Best State Campaign — Mo.

Jolie Justus

Jolie Justus was the little-known director of pro bono work at Kansas City's largest law firm when she decided to run for Charles Wheeler's old seat in the Missouri Senate. In the primary, Justus faced what must have seemed like a legion of doom: Jason Klumb, a well-funded politician-in-a-box who'd first been elected to the Missouri House at age 24; Ingrid Burnett, a not-crazy Kansas City School Board member and the wife of a state rep; and Mike Flaherty, the Irish Catholic bar owner. The most progressive of the four candidates, Justus inspired a group of hardworking volunteers to get out the vote. The team effort helped Justus edge Klumb by three percentage points on her way to becoming the first openly gay member of the Missouri Senate.
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