Two from GOP set to file for 158th seat

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Two Republicans will file today for the 158th District Missouri House seat, setting up an August primary for the legislative seat representing Cape Girardeau.

But the Democrat who challenged Mary Kasten in the Feb. 5 special election, expressing a revulsion over Kasten's decision not to seek a full term and some of the last-minute tactics used in the election, said he's not certain he will make another bid. Mike Keefe, a former Cape Girardeau postmaster, captured about 44 percent of the vote.

Kasten, a Republican, will fill out the remaining 10 months of the current term but announced over the weekend that she would not seek a full two-year term. A former lawmaker first elected in 1982, Kasten is eligible for one more term in the House under state term limits.

Kasten's decision, which came before she had been sworn in to the legislative seat, showed that she never intended to do more than hold the seat for the GOP, Keefe said. "I don't know if the citizens of Cape Girardeau want someone who is going to represent everybody or someone who is just going to represent the status quo," Keefe said.

Jeff Glenn, who held the post of district director for then-U.S. senator Jim Talent and was deputy director of the Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation for six weeks last fall, announced Monday that he would seek the job.

Wayne Wallingford, director of human resources for McDonald's of Southeast Missouri, also said he will run. Wallingford sought the Republican nomination for the 158th District last fall after Nathan Cooper resigned the post following his guilty plea on federal immigration fraud charges. Wallingford seemingly had the support of members of the nominating committee when issues arose about his eligibility to serve at that time.

Glenn moved his family to Jefferson City in January 2007 to take a job in the Missouri Department of Revenue. He switched to the workers' compensation division in September, but returned to Cape Girardeau in October with the 158th District race in his sights, he said.

The Missouri Constitution requires that candidates for state representative be a registered voter in the legislative district for at least one year by the day before the election. By moving back to Cape Girardeau in October and registering to vote immediately, Glenn satisfied the requirement for this year's contest.

Since returning, Glenn has worked for the Delta Companies Inc., a major highway contractor with headquarters in Cape Girardeau. When he announced his candidacy Monday at the Osage Community Centre, Glenn emphasized the need to find large amounts of new revenue for road building and other transportation needs.

He did not commit himself to supporting a tax increase for road needs, but said the projections for available funds merit close attention. "I think we have got a looming crisis on the horizon," Glenn said.

Glenn holds a bachelor's degree in general studies and a master's degree in public administration from Southeast Missouri State University. He is 38 and originally from New Madrid, Mo. He has two school-age sons and is married to Tracey Glenn, former spokeswoman for Cape Girardeau and now a staff member at the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce. Glenn, originally from New Madrid, moved to Cape Girardeau in 1995.

In his news release announcing his candidacy, Wallingford said he would rely on his experience as an U.S. Air Force officer, in business and in civic organizations to propel his effort.

In a telephone interview while he was on his way to Jefferson City to file for the office, Wallingford emphasized his maturity. "I believe I have the strong background, honesty, courage and ability," he said. "That will go a long way to appeal to the voters if they do their research like I hope they do."

Wallingford is a native of Geneva, Ill. He moved to Cape Girardeau most recently in October 2004. He previously lived in Cape Girardeau from 1985 to 1989, when he commanded the Air Force ROTC detachment at Southeast Missouri State University. He was also a professor of aerospace science.

Wallingford flew more than 300 combat missions in Vietnam and was the electronics warfare officer on a B-52. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Following his military career, he went to work for PepsiCo as a manager of multiple Taco Bell restaurants and retired from the company as leader of a 16-state training department. He returned to Cape Girardeau to work for his son-in-law Shannon Davis, owner of 11 McDonald's restaurants in the region.

Clint Tracy of Timeberline International Forest Products Inc. also sought the nomination from the GOP in September. He could not be reached for comments on his plans.

335-6611, extension 126

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