Plan for new state House and Senate districts affects next election

Thursday, December 1, 2011 | 9:25 p.m. CST; updated 1:52 a.m. CST, Friday, December 2, 2011
The Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission, a panel of six judges, has redrawn Missouri’s House and Senate legislative districts. The new boundaries, which take effect after the November 2012 general election, create significant changes for Columbia and Boone County House districts, as illustrated here.

COLUMBIA — Chris Kelly represents Missouri's 24th District in the House of Representatives. But next year, the Democrat could represent any district in Boone County.

The same goes for any other state representative who lives in Boone County.

New District Populations

Boone County House Districts

44th: 35,968

45th: 35,636

46th: 36,530

47th: 35,390

50th: 36,823

Senate District 19: 172,786

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The Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission, a committee of six appellate court judges, filed new maps for state representative and senatorial districts with the Secretary of State on Monday. The new district lines will take effect for primary and general elections in August and November of next year, respectively.

And the lines aren't the only things that are changing. House districts in Boone County and elsewhere also will be identified by new numbers. So, instead of including all or parts of Districts 9, 21, 23, 24 and 25, Boone County will include parts or all of Districts 44, 45, 46, 47 and 50.

Secretary of State spokesman Ryan Hobart said because redistricting was finished less than a year before the next election, incumbents will be able to run for any of the seats in the county where they live. An incumbent also can run for election in any new district that overlaps any part of his or her current district.

Kelly said he hasn't decided yet if he'll seek re-election in his home district that is now District 50. It includes parts of Boone, Cole, Moniteau and Cooper counties. The new district will be more rural than District 24, but Kelly said he kind of likes that.

"I like being out talking to people, and I regularly go into cornfields and talk to people on tractors. I like doing that, and I care about things like the levees along the river," Kelly said.

Kelly said he's considering all his options for the next election but is "extremely committed to continuing to represent the university."

If representatives are elected to a district they don't live in, they must establish residency in their new district before the 2014 general elections, Hobart said. This means representatives must live in their new district for at least a year before November 2014.

Democrat Stephen Webber represents Columbia in District 23. He said he'll run for re-election next year in District 46, which includes his home.

Webber said he doesn't think the redistricting really affects his area of representation because both District 23 and the new District 46 lie within city limits.

"I think being in Columbia, I really try to represent the whole city anyways," he said. Webber said he thinks the issues in District 46 will be virtually the same as in District 23, but he plans to knock on some new doors in southern Columbia before District 46 goes into effect.

Not all members of the House of Representatives were so lucky.

Webber said that he thought it was completely unnecessary and inconducive to good goverment for Kelly's new home, District 50, to cross four counties. Because Boone, Cole, Moniteau and Cooper counties don't have charter governments, any legislative changes they seek must be approved by the General Assembly.

"I don't think it's a particularly well-informed map," Webber said.

Mary Still, a Democrat who represents District 25, could not be reached for comment. She lives in what will become District 45.

Republican John Cauthorn represents District 21, and Democrat Paul Quinn represents District 9. Both districts include parts of northern Boone County, but the new district boundaries mean neither will represent the county after the next round of elections.

The new District 44 has no incumbent representative living within its district.

District lines are redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census to ensure that the state's House and Senate districts meet the constitutional requirement of being as equal in population as possible. 

Senate Redistricting

Kurt Schaefer, the Republican senator representing District 19, said he's already visited Howard County, which will replace Randolph County in his district.

"I went over to the courthouse this morning and had some great conversations, and I think it's an exciting opportunity," Schaefer said Thursday.

District 19 will encompass Boone and Howard counties during and after the next primary and general elections.

Schaefer said he doesn't think the redistricting affects him because he's "got a strong track record passing legislation and getting things accomplished."

He said he thinks he works well with both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and looks forward to representing Howard County.

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