Citizen puts ballot into the box on Aug 2, 2022. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

As the clock rung half past midnight in Greene County, the Republican primary election for Missouri’s 137th House District appeared to narrowly go to Darin Chappell.

Chappell led Thomas Barr by 115 votes, with 14 of 14 districts in Greene County reporting, according to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office. Chappell had 3,519 votes, while Barr had 3,404.

Chappell previously worked as the city administrator for Missouri cities Bolivar, Chillicothe and Seymour and as a political science instructor at Missouri State University.

This is Barr’s first attempt to become a state lawmaker, though it’s not his first election. Barr was elected Greene County circuit clerk in 2014, and re-elected in 2018. He previously worked for the Missouri Department of Revenue in Jefferson City and ran a mailing service in Springfield.

Missouri’s 137th House District was subject to significant changes during the 2021 redistricting process in the Missouri General Assembly. Formerly consisting of eastern Greene County and western Webster County, the new 137th House District is entirely in Greene County. Therefore its former representative in Missouri’s lower chamber, Rep. John Black, R-Marshfield, was only eligible to run for reelection in the new 129th District.

Barr and Chappell were the only two candidates of any party who filed to run before today’s deadline for November’s general election. Therefore, it can be safely assumed that the winner will succeed Black as the 137th House District’s next representative. 

While both candidates touted their conservative stances and eagerness to address inflation and gas prices, they had differing reasons on why they would be the best choice for the district. Barr suggested his time as a businessman and employer would lend itself to him knowing how to help run an effective and efficient state legislature, whereas Chappell thinks his time as a city administrator across three Missouri cities and an understanding of the U.S. and state constitutions would give him insight in the House that other representatives don’t have.

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the business and economic development reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He previously covered politics and elections for the Citizen. Before that, he worked at documentary film company Carbon Trace Productions and Missouri State University’s student-led newspaper, The Standard. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at jmcgee@sgfcitizen.org or (417) 719-5129. More by Jack McGee