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8th District hopefuls to face public in January forums

Sunday, December 23, 2012

(Photo)
Wendell Bailey
Two upcoming forums in the 8th Congressional District will feature a large field of Republicans vying for a committee's nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson.

The first forum will be Jan. 10 at the Salem, Mo., city hall. The second will be Jan. 17 at the Concourse building in Cape Girardeau. The Southeast Missouri Pachyderm Club will host the Cape Girardeau event, which begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, who soon will begin a 10th term in Congress representing the 8th District, announced in early December she will resign to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Since then, many Republicans and a few Democrats have expressed interest in becoming nominees to run in a special election that will determine Emerson's replacement. Members of Republican and Democratic committees in the district will vote to select nominees after Emerson officially leaves office.

Holly Lintner, vice chairwoman of the Republican's 8th District committee and a member of the Pachyderm Club, said participants will be asked to give opening statements at the Cape Girardeau forum and are expected to answer questions from club members.

Invitations are being sent to 17 people who have expressed a definite interest in the nomination.

Committee members are a part of a waiting game until Emerson's resignation is official.

"Everything is pretty much liquid right now," said Eddy Justice, chairman of the committee. "It's just [the committee's] job to determine who the nominee is."

Uncertainty surrounds the date of a special election to replace Emerson. Gov. Jay Nixon can select a date after he receives notice of her resignation. The secretary of state also contacts committee heads upon the resignation to notify them of a vacancy. The committees then will hold meetings to select their nominees.

When Emerson announced plans to leave Congress, she said she would resign Feb. 8, but has since suggested she might move the date up so a special election can be held as soon as possible.

"I am willing to move the date so that there is no excuse with not doing the election in concert with municipal elections, and in which case we would be able to save a lot of money," she said in a phone interview last week.

Emerson said the date could be during the last couple of weeks in January, but that would depend on what action she needs to take as a member of Congress. She wants to be sure she can vote on several issues, including those related to the fiscal cliff and a farm bill, she said.

Emerson's spokesman and chief of staff, Jeffrey Connor, said no updates on a possible revised resignation date were available Friday.

Earlier this month, the secretary of state's office estimated a special election would cost $952,000. Combining a special election with municipal elections could reduce the cost.

While there is a large interest in the nomination from Republicans, Justice said the role of the committee will not include an attempt to narrow the field.

"My first mission and responsibility in this is to make sure that the process is smooth, fair and transparent," he said. "I think if we do anything to narrow or to limit people from being nominated, then we are taking too much control of the process."

The committee still has some identifying details to work out on some candidates who only recently have announced their interest. A list of potential candidates provided by the committee Friday included well-known names -- current officeholders at the state and local levels -- along with several who need to be contacted for more information, according to Lintner. Two potential nominees, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan and Justice, have decided not to seek the nomination.

Wendell Bailey, a former Congressman, formally announced Friday he is seeking the nomination. He spent the day touring the district, contacting media along the way.

Bailey said he is interested in replacing Emerson only until her next term expires in November 2014, which he said he believes will help the Republican Party by allowing voters to choose the candidate in a primary to be held in August 2014.

"I'm trying to get them to take a different approach," he said. "I'm saying, let the people decide."

Bailey sees the replacement for Emerson as especially important because he believes whoever wins the seat in 2014 will remain there for a long time. Emerson's late husband Bill held the seat from 1980 until his death in 1995. Jo Ann Emerson began her first term in Congress in 1996 after a special election.

Soon after Emerson said she would resign, State Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, announced he would be seeking the nomination.

Democrats have not yet scheduled any forum events or meetings, according to local committee members. Two Democrats have expressed interest in seeking the nomination -- Jack Rushin, a chiropractor from Poplar Bluff who lost to Emerson in the November election, and Todd Mahn, a businessman from Festus, Mo.

Art Cole, chairman of the Democrat's congressional committee, could not be reached by phone Friday.

eragan@semissourian.com

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Speaking for myself, I think that it's pretty hard to treat the need to save $900,000 with any seriousness whatsoever.

In our current reality, things like a $500 BILLION farm bill are being bandied about. Just approximating the number of Congressional representatives at 500 (instead of 435) for the sake of easing the calculation, that's $1 billion dollars per Congressperson. This is just the farm bill---the federal government spends on the order of several TRILLION every year. Why are we rushing this decision about the ballot nominees, in order to save $1 million? Seriously, when the record shows things like voting for the first $350 billion installment of TARP, it really seems like small potatoes.

