For decades, as other parts of rural Missouri turned red, voters in northeast Missouri sent Democrats to Jefferson City and backed Democratic statewide candidates.
That changed starting in 2010, though Republicans and Democrats said the most marked shift was in November 2016, as then-candidate Donald Trump touched a nerve with residents who’d seen jobs leave and economic fortunes sour.
It’s been a political shift that may make it harder for Democratic candidates to win competitive races for the U.S. Senate or statewide offices in the 2018 midterm elections — and beyond.
But even with the Missouri Democratic Party pledging to make a concerted effort to gain back ground in rural Missouri, the changes in the area showcase the challenge ahead, especially because Democrats have had a lot of trouble fielding candidates against well-funded GOP incumbents.
One of the priorities for Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber is regaining ground in rural parts of the state, especially in 2018, when Missouri’s last two Democratic statewide officeholders, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state Auditor Nicole Galloway, are up for re-election.
Read more: St. Louis Public Radio