Lembke files for re-election in 1st Senate District, won't be challenging Schmitt
State Sen. Jim Lembke, who had been publicly pondering a challenge to fellow Republican Eric Schmitt, instead filed today to run in his redrawn 1st District in south St. Louis County.
The new 1st will be far more Democratic-leaning than the current one.
Lembke, R-Lemay, said in an interview that his decision stemmed from an encouraging meeting he had Monday night with state Senate Republican leaders, who assured him that his re-election bid in the 1st "will be a top priority."
"They're going to have targeted races," Lembke said, and he wanted to make sure the 1st was one of them. The new 1st will take in parts of Webster Groves, Rock Hill and Maplewood -- not necessarily GOP country.
Two Democrats – former Reps. Sue Schoemehl, D-Oakville, and Michael Vogt, D-St. Louis – already have filed to run for the seat.
Lembke said he plans to spend a lot of time "knocking on doors" in the new parts of his district.
His optimism about his re-election chances also stem from the fact surveys indicate he has strong name ID, Lembke said.
His campaign took a picture of Lembke formally filing, shortly after 10 a.m. this morning.
Along with Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, Lembke was one of the chief critics of the new state Senate map adopted by a bipartisan commission. While Lembke's seat was made more Democratic, Cunningham’s district was moved to Kansas City. She has told the Beacon that she is still considering her options.
As for Lembke, his other option had been to challenge Schmitt – who has amassed a huge financial stash for his re-election bid in the 15th District in central St. Louis County. Schmitt currently has no Democratic or Republican opponent.
Lembke won election to the 1st District in 2008 by a very narrow margin, beating former state Rep. Joan Barry, D-Oakville. He has made waves in the Missouri Senate by championing changes to the Missouri nonpartisan court plan, as well as temporarily blocking extension of unemployment benefits.