BOWLING GREEN, Mo. | The former mayor of Bowling Green blew past four opponents to win the Republican nomination for the 40th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives during Tuesday's Primary Election.
Chad Perkins, 42, who works as a deputy for the Pike County Sheriff's Department, won the race to replace outgoing Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Frankford, who is leaving office after eight years because of term limits.
There is no Democrat running for the 40th District seat, meaning that Perkins has a clear path to being elected in the Nov. 3 General Election.
The 40th District covers all of Pike, Ralls and Monroe counties and a small portion of Lincoln County in Northeast Missouri.
Perkins grabbed 50.68% of the total votes cast – 3,847. Monroe County Western District Commissioner Ron Staggs of Paris finished second with 20.6%, 1,570 votes; Heather Dodd of Madison finished third with 19.5%, 1,487 votes; and Thomas Schultz of Curryville, who did little campaigning and self-financed his campaign with $200 in cash, finished in fourth place with 398 votes. Meanwhile, Louisiana book publisher and minister Woodrow Polston, who referred to the coronavirus as “the baloney virus” during a candidate forum last month in Paris, finished fifth place with 292 votes – 3.8%.
Perkins said his immediately priorities are to improve access to broadband technology and to fight eminent domain for the Grain Belt Express project, which would build a massive transmission line across Missouri and three other states to move electricity from vast wind-energy farms in western Kansas to East Coast power grids.
The House of Representatives approved a bill in the 2020 session to block eminent domain for the Grain Belt project, which was sponsored by Hansen. However, the bill died during the waning days of the session because of opposition from Senate leaders.
“We ran a positive campaign to bring high-speed internet to rural Missouri, to continue fighting Grain Belt Express,” Perkins said. “I will get with members to discuss Grain Belt during my first few days in office.”
Perkins said that the real problem blocking eminent domain for Grain Belt Express is the Missouri Senate, and he believes that he can help convince senators to support the measure.
“We are not going to have any problems passing the House. It is a priority,” he said in an interview late last month. “The hurdle is the Senate, so it will require someone who can make a deal with the Senate to ensure its passing and I believe I am the person to that.”
Perkins said that another priority is to sponsor legislation that would simplify medical billing for patients.
“We have our health care plan doing away with surprises in hospital bills. All charges will be on one bill,” Perkins said.
He is a graduate of Bowling Green High School, John Wood Community College and the Law Enforcement Training Institute at the University of Missouri.
Perkins outdistanced his competitors in fund-raising, according to the Eight-Day Before the Primary finance reports, which were filed on July 27, generating $22,055 in contributions. Staggs reported raising a total of $14,554 in the July 27 reports, while Dodd reported $7,059.