Will Royster challenged a 40th District political dynasty three years ago and got screwed. Now, he won't let it go 

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Royster turned down another run at office in 2012, in part because of divorce proceedings that started that year and continue today. And the 2010 experience makes him question the sanctity of the voting process.

"My residual questions would be, what's preventing it from happening again?" Royster says. "That's a huge investment of time and emotional effort. It's discouraging. I talked to a few folks who could have run, but all the folks said the same thing: 'I saw what happened to you, Will. I could never do that.' "


John Rizzo did not return several calls from The Pitch for this story.

And in most other media, he has remained silent about his relatives ending up with a rap sheet from his election, other than to call it "unfortunate."

"I've been re-elected since then," Rizzo told The Kansas City Star the day the Moretinas pleaded guilty in Jackson County. "Hopefully, these guilty pleas will end the talk about an election held almost three years ago."

Star columnist Barbara Shelly acknowledged having to eat crow for accepting at face value Rizzo's earlier claim that his aunt and uncle lived in the 40th District, an explanation that law enforcement clearly wasn't buying. (Clara Moretina told The Pitch, "We're glad it's behind us," but she did not want to comment further.)

The Missouri Legislature has also been mostly silent about Rizzo's controversial position in the House of Representatives. Republicans, a party typically advocating for stronger voter-identification laws, haven't made much of an example of Rizzo.

Rizzo has even risen to some level of leadership within the Democratic Party in Jefferson City, spending the 2013 session as the minority whip.

One Jackson County political insider tells The Pitch that, despite the Moretinas' guilty pleas, Rizzo maintains political stature, in part thanks to his affable personality.

State Sen. Jason Holsman tells The Pitch that Rizzo's election isn't a matter of debate in Jefferson City.

"It has no bearing on the current makeup of the Legislature," Holsman says.


Beyond political opportunists Jack Cashill (who for once isn't peddling a conspiracy theory) and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (who is keen on passing voter-ID legislation), there has been little outrage over a local election in which relatives of a candidate, who won a race by a single vote, were convicted of voter fraud.

"I wish there was interest," Nutter says. "And I'm not saying there isn't, but I don't know of any."

In the Northeast, residents have moved on, even if Royster hasn't.

"I am still outraged," Remley tells The Pitch, "but no, I don't think there's a lot of palatable outrage."

Some say Royster and his supporters' relentless pushing of the voter-fraud story has made other supporters tired of the 2010 election.

"Will Royster lost a lot of sympathy at the way the election results were handled," Stadler says. "I get why he and his supporters were disappointed with the result, especially now that it was proven that there were probably enough cases of voter fraud that Royster should have won. He made the election about himself rather than the neighborhood. Once he didn't get what he wanted, he went home and cried in his room about it. He didn't show the neighborhood that even though he lost the election, he still cared about the neighborhood."

Royster says he still cares about the neighborhood but acknowledges that his profile within it has dropped since the election.

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