Missouri 5th District
Kansas City, named after a state it isn’t in and a river it doesn’t touch, is the center of one of America’s large metro areas, the biggest on the central Great Plains. The first pioneers here started little towns on the bluffs above the Missouri River—Independence, Kansas City, Westport—that coalesced a few decades later. Here, traders on the Santa Fe Trail set out to cross the Sand Hills of Kansas to reach Mexican territory. Later, Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers fought for control of Bleeding Kansas during the Civil War. Kansas City was a rail center and, in the 1920s, had one of the largest stockyards in the country, a major commercial center with lean skyscrapers and the Country Club Plaza, the first shopping center in America. The city is famous also for its black community, its National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, its historic jazz district that has been home to musicians like Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker and Count Basie, and for its much-praised barbecue. The area is also famous as the home of Harry Truman, who grew up on a farm now in the suburb of Grandview and who lived in his wife’s family’s house in Independence, the old county seat just to the east.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 5th Congressional District of Missouri includes most of Kansas City, the largest city in Missouri, plus Grandview and the bulk of Independence. The more suburban slices of Jackson County to the east have been filled with new subdivisions. It also includes fast-growing Belton and Raymore along U.S. 71 in Cass County just to the south. Most of the metro area’s landmarks, including the Truman home, are here but much of the metropolitan area growth is across the state line in Kansas. One-quarter of the district’s residents are black, the second highest percentage among Missouri districts. Politically, the seat has been solidly Democratic. John Kerry carried it 60%-40% in 2004, and Barack Obama won it 63%-36% in 2008.