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Chuck Basye says he’s leaving State Senate race

Rocheport Republican Chuck Basye said this morning he is withdrawing from the campaign for state senator from Boone County because of a recent cancer diagnosis.

Basye entered the race at the filing deadline late last month against Democrat Stephen Webber. The seat is currently held by Republican Caleb Rowden of Columbia, who is term-limited.

Basye, who will turn 66 in June, said his prostate cancer was caught early and is treatable. But a recent MRI detected an additional cancer concerning to his urologist and prompting his withdrawal from the race. Basye made the announcement this morning on KWOS Wake Up Mid Missouri program.

Basye said he wished to turn his announcement into a public service announcement encouraging regular medical checkups. He said regular checkups indicating his rising PSA levels over the last 18 months led to the early detection of his cancer.

Basye, a retired air-traffic controller, was elected to the state house in 2014. He served four terms before becoming term-limited in 2023. He chaired the house Education Committee and made an unsuccessful bid in 2023 for election to the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education. His willingness to publicly defend conservative positions on the controversial topics of America’s culture wars has often made him the target of disdain from the left. But he won his last election to the house with more than 57% of the vote.

Webber will now have an uncontested walk into the state senate, flipping a Republican seat held by Rowden for the last eight years to the Democrats. The district was redrawn prior to this year’s election to split off conservative Cooper County and include only the more progressive Boone County, leaving Webber a considerable favorite to win the seat. Basye’s withdrawal is before a deadline that allows candidate filing to re-open, and potential Republican candidates will have a five-day window to enter the race.

Webber, who will turn 41 before the election, represented Columbia for four terms in the state house from 2009-2016. He lost a bid for the Senate seat in 2016 to Rowden, who won with just over 51% of the vote. Webber went on to serve as chair of the Missouri Democratic Party. He is currently political director for the Missouri AFL-CIO. Webber declared his candidacy for the senate seat in January 2023 and has amassed more than $750,000 in campaign contributions.

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