includes working as a congressional intern, a law clerk with the District Attorney’s Office in the City of Compton, CA, and an attorney with AP Wireless Infrastructure Partners. Roberts is a 2nd lieutenant in the Missouri Air National Guard

Earl Andre Childress II describes himself as a businessman, economic rights leader, ordained pastor and financial activist. He is the founder and pastor of Christ Embassy Church International, located in St. Louis, MO. He has a degree in communications from Lindenwood University.

Michael Daniels is an attorney and for most of his law career has served as a civil law attorney in personal injury cases and has served as a court-appointed attorney representing prisoner claims of constitutional rights violations against the government.

While Michael has not served as an elected official, he has worked on numerous high-profile campaigns and served on the staffs of several elected officials.

Ronald Harshaw, 25, is an assistant coach for the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

Missouri Legislature Candidates
Missouri Legislature Candidates

Missouri House – Kansas City Seats

All members of the Missouri House of Representatives are up for reelection this year. Of the seven African-American representatives from the Kansas City area, three are unopposed: Ashley Bland Manlove (26th), Michael Johnson (23), and Richard Brown (27th). Michael Sharp is also running unopposed, but due to redistricting, he’s not running as an incumbent in his previous 36th District; instead, he’s running unopposed in the 37th District.

Redistricting pushes current 37th District Representative Annette Turnbaugh, a Republican, into the 36th District. Turnbaugh has competition from Republican John Boyd Jr. in the primary, and the winner of that race will face off against new candidate Anthony Ealy, a 2020 Missouri University Law School graduate. Although he has not run for office before, Ealy has worked with Congressman Cleaver and interned for the Minority Floor Leader in the Missouri State Capitol

Jerome Barnes, 28th District, will face off against a Republican contender Jennell Houts, Raytown. Barnes was first elected to office in 2017. He does not have a primary oponent.

Yolanda Young, 22nd District has two Democrats contenders: Davitta Hansen, who works for KCMO Housing and Community Development and Kevon Graves, who says he has a long history of working in the community and politics. He interned at the capitol for Brandon Ellington and Randy Dunn.

Missouri Senate

The 8th Senate District covering the eastern part of Jackson County is currently represented by Mike Cierport who is seeking reelection. A Republican, Cierport was first elected in 2018. He has one Republican contender in the primary and winner of that vote will face-off against Antoine Jennings, a Democrat, in November.

Jennings, from Blue Springs, has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2001.

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...