Mo. GOP lawmaker seated in House despite election dispute

Thursday, January 10, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A Republican from Southeast Missouri whose election to the state House is being challenged in court took the oath of office Wednesday alongside his colleagues.

Kent Hampton narrowly defeated Democrat Tom Todd in the 150th House District that covers part of Dunklin and Pemiscot counties. However, officials discovered some voters who live in a neighboring district were given the wrong ballots and vice versa and have sought a new election. The case has been tied up in court.

Nonetheless, Hampton participated when newly elected state legislators were sworn in for the start of the 2013 legislative session. His name was included with an asterisk noting that litigation is pending on the list of legislators provided by the secretary of state's office to the House.

Democratic leaders have objected in a letter sent to the House clerk. House Minority Leader Jake Hummel and Assistant Minority Leader Gail McCann-Beatty state in their letter that doubt has been cast on the validity of the November election results and that it was "improper" to seat Hampton before the situation has been resolved.

House Speaker Tim Jones had said he planned to seat Hampton and that there was no newly discovered evidence to change his decision.

Hampton, of Malden, Mo., first was elected in 2010. In that contest, he defeated Todd, of Campbell, Mo., who then was the incumbent.

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