Strong turnout may turn candidates picnic into annual event

Sunday, July 22, 2012
Attendees say the "Pledge of Allegiance" at the Southeast Missouri Pachyderm Club's first "Meet the Candidates" picnic Saturday, July 21, at Cape County Park North. Attendees had the opportunity to mingle with Republican candidates and listen to them speak at the event. (ADAM VOGLER)

Editor's note: This story originally reported that Democrat Jerry Reynolds, the Cape Girardeau County Assessor, attended the picnic. Reynolds did not attend. The Southeast Missourian regrets the error, which has been removed from the online report.

A pack of Republican candidates made Cape County Park a stop Saturday on the campaign trail during one of the final weekends leading up to August's primary election.

Organizers of the Southeast Missouri Pachyderms' "Meet the Candidates" picnic said the turnout for the event may prompt them to hold it annually. Around 200 people, including candidates, their families and friends and campaign staff attended the picnic, which featured introductions of each candidate. Candidates for statewide office were allotted four minutes each to address the crowd while local candidates were given 30 seconds.

State Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Bolivar, and state Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, both candidates looking to unseat Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, spoke on platforms of running accurate elections.

Several candidates campaigning elsewhere in the state, including U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, sent representatives of their campaigns to the event. Emerson challenger Bob Parker attended and spoke briefly, as did gubernatorial candidate Fred Sauer. Bev Randles, wife of Bill Randles, another candidate for governor, represented him at the event, as he was campaigning in another part of the state.

Missouri House of Representatives members Ellen Brandom and Wayne Wallingford, both candidates for Missouri Senate, attended, as did Donna Lichtenegger, who is looking to retain her seat in the 146th District, and her challengers, Van Hitt and Gerald Adams. Neal Boyd, a candidate for the 149th District, also attended.

Charlie Herbst and Moe Sandfort, candidates for Cape Girardeau County District 2 commissioner, were joined by other county office seekers, including all three candidates for assessor, Amy Jones, Ron Andrews and Bob Adams, and six of the 13 Republican candidates for public administrator, Lisa Reitzel, Helen Jackson, Kim Kelley, Julie Metzger, Janet Niedbalski and Mary Ann Friese.

Cape Girardeau resident Terry Delacruz said he attended the event to "hear what conservatives have to say," and to see who is "most in touch with his beliefs."

Delacruz, who said he and his sister were adopted from Brazil at a young age into a family full of military service members and veterans, said he believes it is a good idea for people who represent minorites to attend public forums to hear candidates, and that he believes the Republican Party can get the country back on track if voters carefully choose who will represent them.

Holly Lintner, executive director of the National Federation of Pachyderm Clubs, said the event drew more interest from the public in general than expected, which was represented by the number of people in attendance.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

Cape County Park North, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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