Missouri's Alford, Burlison elected to Congress

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Kansas City morning news anchor Mark Alford and state Sen. Eric Burlison have been elected to Congress as Republicans, replacing incumbents who chose to run for the U.S. Senate rather than seek reelection.

Alford defeated Democrat Jack Truman in the race for the north-central 4th District seat held by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, and Burlison defeated Democratic baker Kristen Radaker-Sheafer to win the southwestern seat held by U.S. Rep. Billy Long.

Hartzler and Long ran unsuccessfully for the open U.S. Senate that resulted from Sen. Roy Blunt’s retirement.

Alford, of Raymore, defeated six other candidates in the August primary to reach the general.

Burlison, of Battlefield, said he’s the most conservative state legislator. He served as a member of the now-dissolved Senate Conservative Caucus, a six-member group formed in 2019 to draw attention to issues including abortion, gun rights and reducing the size of government.

Voters reelected all the incumbents running: Democrat Cori Bush of the St. Louis area, Republican Ann Wagner of suburban St. Louis, Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer of east-central Missouri, Democrat Emanuel Cleaver of the Kansas City area, Republican Sam Graves of northern Missouri, and Republican Jason Smith of the southeast.

Republicans kept their current advantage over Democrats by holding six of the state's eight districts.

While redrawing congressional maps based on 2020 U.S. Census data this year, state lawmakers attempted to make it easier for Wagner to fend off Democratic competition for her suburban St. Louis seat.

The new map strengthens the Republican vote share there by 3 percentage points over the former districts, according to an analysis by legislative staff that focused on top-of-the-ticket election results from 2016-2020. Democrats nationally have been eyeing Wagner’s seat for years as an opportunity to flip the district.

Wagner won re-election with 52% of the vote in 2020 and 51% in 2018.