Democrats keep 8th District plans a secret - for now

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Democrats who will choose a candidate to run in a special election for Missouri's 8th Congressional District seat are laying low as they vet possibilities, but a committee has been meeting with several potential nominees.

Committee members met in Poplar Bluff, Mo., on Thursday to discuss potential candidates and are expected to meet again in Farmington, Mo., sometime in the next week, said Jack Rushin, a Democrat who challenged U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in the November general election. Emerson announced in December she soon will leave Congress to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Since then, 17 Republicans and several Democrats have made appeals to members of their parties' committees for the chance to run in a special election.

Democratic committee chairman Art Cole has not been reachable by phone or email for details of the committee's selection process or a list of potential nominees, but Rushin and a spokesman for Todd Mahn, a De Soto, Mo., businessman who has expressed interest in receiving a nomination from Democrats, on Tuesday said committee members have been meeting with candidates.

Mike Masterson, a member of the district committee and chairman of the Cape Girardeau County committee, does not expect word from the party's 8th District committee about those under consideration until Emerson officially resigns. He said Democrats want to keep things mostly under wraps until that time.

Rushin is not a member of the committee, but he has shown some interest in the nomination. He backed up Masterson's take on the situation Tuesday.

"Some of them like to do stuff close to their vest," Rushin said of committee members. "That's their nature."

Chuck Banks, Mahn's spokesman, said Mahn is the only potential nominee to officially declare his interest thus far. Mahn also has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

Mahn has met with committee members in Jefferson County, located in the northernmost part of the district. Banks believes Mahn has drawn a good response from committee members.

"Todd's a very conservative Democrat, and people will see how he fits this district well," Banks said.

Mahn filed to run as a Democrat in the 2012 contest for the 8th District, but he dropped out before the August primary.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, MO

Farmington, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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