It's politics, and Jason Crowell can't just sit on the sidelines.
Only a few hours had passed Wednesday between the time the former state senator from Cape Girardeau officially left office and an announcement that he will seek a nomination that could land him a job as Southeast Missouri's next representative in Congress.
Coming off a 12-year run as a member of the state legislature, Crowell previously told the Southeast Missourian he was finished with public life -- that he would not run for office again. But in a letter sent Wednesday to members of a Republican committee that will nominate a candidate to run in a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, Crowell wrote "Washington, D.C. is starved for common sense conservative principled leadership," and "leaders that will put principle above personal popularity."
"Life and circumstances," are reasons Crowell changed his mind, he said during a phone interview Wednesday, adding it was not a decision that he and his wife came to lightly.
"After looking at the need, we came to the conclusion that what is greatly needed is somebody who has been tested. Someone whose steel has been forged in these battles on wasteful spending," he said.
Crowell, 40, served in the Senate until term-limited out this year. He began a career in the general assembly in 2000 when he was elected to the Missouri House. During his time there, he said Wednesday, he saw no other legislator do more to cut spending and stand their ground to vote based on principle.
Crowell was well-known for his sometimes unorthodox debate and filibustering skill, but he said his tactics equal a record that he looks forward to sharing with committee members as he seeks the nomination.
"I think it's important that we send a conservative in action [to Congress], not a conservative during election time," he said.
Crowell plans to participate in candidate forums in Salem, Mo., tonight and in Cape Girardeau next week. The Republican committee will vote during a February meeting in Van Buren, Mo., to nominate a candidate.
A slew of Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith and former Congressman Wendell Bailey have announced their intent to seek the nomination. Others -- state Rep. Todd Richardson and Missouri Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith -- have floated their names as possible candidates. Committee members have a list of 17 people and expect a majority of those to speak at the forums.
Democrats will nominate their own candidate through a similar process.
Emerson announced in December she plans to leave Congress to take a job as president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, an organization that represents rural cooperatives and public power districts.
Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Van Buren, Mo.