Contested primaries in most statewide races

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- For just the second time since incumbent governors became eligible for re-election in the 1960s, a sitting Missouri chief executive is facing a credible threat in the party primary.

Gov. Bob Holden, who had the bad luck of taking office just as Missouri's economy turned from boom to bust and also witnessed the Republican takeover of the Missouri Legislature on his watch, is in a closely watched battle for the Democratic nomination with State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who claims Holden has been ineffective as governor.

A potential wild card in the Aug. 3 primary is Cole County Auditor Jim LePage, an economics professor at Lincoln University and former director of the Department of Revenue. LePage, who touts himself as the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate opposed to abortion rights, is considered a longshot but could siphon enough of the vote to influence the outcome of a close race between the top two contenders.

Little-known Jeffery Emrick of suburban Kansas City is also seeking the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, Secretary of State Matt Blunt is viewed as the heavy favorite for his party's nomination for governor. Two Jackson residents are also running -- Jennie Lee Sievers and Jeff Killian. The other hopefuls are Karen Lee Dee Skelton-Memhardt of Wildwood, Martin Lindstedt of Granby and Roy Lang of Davisville.

Randall Langkraeher of Warrensburg and John Swenson of Kirbyville are running on the Libertarian ticket.

The lieutenant governor's race features Cape Girardeau residents on both major party ballots. After a four-year absence from politics, former Secretary of State Bekki Cook goes up against Senate Minority Floor Leader Ken Jacob of Columbia for the Democratic nomination. Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder and former state Rep. Pat Secrest of Manchester are the Republican entries.

There are no contested primaries for secretary of state with Democrat Robin Carnahan of St. Louis and Republican House Speaker Catherine Hanaway of Warson Woods assured to go head-to-head in the November general election.

On the other end of the scale in terms of candidate interest are the primaries for state treasurer, which feature seven Republicans and three Democrats.

The Democrats are Jason Klumb of Butler, a lawyer and former state representative; Arnold Mayor Mark Powell; and state Rep. Mark Abel of Festus.

The Republicans are former state representative and general contractor Chet Boeke of St. Charles, Al Hanson of Concordia, investment banker William Pundman of St. Charles, catering company owner Tom Klein of St. Louis, state Sen. Sarah Steelman of Rolla, state Sen. Anita Yeckel of St. Louis and state Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of St. Elizabeth.

Republicans Chris Byrd of Kansas City and Dewey Crepeau of Columbia are seeking the right to challenge Attorney General Jay Nixon, who has no Democratic primary foe, in November.

mpowers@semissourian.com

(573) 635-4608

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