The district is prone to vote heavily Republican. Therefore, whoever is nominated by the Republicans will win the special election--probably even Lucifer himself could win, if he had an "R" behind his name.

Oh, well, it's probably already a "done deal"---Mrs. Emerson and her crew probably have the candidate for the Republican side of the ticket already picked out, and votes lined up. Let the disenfranchisement begin.

-- Posted by Givemeliberty on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 8:10 AM

Save the million dollar election and crown someone repub king pin. Thanks Jo Ann.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 8:34 AM

Clint Tracy? It would be great to get him off of the Cape County commission. But to give him a higher office is very scary, Look what he is doing to our county taxes and he wants to be a state rep!

-- Posted by DDparent on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 11:16 AM

The bitterness of posts saying the result is predetermined is evidence of those unwilling to stand up and be part of the solution. Crying a river never solved a problem. Jealousy of the hard work and organization of others is unattractive and childish at best.

-- Posted by bionicrotor on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 11:29 AM

bionicrotor,

Are you sure that you know who is or is not part of the solution?

"Hard work" and "organization"---please explain. Some are involved in Republican machine politics, some are privileged to be able to observe the workings of the machine, and some are neither.

-- Posted by Givemeliberty on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 11:34 AM

There is a process in place under Missouri Law to replace an exiting congressperson. That process dictates who can vote for the nominee. If it were prearranged there would be no need for these independent individuals who have done the hard work and organizations to be in the position to vote in the first place.

Yelling and general pot stirring is not being part of the solution if it is not translated and transformed into productive difference making that actually gets people elected and changes things. In our system, party involvement is what can make that difference.

If you dont agree with a party, join the other one. If you think a party should change, take the steps necessary to be part of that party and then do what you have to to change it.

There are way to many spectators that think they know so much but for some reason dont take the initiative to use the knowledge they think they have to actually make a difference in the way things are.

Observing the workings of the machine but not doing anything to fix what may be the problems is just noise and is civicly irresponsible.

-- Posted by bionicrotor on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 11:52 AM

bionicrotor,

I've read the pertinent sections of RSMo 115.

Have you?

There is a body of law that would need to be changed, so that a Congressional vacancy in Missouri would not trigger a process of vetting candidates measured only in weeks. Meanwhile, however, the person able to maneuver best into the seat may ascend to the rarified atmosphere of Congress, to wield power for two years. Two years is a very long time, during which many decisions can be made, some of which can be catastrophic. I'm thinking, as an example, of the decision Mrs. Emerson made to vote for TARP without reading it, after the 100 page bill became 400 pages in early October 2008. There were two votes occurring over a week. The cumulative "yes" votes (H.R. 1424, 10/3/08)--hers included--cost our country $350 Billion, not to mention what it cost in terms of precedent.

So do you understand this idea, that the law is complex and ready for exploitation? This abbreviated campaign, enabled by Mrs. Emerson's retaining but then vacating the seat, allows the advancement of someone into this powerful position where a lot of damage that can be done, without imposing on them the usual requirements of the more prolonged and exacting campaigning and fund raising.

May I also add, that "changing the party" includes shining a light on some of the facts of situations like this, so that the public can be a little better educated about the state of affairs, and have a little incentive to participate in making things better.

-- Posted by Givemeliberty on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 4:36 PM

Liberty, while you're reading up on Revised Missouri Statutes, you might also read about what would have happened if TARP hadn't been enacted; how about a run on America's banks? I don't like how TARP was forced upon all the banks, pretty much other than BofA, Citi and AEG, but Uncle Sam didn't want the biggest of the big to "look bad." BofA alone held 10% of all them money on deposit in the US. If I were JoAnn, I would have voted for it too. (And so would you.)

-- Posted by JungleJim on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 10:13 PM

Wendell Bailey was elected to the House in 1980, the year Bill Emerson defeated Bill Burlison. He lost his seat two years later when Missouri lost a seat in Congress and later became MO state treasurer. I generally had a positive recollection of Bailey, but I do remember he was "pro choice" on the abortion issue, so that's one thing he needs to be questioned on at the forums. While there have been a lot of good candidates mentioned, I think that, due to their name recognition throughout the entire 8th district, only Peter Kinder, Sarah Steelman, Lloyd Smith and Bailey, and perhaps Jason Crowell, have a legitimate chance at the nomination.

