Rules set for GOP 8th District nominee voting

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A rules committee has determined how the Republican 8th District Congressional Committee will choose a nominee for the special election to replace Rep. Jo Ann Emerson.

The rules committee is made up of five members of the Congressional Committee: Bob Green of Texas County, Jeff Shawan of Butler County, David Courtway of Jefferson County, Mary Stubblefield of Crawford County and Wayne Bowen of Cape Girardeau County. Bowen is a Southeast Missourian columnist

"These rules are being released ahead of time in order to make sure that our meeting runs smoothly and is fair and transparent," said Eddy Justice of Poplar Bluff, Mo., chairman of the Republican congressional district committee.

"The date and time of the meeting are not set yet because the seat is not officially vacant and the secretary of state's office has not officially notified me, as is required under Missouri Revised Statue 115.369," Justice said. "Once that notification is received, the committee will be notified of the official time and place of the nomination meeting."

Justice said the vote will take place in a meeting that will be open to the public, and he emphasized Friday his commitment to keeping the process transparent.

Emerson has announced she will resign but has not set the date for vacating office.

Justice detailed the rules:

* Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition, will govern the meeting unless they are in conflict with the Rules of Missouri Revised Statutes or the rules agreed to by the committee. All decisions by the parliamentarian are final.

* Eligible voters for the nomination meeting include the duly elected chair and vice chair of each county Republican committee, and the chair and vice chair of each Republican legislative committee located in whole or in part in the 8th Congressional District. Each position listed has a vote to cast if the person holding that position is present.

* Nominations of a candidate may not exceed one minute. No second will be necessary and a committee member may nominate only one candidate. After the floor has been closed to nominations, each candidate -- in the order they were nominated -- will be allowed to address the committee for up to three minutes.

* After a vote is taken, if no candidate has received the Missouri Revised Statute-required 50 percent-plus-one-vote minimum needed to receive the nomination, the candidate receiving the fewest number of votes will be eliminated from the nomination process and a new vote will be taken. If there is a tie between two or more candidates for fewest votes, and that tie is two votes or fewer per candidate, all tying candidates are eliminated from consideration. If the total vote for each candidate tied is three votes or more, a new election will be held without a candidate having been eliminated. Any candidate who fails to get a vote during any elections will be eliminated, in addition to the candidate who receives the fewest votes. After a vote has been taken, and if no candidate has received the required majority, any current candidate or committee member may request that the body stand at ease for up to 5 minutes. If no request is made, the meeting will proceed.

Justice on Friday visited Cape Girardeau where he attended monthly meetings of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cape County Republican Women's Club. He spoke about the committee's selection process and timeline.

"I will say at this point, we have no plans to let grass grow under our feet," Justice said, referring to how soon the meeting to vote for a nominee will be scheduled once the committee receives word of a vacancy from the secretary of state.

He informed attendees of the womens' club luncheon that "proxys are not allowed," meaning committee members will have to show up in person to the nomination meeting in order to cast a vote. Voting for nominees will be by secret ballot. Justice encouraged those he spoke to in Cape Girardeau to contact committee members and share their opinions of candidates, which he said will allow committee members to make the most well-informed choice.

The meeting to select a nominee, when the date is set, will be at the River Centre at the Landing in Van Buren, Mo., because of that banquet hall's proximity to the center of the 8th District, Justice said.

Staff writer Erin Ragan contributed to this report.

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