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Kasten ready to do 'whatever it takes' for campaign

Friday, September 21, 2007

(Photo)
Mary Kasten spoke Thursday night
(Fred Lynch)
Despite her age, former state representative Mary Kasten said Thursday that she's ready for the rigors of another campaign.

Kasten, 79, won the Republican nomination to replace Nathan Cooper in the Feb. 5 special election. Cooper, a Republican, resigned his seat Aug. 14 in the wake of pleading guilty to two federal felony counts.

"I can do whatever it takes," Kasten said after the votes were counted. "And I've got a lot of offers to help."

Kasten will face Democratic nominee Mike Keefe, the former Cape Girardeau postmaster, and Libertarian George Webster, who works in health-care information technology, in the election.

Independent candidates wishing to enter the race have until Nov. 15 to submit petitions with 239 signatures from registered voters of the district in order to be on the ballot.

The 158th District Republican Legislative Committee met at Dexter Bar-B-Que to select the nominee, with 17 of the 18 members present.

Kasten stepped forward as a candidate this week, following the withdrawal of former Air Force Lt. Col. Wayne Wallingford and former J.C. Penney manager Harry Rediger. A third, mortgage and real estate broker Gary Lange, withdrew when Kasten announced her intention to run.

A fourth rival, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Clinton Tracy, who is on his way home from a deployment in Iraq, was represented at the meeting by his wife, Carrie Tracy, and his mother, Cape Girardeau Councilwoman Debra Tracy.

The committee's split on the nomination vote between Kasten and Tracy was not announced.

Committee member Morley Swingle, the Cape Girardeau County prosecutor, said he's pleased with the choice.

"Mary Kasten is the antidote to blind ambition," Swingle said. "She is the perfect candidate."

Kasten first won election to the Missouri House in 1982. She held the seat for 18 years, declining to run for re-election in 2000 when her late husband, Dr. Melvin Kasten, became severely ill.

Kasten was close politically to Cooper, serving as his campaign treasurer during his first race for office in 2004.

Under Missouri's term limits, Kasten is eligible to serve the remainder of Cooper's term and, if she chooses, seek one more term in the Missouri House. The term limits provision of the state constitution was passed in 1992 and took effect for candidates elected in 1994.

Before the vote, Carrie Tracy made a pitch for her husband. Clinton Tracy is in the Naval Reserve and was called to active duty. He is general manager of the family's Timberline International Forest Products. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

"He has a heart for the people of this community," Carrie Tracy said. "That is why we chose to come back after Clinton was in active duty in the military."

Kasten promised to follow the path she took previously in office, working to make Missouri a good place to do business, strengthen the education system, transportation and to make public assistance programs encourage work over welfare.

"We all have a really hard job to get out there and win because we know the other side is determined to take this seat," Kasten said.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126


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It's a shame Thad Bullock is no longer living. If he were still here, he'd could throw his hat into the circus ring that this election has become.

-- Posted by QT-PIE on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 7:21 AM

At least she's honest! I always voted for Thad. If he ever was elected, everybody in the whole world would know where Southeast Missouri was.

-- Posted by Seadog on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 8:09 AM

I think that the whole thing is pitiful. I hope that we hear more from Tracy in the future. He should have won, but that would be "fair" and we all know that this vote wasn't fair!

-- Posted by rusure on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 9:05 AM

Such a colossal mistake to snub Tracy. If Kasten can win this race, she must refile for the next election cycle shortly after she gets to Jefferson City. Assuming she would win that next one she is done for sure due to term limits and the district is again looking for a solid representative. If they had given the nod to Lt Cmdr Tracy he, and the party would probably have had a solid lock on the seat for the next eight years and we would have a representative capable of advancing within the legislature leadership to do more for the district.

My only guesses for the committee member's selection, foolish sentimentality for an old friend or a desire for a rubber stamp to whatever the party leaders tell Kasten to do, denying the district a real voice in the capital.

-- Posted by Tom_Grey on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 10:38 AM

Maybe Pete Frazier will run in 2008.

-- Posted by MAM on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 12:48 PM

How does she dodge the term limits rule?

-- Posted by TheCamp on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 2:52 PM

Would it not be great if there were no political parties? All these candidates could share their own ideas and we could vote for the person we feel will be the best rep for us. Now we have a hand picked rep who will surely follow her party's line and all these make-believe republicans will vote for her.

-- Posted by dscheeter on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 3:14 PM

Would it not be great if there were no political parties? All these candidates could share their own ideas and we could vote for the person we feel will be the best rep for us. Now we have a hand picked rep who will surely follow her party's line and all these make-believe republicans will vote for her.

-- Posted by dscheeter on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 3:27 PM

Go Mary. At your age you are twice as good as anyone i know.

-- Posted by semolover on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 4:13 PM

Mike Keefe? He was the head postmaster. Do you really think that someone in charge of the post office debacle should be in our government?

-- Posted by cal on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 4:24 PM

Same old SEMO....this must be a joke!

Come on Mrs.Kasten winter somewhere else!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 4:33 PM

Wonder what it's going to take to get Emerson and Kinder out? Then we can progress as a state.

-- Posted by rusure on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 4:59 PM

She can serve out the remainder of this term, and if she successful seeks to do so, she can serve out the next one as well. This is because the MO Constitution doesn't count against candidate for any time already served, or time being served, when the Section was created:

Art. 8, 16 (a). No person shall serve for more than three terms, but upon ratification of this amendment no person who has held the office or who then holds the office shall serve for more than two additional terms.

-- Posted by OlderEagle on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 10:40 PM
Response by Rudi Keller:
Older Eagle: You are right that if Kasten wins the election, she can serve the remainder of the term and, because she stepped aside before completing her allowed time in office, serve another full term. But your citation from the Missouri Constitution is from the portion where the state's citizens attempted to impose term limits on members of Congress from the state, a provision that was ruled to violate the U.S. Constitution.

The correct citation for state legislative term limits is Article 3, Section 8, which states:

No one shall be elected to serve more than eight years total in any one house of the General Assembly nor more than sixteen years total in both houses of the General Assembly. In applying this section, service in the General Assembly resulting from an election prior to December 3, 1992, or service of less than one year, in the case of a member of the house of representatives, or two years, in the case of a member of the senate, by a person elected after the effective date of this section to complete the term of another person, shall not be counted.

Hey, there's always the Tracy write-in vote.

-- Posted by nuit_de_trois_chiens on Sat, Sep 22, 2007, at 12:24 PM


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