Four state rep opponents join show of GOP unity

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- For the next five-plus months, they will be political opponents. But on Tuesday, four Cape Girardeau County residents vying for the same seat in the House of Representatives were fellow Republicans, joining more than 100 other GOP hopefuls from around the state in the rallying cry of "82 in '02." That is, claiming an 82-seat Republican House majority in the 2002 elections.

Three Jackson residents -- Gerald Adams, Donna Lichtenegger and Scott Lipke -- and Tom Sachse of Friedheim all visited the capital to file for the Aug. 6 GOP primary for the open 157th District seat being vacated by term-limited state Rep. David Schwab, R-Jackson.

Libertarian Timothy Doubledee of Jackson also filed. No Democrats have yet filed.

Tuesday was the first day candidates could file for state and federal legislative seats and circuit judge for the party primary elections. Filing runs through March 26.

Schwab said he isn't picking a favorite.

"I guess we're all friends, but we're competitors," said Sachse, county Farm Bureau president.

By luck of the draw, Lichtenegger's name will appear first on the ballot. In all races that had multiple candidates file on the first day, ballot order was determined by lottery. Later candidates will be listed in the order they filed.

"The more the merrier," said Lichtenegger, a longtime GOP activist. "That's what term limits were for -- to get more people to be active in politics."

The newly redrawn 157th District includes Jackson, a small piece of Cape Girardeau, northern Cape Girardeau County and most of rural Perry County.

"We're going to have to draw some differences between candidates, but it's going to be issue-oriented," said Lipke, an assistant county prosecutor. "I think you'll see a good, hard-fought campaign between all of us. We'll see what happens in August."

All the hopefuls were excited about potentially being part of the first Republican House majority in almost a half-century. Counting a vacant seat last held by a Republican in the GOP column, the party needs a net gain of six seats to claim control.

"We all know one another, and it's been a great day for camaraderie," said Adams, the Jackson school board president. "I think everybody's got the same thing in mind, and that is to take over a majority in the House. Everybody's on the same page today."

Familiar names

Voters will see two familiar names on the Republican primary ballot for the 8th District congressional seat.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau filed for a fourth two-year term. She will be challenged by Richard Allen Kline of Gipsy, who is making his third run for the office.

Kline won the GOP nomination for the seat in 1996, after U.S. Rep. Bill Emerson died and left the party without an A-list candidate on the primary ballot. Jo Ann Emerson ran as an independent with Republican backing and won the general election.

Kline sought the seat as a Democrat in 1998, but lost in the primary. He was the Reform Party candidate for governor in 2000.

Other first-day filings included:

Incumbent Judge William Syler and Bryan Keller, both Cape Girardeau Republicans, for 32nd Judicial Circuit judge. The circuit covers Bollinger, Cape Girardeau and Perry counties.

Incumbent state Rep. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, for a second term representing the 158th District, which covers most of the city.

Incumbent state Rep. Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, for a second term representing the 156th District, which includes Bollinger and Madison counties and the bulk of Wayne County.

Dennis W. Smith, a Democrat, and Cecilia Fallert, a Republican, for the 106th District, which includes parts of Perry, Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois counties. Incumbent state Rep. Tom Burcham, R-Farmington, hasn't filed but plans to do so.

Democrat Bill Stanberry and Republicans Robbie Myers and Gayle Kingery, all of Poplar Bluff, for the 154th District seat of term-limited state Rep. Mark Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff. The district represents most of Butler County.

mpowers@semissourian.com

(573) 635-4608

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