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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Missouri could set tone for 2020 Senate elections

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Missouri voters are headed to the polls in a special election next Tuesday to pick their next governor. A closely watched race there will feature Democrat Chris Koster facing off against Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley.

But the marquee matchup comes in the Senate, where Democrats will pick a candidate to take on Sen. Roy Blunt, who represents the state. Their choice could ultimately hold important consequences for the party’s hopes in November.

In June, a judge threw out several provisions of Missouri’s primary system, including one that did not allow candidates with less than 30 percent of the vote to continue on to the general election. That decision opened the door for Ms. Kelly, the US representative, to become the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party. On top of that, Ms. Kelly has been endorsed by both Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former Rep. Artur Davis, who unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Blunt for his seat in 2014.

Travis Coursey/The Washington Post

The move may mean more attention than voters typically give these kinds of primary upsets. By missing out on the nomination, Democratic senators from North Dakota and Indiana couldn’t avoid competing against the two people who made their names in a primary; by running in Missouri, Ms. Kelly could be competitive against Mr. Blunt, who had his own high-profile primary fight in 2014.

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