Billy Pat Wright mulling bid for state Senate; Terry Swinger declares candidacy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Rep. Terry Swinger

Rep. Billy Pat Wright, R-Dexter, is seriously considering it.

Rep. Terry Swinger, D-Caruthersville, is in for sure.

Wright acknowledged Monday he is mulling a bid for Rob Mayer's 25th District state Senate seat next year. That conversation came on the same day that Swinger officially announced his candidacy for the seat, formalizing a decision he has made no secret of for more than two years.

Both Wright, 73, and Swinger, 70, are losing their House seats to term limits in 2012, as will Mayer, the Dexter Republican who serves as the Senate's president pro tem.

But Wright and Swinger said Monday they want to continue their careers in public service, and both are perceived as early front-runners to end up on the ballot for their parties.

Rep. Billy Pat Wright

"I'm exploring it right now. I'm just looking at it," said Wright, whose 159th District covers the western parts of Cape Girardeau County, a portion of Wayne County and most of Stoddard County.

Wright said he expects to make a decision sometime before April, depending upon if any other strong candidates emerge from within the 25th Senate District, which covers Butler, Dunklin, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Ripley, Stoddard and Wayne counties. Wright also wants to see how the redistricting issue shakes out to see what the districts will look like.

"There are a lot of factors," he said. "But I want to continue serving the constituents. I know the issues that are important in Southeast Missouri, whether it's agriculture, education or jobs."

Wright said if he does run, he would commit fully, likening it to attaching to a wagon.

"If I hook up to the wagon, I'd pull it as long and as hard as I could," he said.

Mayer seems to be supportive of Wright's efforts, at least to some degree. Commenting through a released statement Monday, Mayer said: "Representative Wright is a productive lawmaker who represents his district well. I believe he would be a viable candidate for state Senate."

Swinger isn't deterred, however.

Swinger represents District 162, which includes the counties of Dunklin, Pemiscot and New Madrid. Swinger said he wants to continue helping his constituents, especially in the areas of agriculture and veterans affairs. He prides himself, he said, on constituent services.

"A lot of people have difficulty knowing where to turn when they have an issue," he said. "My goal is to do everything I can to help. If I do not find a successful resolution to the problem, I want the constituent to know I made every effort to be helpful."


Pertinent address:

Jefferson City, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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