Democrats flipped another state legislative seat on Tuesday night, bringing their total to 42 since President Trump’s inauguration.
Democratic State Rep. Lauren Arthur easily defeated Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew by a double-digit margin in the race to fill Missouri’s 17th District Senate seat. The district, just north of Kansas City, voted for Trump in 2016 by a nearly five-point margin, a fraction of his overall win in the state by 19 points. Its voters also voted for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander by 11 points in 2016, while favoring a Democratic challenger over now recently resigned Republican Governor Eric Greitens.
Greitens, who opened up the district Senate seat when he appointed Republican Ryan Silvey to the Missouri Public Service Commission at the beginning of 2018, cast a long shadow over the race even after exiting office last week. Silvey won re-election in 2016 by more than 20 points.
While Corlew was critical of Greitens when his sexual misconduct scandal first came to light, even saying that the House should “seriously consider impeachment, Arthur still tied the Republican to the scandal-ridden governor’s office.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, dedicated to winning these local races, highlighted Arthur’s candidacy— specifically referencing her positions on education and health care.
State legislative contests have taken on enormous importance for the party in the era of Trump with figures like former Vice President Joe Biden and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley making endorsements throughout the country.