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Columbia Missourian

Final list of candidates for Missouri legislative races announced

By Jessica Clark
March 29, 2012 | 6:31 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Three candidates for the state House of Representatives from mid-Missouri's four districts filed shortly before Tuesday's deadline, bringing the total number to 11.

Five candidates are on the ballot in District 44; Chris Kelly is running unopposed in District 45; two candidates are in the District 46 race; and three are running in District 47.

Candidates from area state House districts

District 44

Democrat Ken Jacob

Republican Mike Becker

Republican Chris Dwyer

Republican Caleb Rowden

Republican Dennis Smith

District 45

Democrat incumbent Chris Kelly

District 46

Democrat incumbent Stephen Webber

Republican Fred Berry

District 47

Democrat Nancy Copenhaver

Democrat John Wright

Republican Darrel Hansen

The contest for the state Senate seat in District 19, which serves Columbia, remains unchanged with Republican incumbent Kurt Schaefer facing Democrat and state Rep. Mary Still.

The latest candidates to file for the state House are Dennis Smith in District 44; Fred Berry in District 46; and Darrel Hansen in District 47.

District 44

Republican Dennis Smith, 69, joined four other candidates Tuesday in a bid for a seat in the House. Smith is president and CEO of Dennis Smith and Associates, a business consulting firm in Columbia.

He moved to Columbia 18 years ago from Springfield where he served as a state senator for 12 years.

While serving in the Senate, Smith worked on the Higher Education Reform Commission, the Elementary and Secondary Reform Commission and the Tort Reform Commission. 

If the state doesn't focus on education, economic development and transportation, "we're going to miss the boat," Smith said. "I know a lot about the process, the issues and how to get things done."

Smith faces Republicans Chris Dwyer, Mike Becker and Caleb Rowden. Democrat Ken Jacob served in the Senate until 2004, when his term limit was reached. He was first elected to the Senate in 1996..

District 45

Democrat Chris Kelly is running unopposed for his seat in the House. He represents the southern part of Boone County. First elected in 1982, he was sent back to the House in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1992, and most recently in 2008.

District 46

Republican Fred Berry and incumbent Democrat Stephen Webber are the only candidates on the ballot in District 46. 

Berry, 65, a retired military officer, served in command and staff positions in artillery units overseas for most of his career. He also worked in the Pentagon as the director of military education from 1989 to 1991, mainly to provide policy oversight for military academies, Junior ROTC and veterans.

Berry also helped develop the Transition Assistance Program, which helps people returning from active duty move into civilian life.

"I've been preparing to run for 10 years," he said. "I want Missouri to get back on its feet economically, and I want to be a part of the team that gets that done."

Berry volunteers with the Mid-Mo Patriots, a Tea Party Express group in Columbia.

Webber is seeking a third term.

District 47

Darrel Hansen is the only Republican on the ballot for District 47. Nancy Copenhaver and John Wright, who both filed earlier, are the two Democrats seeking to represent the district.

Hansen lives in southern Randolph County, three miles west of Clark. 

The primary election is Aug. 7. The general election will be Nov. 6.