Lembke runs for re-election, but may challenge Schmitt; Cunningham ponders options
Despite his ire over the new map, state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, says he definitely plans to run for re-election this year.
The only issue is whether he runs in the 1st District, which he now represents, or shifts to the 15th and challenges a fellow Republican, state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale.
The new redistricting map, which goes into effect with this fall’s elections, makes the 1st District in south St. Louis County much more Democratic-leaning than it is now. Those who drew the map, says Lembke, “piled all the Republican voters into the 15th.”
Lembke says he has advised Schmitt that he may challenge him in the August primary.
But first, Lembke is “working through the process’’ and “assessing what sort of resources I would need’’ to run in either district. He plans to meet next week with Republican leaders in Jefferson City.
Lembke has yet to file in either district. He has until March 27 to do so.
So far, two Democrats – former state Reps. Sue Schoemehl and Mike Vogt – have filed in the 1st. Schmitt is the only candidate, at the moment, to file in the 15th.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Jane Cunningham, whose 7th District was moved across the state, has yet to decide what office she may seek this fall.
Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, says she has been getting encouragement to consider statewide posts, including lieutenant governor, state treasurer and secretary of state.
“Everyone is assuring me that I could win in whatever I do,’’ Cunningham says, emphasizing that she isn’t taking anything for granted.
Cunningham adds that she hadn’t thought about other offices until the tentative map was made public a few weeks ago, revealing that her district would likely be moved into the Kansas City area. The map became final last Monday.
“I was so focused on continuing my work in the Senate, I hadn’t been looking at anything else,’’ she says.
While acknowledging that she’s considering a variety of options, Cunningham says she will definitely not run for Congress in the 2nd District. She had considered such a bid months ago but opted against it.
The 2nd District now has two Republicans competing against each other: former Ambassador Ann Wagner and former Webster Groves councilman Randy Jotte.
Cunningham says she has been encouraged to jump into the race. But she adds, “I’ve already endorsed Ann Wagner.”