Democrat Burlison to run for Missouri House in '14

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Bill Burlison

Former Missouri congressman Bill Burlison is making a third attempt at rejoining the political world in a run for the Missouri House of Representatives.

Burlison, a Democrat from Wardell, Mo., was canvassing for the 2014 election Wednesday and not immediately available for comment, though his wife confirmed he is seeking the House seat held by Rep. Steve Hodges, a Democrat from East Prairie, Mo. Hodges faces term limits in the November 2014 election.

Burlison is running this time around in a different geographical area than he did in 2008 and 2010, when he made unsuccessful bids for the 159th House District seat against Billy Pat Wright, a Republican.

The 159th District no longer covers the same area because of redrawing of district boundary lines in 2011. Most of the former district is in the 151st District, which is represented by Dennis Fowler, R-Advance.

Burlison also moved from Advance to his birthplace of Wardell, which places him in the 149th District. The district covers a significant portion of Mississippi County, a small area of Scott County (including about half of Sikeston, Mo.), all of New Madrid County and the northern part of Pemiscot County.

Burlison, 82, served in the U.S. House of Representatives in Missouri's 10th Congressional District from 1969 until he was unseated by Bill Emerson, a Republican, in 1980.

After leaving Congress, Burlison moved to Maryland, where he ran for the Maryland House of Delegates twice, but was unsuccessful. He also ran for Congress in Maryland in 2006 but dropped out of the race for personal reasons. He was elected twice to serve on a county council in Maryland.

An attorney, Burlison has served in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he acted as an active counsel. He began his political career as a three-term prosecuting attorney for Cape Girardeau County and served as an assistant Missouri attorney general. Burlison has also taught government as an adjunct professor at several colleges.

Another hopeful to replace Hodges, Neal E. Boyd, a Republican from Sikeston, announced last week his intentions to be elected in the 149th District. A professional singer, business owner and the winner of "America's Got Talent" in 2008, Boyd is making a second attempt at winning the seat after losing to Hodges in 2012.

Hodges recently said he is not surprised to already see interest in the seat since it is the only one in the area considered open in 2014 -- meaning there is not an incumbent officeholder running. He also said he is not ready to support any one candidate or potential candidate.

"I just want whoever is going to replace me to do right for this district," he said.

Burlison has so far loaned his campaign $20,000 for fundraising this year, reports on file with the Missouri Ethics Commission show. He had $6,700 still on hand in July. Boyd has yet to register a campaign committee or file a fundraising report, but isn't required to until he meets certain rules set by the commission, including receiving or spending $500 or more.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

Wardell, Mo.

Sikeston, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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