In one of the region's only contested legislative primary races, Republican voters in Missouri's 159th House District will have a choice in Tuesday's primary.

Incumbent Rep. Dirk Deaton is again being challenged for the GOP nomination and reelection by Mark Bartley for the seat in the House. The two faced off in the primary that led to Deaton's first term in 2018. Because no other candidates of any other party filed to run for the seat, the winner of this primary race will ultimately claim the seat without opposition in November.

The 159th District includes all of McDonald County and portions of southern Newton County.

• Deaton, 26, of Noel, has two years of experience in the seat for which he is running. Over the past two years, he has served on a number of joint committees and special committees, including for the budget and fiscal review.

Before his election, Deaton worked for a small manufacturer in Southwest Missouri and helped co-found the Noel Betterment Association. He earned a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from Liberty University and also attended classes at Missouri Southern State University and Crowder College, earning a spot on the dean's list at all three schools and graduating magna cum laude at Liberty.

• Bartley, 66, of Pineville, has not held elected office. He is a retired colonel with the Army Corps of Engineers, serving in numerous locations around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Currently the owner and operator of Bartley Racing, he earned a bachelor's degree from Pittsburg (Kansas) State University in 1978. He worked to help bring the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box program to McDonald County, getting a pickup point set up.

The race is the only one at the primary level for a legislative seat from the immediate Southwest Missouri area. The winner will join Republicans Ann Kelley in the 127th District and Bob Bromley in the 162nd District with no opposition on the November ballot.

On Nov. 3, Republican incumbents have drawn Democratic Party opponents in the 160th District, where Rep. Ben Baker will be challenged by Angela Thomas; in the 161st, where Rep. Lane Roberts will be challenged by Elizabeth Lundstrum; and in the 163rd, where Rep. Cody Smith will be challenged by Aaron Hailey.

Joe Hadsall is the digital editor for The Joplin Globe. He has been the editor of the former Nixa News-Enterprise and has worked for the Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine.