What You Need to Know About the Midterms


Photographer: Cela Cashel

 “Sure, I would vote, but I don’t know enough about the candidates…” Have you ever heard this excuse before, or even used it yourself? Midterm elections are swiftly approaching, set for November 6, 2018, but many people opt out of voting in midterms simply because they do not feel they know enough about the candidates running. If that’s your reason, here’s some information you should know about the candidates running for office in your area.

The widest-reaching election in Missouri this year is the Senate race. Claire McCaskill is the incumbent candidate, having served as a Missouri Senator since being elected in 2006. She is the Democratic candidate in the race, and is considered to be a fairly moderate candidate. During her time in Congress, McCaskill has emphasized working with Republicans on bipartisan bills, and has especially focused on job growth, veteran care, and education. Josh Hawley, a Republican, is running against her in the race. Hawley describes himself as a constitutional conservative. He has served as Missouri Attorney General since 2017, and takes a strong stance against “big government and big business.” The race is tight.  FiveThirtyEight, a political statistical analysis site, describes this race as being a “toss-up,” with McCaskill having a 3 in 5 chance of winning and Hawley having a 2 in 5 chance. With a race this close, it is more important than ever for everyone to vote who is able to, because every vote does make a difference.

Two major races for the House of Representatives are also occurring this year in the St. Louis area. One of these is the race for the 1st Congressional District Seat. The 1st Congressional District covers all of St. Louis City, as well as parts of the county such as Florissant. William “Lacy” Clay Jr. is the incumbent, and has been a representative of District 1 since 2000, meaning he is currently serving his 8th term. Clay is a Democrat who, during his time in Congress, has supported the Affordable Care Act, helped to strengthen Social Security, and voted to fund special education in public schools. Clay is running against Robert Vroman, the Republican candidate in the race and a real estate developer. Vroman’s priorities include ending economic intervention from the government and stopping mass incarceration. Robb Cunningham, a Libertarian, is also running as a third party candidate. Cunningham’s focuses include racial tensions, poverty and violent crime in St. Louis. However, the 1st District is a majority Democratic district, and Clay is projected to win with a solid majority.

The 2nd Congressional District, which covers most of St. Louis County and St. Charles County is also up for reelection. Ann Wagner is the incumbent candidate, and a Republican. Wagner’s focuses are national security, creating jobs, and securing the border to prevent illegal immigration. Cort VanOstran is her Democratic challenger. VanOstran, a lawyer, has focused his campaign on strengthening the Affordable Care Act, improving public education, and strengthening the economy through renegotiating trade deals and incentivizing businesses to their workers a living wage. Green party candidate David Arnold and Libertarian candidate Larry Kirk are also in the running. Arnold believes in a complete end to war and in the creation of a universal basic income. Kirk’s priorities are cutting federal spending, reforming the criminal justice system, and cutting military intervention. However, neither are projected to win a large portion of the vote. FiveThirtyEight reports that Wagner has a 6 in 7 chance of winning, as the district has historically voted Republican.

Regardless of which of these candidates you are planning on voting for, it is incredibly important to be informed on who is running for office. Participating in the democratic process is a great responsibility, so before you make any decision at the polls, make sure you know who you are voting for and what they stand for. Elections are your chance to have your voice heard. If you are able to vote, make sure to get out to the polls November 6th.


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