Hodges decides on run for new 149th district

Monday, December 5, 2011

With his district split three ways thanks to a new House of Representatives apportionment plan, Rep. Steve Hodges will more than likely vie for the 149th district.

Because he's an incumbent, Hodges, D-East Prairie, could run in any district that used to be in his 161st district, which will now include the 148th, 149th and 151st districts. On Friday, Hodges said he's going to run in the 149th "with almost 100 percent surety."

Hodges said he feels the 149th district could be a more Democrat-friendly district than the 148th, with its inclusion of Democrat-leaning areas like New Madrid and Pemiscot counties, and part of his home county of Mississippi. Hodges said he also has friends and supporters throughout the 149th, in places like New Madrid County, Portageville and Hayti.

The 148th House District will now include portions of Scott and Mississippi counties and the 149th District will include all of New Madrid County.

"I feel very comfortable in New Madrid County," said Hodges, who has called neighboring Mississippi County home for three terms in the legislature.

Hodges' home stands literally yards from the line dividing the 148th and 149th, so some thought went into which district he'd like to run in. If elected in the 149th, Hodges would need to move within a year.

With Hodges more than likely entering the 149th district race, he will be potentially pitted against Republican Holly Rehder in November's general election. Rehder had intended to run for the 160th.

"These maps have really thrown everyone off,"

Rehder said. "It doesn't matter what district I'm in, I'm prepared."

Rehder and Hodges have known each other for years, and Rehder said defeating him will be quite a task, namely because he's the incumbent. Nevertheless, Rehder said she is ready for the challenge and the prospect of running such a large district excites her.

Rehder has raised $11,483 in campaign contributions, according to a quarterly report filed in October with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Rehder loaned her campaign $5,000. Hodges said he has raised between $15,000 and $16,000, but such earnings are not yet reflected in his filings with the ethics commission. According to his quarterly report filed in October, Hodges has raised $4,898.

Rehder and her husband Ray are owners of Integrity Communications, a cable communications company. Rehder also works as a government affairs consultant for the Missouri Cable Television Association, which included a three-year stint as a lobbyist.

Hodges has represented the 161st district since 2006. Before being elected, he worked for 30 years as the owner and manager of a supermarket in East Prairie.

psullivan@semissourian.com

388-3635

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