Democrat Steve Hodges, a state representative from East Prairie, Mo., announced Tuesday an endorsement of his bid for Congress from Gov. Jay Nixon, while Republican Jason Smith's campaign sent word Wednesday of an endorsement by former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Smith, of Salem, Mo., is the speaker pro tem in the Missouri House of Representatives.
A release from Hodges' campaign quoted Nixon as saying Hodges "would bring some small town, conservative values to the halls of Congress. In Jefferson City, Steve has worked with me, and with Republican legislators, to improve our state's economy by balancing the state budget without raising taxes -- something Washington needs badly."
Hodges' release also asked for campaign contributions. The latest quarterly reports from April 15 on file with the Federal Ethics Commission show Hodges trailing Smith in fundraising. Smith brought in $309,606 during the period from Jan. 1 to March 31 while Hodges raised $120,773.
Palin's endorsement of Smith also included a statement.
"Jason has worked tirelessly to build on the foundation of his humble beginnings and is a responsible and respected leader in the Show Me State," Palin said in the release. "In Washington D.C., Jason will maintain that innate sense of his community and will bring his common sense conservatism to the halls of Congress. Jason recognizes that government is the problem, not the solution. He will protect our Second Amendment rights and work to promote a culture of life."
Hodges and Smith were nominated by congressional committees of their respective parties in February. Both candidates are platforming as conservatives.
Smith's campaign also has announced endorsements from large business, right-to-life, farming and pro-gun organizations and groups, all of Missouri's current Republican members of Congress, Republicans Sen. Roy Blunt, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Auditor Tom Schweich. Hodges has received endorsement from Attorney General Chris Koster, Secretary of State Jason Kander and Treasurer Clint Zweifel, all of whom are Democrats. Hodges has received many group endorsements in past campaigns for the Missouri House, including those from the National Rifle Association and Missouri Right to Life.
Also running for the congressional seat vacated in January by Republican Jo Ann Emerson are Constitution Party candidate Doug Enyart, Libertarian Bill Slantz and two-write in candidates, Thomas W. Brown and Dr. Robert George.
The special election will be June 4.