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Party officials move to block embattled Missouri lawmaker from running in 2022 election

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JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Republican Party moved Wednesday to block a sitting lawmaker from running in the 2022 election.

Rep. Patricia Derges, R-Nixa, had been seeking to run for a seat in the Legislature despite facing federal fraud charges since last year.

But the party said it would not accept a required filing fee from the southwest Missouri lawmaker to get on the August primary election ballot.

“The MOGOP has refused the filing fee from Derges,” said Charlie Dalton, the party’s executive director. “We will reevaluate the situation once her case has gone through the court process.”

The party’s decision marks the latest setback for Derges, an assistant physician who was stripped of her committee assignments in the House and given an office in a broom closet in the Capitol after the federal charges were lodged against her.

Prosecutors say Derges administered amniotic fluid, which she falsely claimed contained stem cells, as a treatment for patients who suffered from various diseases, including erectile dysfunction, Lyme disease and urinary incontinence.

A trial is set for June 6, which is about three weeks after the current legislative session is scheduled to end. Filing for the August primary ends March 29.

Derges’ license to prescribe narcotics also was placed on probation for three years with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Derges was planning to run for the House or Senate. She earlier said she was eyeing a seat in the state Senate.

She could not be reached for comment in the Capitol Wednesday.

It is not the first time political parties have blocked lawmakers from getting on the primary ballot.

The GOP Tuesday also rejected the filing fee submitted by Steve West, who wanted to run for a Kansas City-area House district, over anti-Semitic comments he has made.

“West’s past comments are vile and conflict with the fundamental values of our platform,” the party said in an announcement.

In 2018, the Missouri Democratic Party used a similar maneuver to block former Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-Ferguson, from running for a seat in the Senate because he had not paid more than $114,000 in fines for violating numerous state campaign finance laws.

Curtis sued to challenge the decision but lost in a case that went to the Missouri Supreme Court.

A federal grand jury indicted Derges in early 2021 on charges of promoting a fake stem cell treatment and of illegally distributing prescription drugs to patients. The 20-count indictment includes eight counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of violating the federal Controlled Substances Act and two counts of making false statements to federal agents.

Originally posted at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23. 

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