Longtime State Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, has announced that he will not run for the Missouri Senate in 2018 to replace term-limited Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City.

State Rep. Jay Barnes speaks on the Missouri House floor in January 2016 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Barnes is serving his fourth and final House term. He was first elected in 2010 and is term-limited in the House.

Barnes chairs the House Rules-Administrative Oversight Committee.

Kehoe is also term-limited, in the Senate. He is finishing his second four-year term, and was first elected to the Senate in 2010.

Barnes tells Missourinet that service in the Legislature and a campaign requires sacrifices that are not worth it. He notes he and his wife now have four children.

“They need a father who is around, whose mind is not occupied by the details of line 34 on page three of House bill 552,” Barnes says.

In a written statement, Barnes wrote, in part: “I believe that, all too often, people choose the path expected of them without ever pausing to ask whether it’s the right path for them. In making this decision, we thought back to our first campaign, when we were just a family of three and our toddler would cry every time I left the house to knock on doors. Today, we are a family of six – and all of our children are in their formative years.”

Barnes notes he has 15 months left in his House term, saying that “you sprint all the way to the finish line.”

Barnes says the January to May legislative sessions are exhausting.

“For those in the Legislature who really work hard at legislation and substantive policy, it is an absolute grind,” says Barnes.

He says while he “hates politics and hates campaigns”, he enjoys policy work and helping constituents. Barnes says he’s strived to be diligent, sincere and fair.

Barnes led the bipartisan 2011 House investigation into the failed Mamtek project in northern Missouri’s Moberly.

Former Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole pleaded guilty in September 2014 to one count of theft and two counts of securities fraud, and he was sentenced to seven years in state prison.

The Missouri Department of Corrections tells Missourinet that Cole is scheduled to be paroled in June.

Senate Majority Leader Kehoe’s sprawling district includes seven mid-Missouri counties: Cole, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan and Osage.

State Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, is running for the post. State Rep. David Wood, R-Versailles, tells Missourinet he is not considering running for the Senate.


Click here to listen to the full eight-minute interview between Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. Jay Barnes, which was recorded on October 5, 2017: