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Missouri House passes controversial new abortion bill

Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, listens to a colleague on the Senate floor on Friday, May 17, 2019, on the final day of the legislative session in Jefferson City. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — Even though he can’t run for the state Senate again because of term limits, a St. Charles County Republican is continuing to raise money for his campaign fund.

Sen. Bob Onder, of Lake Saint Louis, is among a trio of GOP lawmakers tag-teaming on a fundraiser in St. Louis on Thursday.

Onder, who won re-election last year to his second and final four-year term in the Legislature’s upper chamber, now lists himself as seeking an unspecified statewide office.

He told the Post-Dispatch this week that he hasn’t decided what he might do next.

“At this point I don’t have any particular plans for future runs,” Onder said. “I definitely wouldn’t rule one out.”

All statewide offices except for auditor will be on the 2020 ballot. Each are currently held by Republicans.

Onder, a physician and small business owner, said he may use money donated to his account to help finance the election of other Republican senators, state representatives and county-level candidates.

“I will be continuing to fundraise,” said Onder, who had more than $210,000 in his campaign account as of April 1.

Last year, Onder was among those seeking to be appointed state treasurer to fill the vacancy left by Eric Schmitt’s move to the attorney general’s post.

Gov. Mike Parson ultimately chose former Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, for the $108,000-per-year job.

In May, Onder didn’t want to discuss his unsuccessful bid for the appointment.

“Yeah, I don’t have a comment on that,” he said. “I think the governor had considered a lot of people and I think his selection of Scott Fitzpatrick was an excellent choice and I really strongly support Scott. He’s a good friend of mine and I look forward to helping him win his election to treasurer in 2020.”

Onder, last year, also lost to Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, when the two ran for Senate president pro tem. Also in the running were Republican Sens. Mike Cunningham and Ed Emery.

Following that, Onder helped form a six-member bloc of GOP senators into what became known as the Conservative Caucus.

During the recent legislative session, Onder often sparred with Parson, a fellow Republican. During the final week of the legislative session Onder and other members of the caucus tried to derail a new $10 million scholarship program championed by the governor as well as other incentives the bloc called “corporate welfare.”

Onder and others involved in the filibuster ultimately relented and allowed a vote on the measure so the Senate would have enough time to approve a restrictive new abortion law before the Legislature’s May 17 adjournment.

Two other members of the caucus — Bill Eigel of Weldon Spring and Andrew Koenig of Manchester — will join Onder at the fundraiser at the Kiel Club at the Stifel Theatre in downtown St. Louis.

Koenig, the sponsor of the abortion law, faces a potentially high-profile challenge from Democrats in 2020. Eigel also is up for reelection next year.

Kurt Erickson is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jack Suntrup covers state government and politics for the Post-Dispatch.

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