-- Posted by tom on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 12:22 AM

JungleJim,

The Federal government giving money that it doesn't have to banks that are "too big to fail" would not be covered in the statutes of the state of Missouri.

Government giving the wealth of others to a failing business "socializes" the risk, that is, spreads risk out over those who have no power to make any decisions, instead of leaving that risk with the decision makers, where it would properly influence their behavior. Actions must have consequences.

I would not have voted for TARP. But on the other hand, I would not have been in a position to do so, because I would not have bought enough votes with the wealth of others to attain office!

-- Posted by Givemeliberty on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 12:57 AM

I did phone (and local door-to-door) polling for Republicans a few months ago. I heard many voters indicate otherwise staunch Democrat choices yet easily choose "JoAnn" for Congress. New candidates should not forget this.

No, this isn't automatically a big Republican district. JoAnn and husband caught the respect of many voters.

-- Posted by fkeller on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 8:38 AM

Givemeliberty, you speak of educating the public. We live in a time of unprecedented access to information, both in scope an expediency, yet a small minority of Americans, even those who vote, can even tell you who represents them in Congress (let alone the state house and lower down the list). The public is willfully uninformed and I don't think it wise to dumb down the system to accommodate them.

Second, as one who works within the political parties, the grass roots wield considerable power, easily able to overcome any concerted efforts on behalf of the so-called "establishment."

-- Posted by Mark Rutledge on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 8:44 AM

M.R.,

The people need education if they are to cast responsible votes in the ballot box. If they do not understand where wealth comes from, for example--and by this I mean the idea that government creates no wealth--they will continue to install the politician who will give them the largest bequest of money legally plundered (in the words of Bastiat) from others, or worse, printed from thin air on paper. (This is essentially what "stimulus" does--the Fed buys T-bonds, the U.S. Treasury pays the state, who pays the new road crew.)

I would never advocate for dumbing down the system to accommodate the willfully ignorant. Read what a Harvard economist (who has hidden his candle under a basket for 50 years, I suspect the better to collect his paycheck and benefits) named Harvey Mansfield said in an article in the December 1 & 2 edition of the WSJ:

"Social scientists and political scientists were very much involved in the foundation of the progressive movement. What those experts did was find ways to improve the well-being of the poor, the incompetent, all those who have the right to vote but can't quite govern their own lives."

So people who are unable to keep a job, stay married, avoid procreating when they can't afford children---all the things that solvent people struggle every minute of every day to do---that is, who "can't quite govern their own lives"---still vote.

I still say education is key. But there's a lot of it to do.

-- Posted by Givemeliberty on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 9:15 AM

The fact is Republicans have to pick the best person to represent Southeast Missouri..No matter your feelings about Jo Ann leaving for a another opportunity.

In my mind the one person who would represent the area best is the person who knows the district and its people best. That would be Lloyd Smith, hands down. A conservative who understands the area, the issues and the people.

Lloyd understands the process and has the respect of a lot of people in the region. In my opinion he has the knowledge and understanding to be effective at this most critical time.

-- Posted by smcpheeters on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 8:00 PM

There is no way that Emerson was undecided about her resignation plan before the republican primary and certainly not before the general election. Her manipulation of the election process has resulted in removing the right of the voters to choose their representative. Instead, a select few of the establishment republican party will make that choice with little or no input from the people of Missouri's 8th district. It is also my understanding that the voting will be kept secret so that no one will know who voted for which candidate. To say that anyone who does not like this sort of back room politics should become part of the system is to say that voting itself is irrelevant and could be done away with in favor of party appointments for all future elections.

-- Posted by Audit The Fed on Mon, Dec 24, 2012, at 9:35 AM

I don't think anyone currently holding state office should be in the running. If someone, let's say Richardson, is given the nomination, won't we then need another special election? That's just crazy!

-- Posted by Lettie on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 6:03 PM


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Potential nominees
Republicans

Wendell Bailey

Dan Brown

Jason Crowell

Kevin Engler

Peter Kinder

Scott Lipke

Bob Parker

Todd Richardson

Jason Smith

Lloyd Smith

Pedro Sotelo

Sarah Steelman

Clint Tracy

John Tyrrell

Wayne Wallingford

Jeffrey Ward

Allen Woods

Source: 8th District Congressional Committee

Democrat

Jack Rushin

Todd Mahn

Source: Rushin, Mahn

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