The Missouri Supreme Court today ruled that candidates for state legislative seats in redistricting years don’t have to live in the newly-redrawn districts. In unanimous rulings, the high court said two St. Louis area candidates whose qualifications were challenged can be on the Aug. 7 primary ballot after all. The decisions, reversing a ruling last week by the Missouri Court of Appeals in St. Louis, also remove a cloud that had loomed over several dozen other candidates for legislative seats across the state. The court agreed with a decades-long interpretation of the Missouri Constitution allowing candidates to run for a House or Senate seat if they live in any component part of a district from which the new district had been taken. “Had the drafters of the constitution wished to limit eligibility to candidates residing only in those parts of an old district that were absorbed into the new one, they could have crafted narrowing language to that effect,” the court said in both rulings. “They did not.”
The appeals court had rejected that view last week in cases challenging the credentials of Rep. Sylvester Taylor, D-Black Jack, who is seeking re-election in a new district, and Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, a candidate for a state Senate seat. The appeals court had said Taylor and Nasheed couldn’t run for the seats they filed for because they didn’t live within the new boundaries. The legal challenges were filed by Taylor’s Democratic primary opponent in the 75th House District – Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray of Black Jack – and one of Nasheed’s Democratic primary foes in the 5th Senate District – Sen. Robin Wright-Jones of St. Louis.
Full Article: Supreme Court upholds traditional candidate filing procedure.