Jackson County Legislature’s In-District Map

As results began to trickle in on the night of August 2nd, 2022, it quickly became clear that union members across the bi-state area had much to celebrate. Unions in the Kansas City metro, particularly on the Missouri side, continue to be an incredibly strong political institution, advancing the needs of their membership through endorsements. The Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO and the Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades published an election guide in the Kansas City Labor Beacon that saw tremendous success. In Missouri, 92.9% of the candidates endorsed in the election guide advanced to the general election, or 39 out of 42 candidates. In Kansas, 96.9% of those union-endorsed candidates advanced to the general election, or 31 out of 32 candidates.

In the Missouri State House, every union endorsed candidate with the exception of one, Rep. Annette Turnbaugh, won their primary election. Many of the union-endorsed candidates for Missouri House of Representatives in the Kansas City-area are in seats that represent potential pickups for the Missouri Democratic Party, who are seeking to break the Republican supermajority control to limit the introduction of policies that hurt workers.

The Jackson County legislature, which has generally been favorable to unions, will see significant turnover in the coming years. Unions endorsed in 9 out of 10 races for seats on the County governance body, leaving the 2nd District At-Large seat open, and union-endorsed candidates won 7 out of those 9 races. The County will likely play a major role in a number of major construction projects over the next term.

Manny Abarca, who is also the Executive Director of the Fair Contracting Alliance, handily won the Democratic primary for Jackson County’s 1st district and will almost certainly become the first Hispanic legislator in the Jackson County Legislature in nearly a decade. The district is the most Hispanic district in the County, at 21%.
Tony Miller, who has held the 3rd District At-Large seat since 2015, was defeated in the Democratic primary and Phyllis Edson, a union-endorsed Republican in the 6th District, were the only two endorsed candidates to lose.
Jackson County Executive Frank White won renomination Tuesday by beating Stacy Lake in the Democratic primary. It was the closest race out of the seven the former baseball great has run since entering politics eight years ago. White will face a Republican in the general election for the first time since 2014, Theresa Galvin. No Republican has won a countywide position for any position in the county government for nearly one hundred years.

Missouri voters also voted on a replacement for retiring Republican U.S. Senator from Missouri, Republican Roy Blunt. On the Democratic side of the Missouri U.S. Senate race, Trudy Busch Valentine edged out Lucas Kunce to secure the nomination 43% to 37%, with a variety of other candidates also taking home small shares. Busch Valentine, a retired nurse and heir to the Busch beer brewery fortune, will now face current Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, as well as John Wood, a lawyer who is running as an independent. Eric Schmitt won the Republican primary election over scandal-plagued Eric Greitens and Vicky Hartzler. Over twenty Republicans ran for the nomination. Union endorsements are likely to come for Busch Valentine, who faces an uphill battle in an increasingly red Missouri.

Longtime Kansas City-area leader and distinguished Congressman Emanuel Cleaver secured an easy win in the Democratic primary for the Missouri 5th Congressional District. Similarly, Sam Graves, a union-endorsed Republican, easily advanced in the Missouri 6th Congressional District. The Missouri 5th Congressional District has grown even more Democratic during redistricting, so Rep. Cleaver seems all-but-guaranteed to win his next race.

In Kansas, voters soundly and widely rejected an amendment to the Kansas state constitution that would have eliminated a legal right to an abortion. Kansas was the first state to vote on reproductive healthcare rights since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization.

The midterm general election will be held on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022. Additional endorsements will come from your union, the Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO in advance of the election. If you would like to be involved and want to help union-endorsed candidates win elections, contact your union hall for volunteer opportunities.