Redistricting pits House incumbents against one another.
Like spring follows winter, the redistricting of political boundaries in Missouri follows each census cycle. And when the new boundary lines have been drawn, new districts can suddenly wind up with more than one state representative or senator.
Scattered across Missouri are a handful of districts which feature two incumbents. According to a map on the Missouri Office of Administration’s Web site, District 36, located on the Missouri/Kansas border just south of Kansas City, now features three House incumbents.
In northeast Missouri, District 5 has been redrawn in such a way as to include two members of the House - Democrat Tom Shively of Shelbyville and Republican Lindell Shumake of Hannibal.
In advance of the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election, both men have been working to get their names out in the areas they did not previously represent.
“In Marion County, since it does have the largest population in the Fifth District, I’ve probably spent more time here. That’s probably good management because that’s where a majority of the votes are at,” said Shively, who is seeking a fourth term.
“We have spent a good deal of time in Shelby County and Monroe County going door to door and attending events. However, because the bulk of the population is here (Marion County) we’ve spent a good amount of time here as well,” said Shumake, who is wrapping up his first term in the House.
Both candidates believe their message has been well received.
“I’m getting a good response in general,” said Shumake. “There are a number of people that are pretty solid in support of their particular party. There are also a lot of people, too, that feel they just want the best person for the job.”
“I feel very positive about it,” said Shively. “They are trying to find out your characteristics and what you stand for and what you think is the way government should function.”
According to both candidates the issues voters are most interested in haven’t changed much since the last time their names were on the ballot.
“It’s jobs and the economy. Of course there’s the social issues, too ... traditional values, education and the budget. All these are similar issues as we faced in 2010,” said Shumake.
“I think getting jobs and the economy back on line are at the top of most people’s minds,” said Shively.
Shumake and Shively believe their overall campaign has gone negative in recent weeks.
“I think some of the ads they’ve sent against me are not telling the whole truth,” said Shively.
“There have been attacks on my character. It’s very unfortunate they would have to go to those lengths,” said Shumake. “I feel pretty good about how I’ve represented the people of the district and the way we’ve conducted the campaign. I’m looking forward to Tuesday.”