Republicans solidified their control of the Missouri General Assembly in Tuesday’s election by picking up seven seats in the House and breaking even in the Senate races, the second straight election in which the Republicans passed the two-thirds majority threshold needed to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes.
Republican challengers defeated a handful of Democratic incumbents in the House, including Reps. John Mayfield of Independence, John Wright of Rocheport, Vicki Englund of St. Louis, Michael Frame of Eureka, and T.J. McKenna of Festus. Republican Paul Wieland of Imperial grabbed a Senate seat in Jefferson County, home to governor Nixon, easily defeating Democrat Rep. Jeff Roorda of Barnhart.
Preliminary results showed Republicans hold 117 of the 163 House seats and 25 of the 34 Senate seats, with some votes still being counted. The GOP also won in places where Democrats could not seek re-election because of term limits.
The two-thirds majority needed to override vetoes is 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate, so the Republicans will have even more leeway to enact their agenda in 2015. The GOP established a supermajority in the last general election in Missouri.
Missouri voters also approved Amendment 10, a constitutional amendment to curb the governor’s power over state spending.
In the only statewide race, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich won a second term after easily beating two-minor party challengers. The Republican incumbent faced no Democratic opponent.
Nationally, Republicans also surged to take full control of Congress after taking the Senate away from Democrats. The GOP picked up seats in key races including North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota. The GOP also won a number governors’ races and strengthened its grip on the House of Representatives.
None of Missouri’s U.S. representatives faced significant opposition, and all eight won re-election.
With the approval of Amendment 10, Missouri lawmakers now need only a two-thirds majority to override the governor’s decision to withhold money for government programs.
The Missouri constitution requires the governor to keep the state budget balanced. This year, Nixon vetoed more than $700 million from the state budget. Lawmakers have been able to override some of those vetoes, but not all. Republicans have used their majority power before to nix Nixon’s vetoes of bills slashing income taxes or lengthening abortion waiting periods, among other items.
Missourians also backed a measure to allow previous evidence of criminal acts to be used against child sex abusers involving victims younger than 18 years old. Voters said no to two separate ballot measures that would have tied teacher evaluations to student performances and allowed six days of early voting for general elections.
Both Democrats and Republicans raised plenty of cash for this year’s campaign. The House Republican Campaign Committee raised more than $2.8 million this election cycle, compared to over $2.3 million raised at the Missouri Democratic State Committee. Sen. Claire McCaskill contributed more than $715,000 to support Democratic candidates.