Who Thinks Trying To Out-Conservative The Republicans In Missouri Will Win The Democrats Jo Ann Emerson's Vacant House Seat?
Romney did even better against Obama in November in Missouri's 8th congressional district (65.9%) than McCain did four years earlier (60.0%). This is a helluva red part of the state. And on the same day that they cast their ballots for Romney, the folks in the southeast corner of Missouri (Rolla, Poplar Bluff, West Plains, Perryville, Sikeston and Limbaugh's hometown, Cape Girardeau) gave Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson the biggest victory of any Republican incumbent in the state, an overwhelming 72% of the vote-- even more than the 65% she won in 2010 or her 71% in 2008. It's the poorest district in the state. Right after the election, Emerson announced she would be resigning to become a glorified lobbyist, which is what she was when her husband, a former lobbyist himself, Congressman Bill Emerson, died and she inherited his seat.
In all likelihood, this is a seat for life for some lucky right-wing punter. As soon as Emerson announced she was leaving-- and with no child to pass it down to-- every plausible Republican in the area tossed their respective hats into the ring. 32 year old state Rep. Jason Smith, the House Speaker pro tem and the Missouri state head of ALEC, was one of the early favorites and over the weekend a Party conclave in Van Buren picked him-- after six ballots-- as their official nominee, skipping over Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (the one many Emerson loyalists are said to have preferred), former congressman Wendell Bailey, state Senator Jason Crowell, state Rep. Todd Richardson, former Missouri GOP director and Emerson chief of staff Lloyd Smith and former state treasurer and perennial candidate, teabagger fave Sarah Steelman (who bowed out once she saw the writing on the wall early Saturday morning). Kinder, who seemed shocked at the outcome, came in second.
Smith says people can expect that he'll vote along the same lines as Emerson-- except he'll be even further right. She voted to allow embryonic stem-cell research which he said he opposes. “When they tax the rich to give to the poor, it makes us less American... less free," he told the delegates.
The election is June 6th and the Libertarians also had their convention Saturday, where they selected Bill Slantz of St. Charles, a radio and TV consultant and expert on music performance rights. The Democrats will pick their candidate next Saturday. Local Democrats seem to agree that the area needs a backward, bigoted conservative representing it in Washington. “We’re going to have a pro-gun, pro-life, NRA member” as a candidate, predicted Mike Masterson, one of the Democratic committee members who will choose the party’s nominee. “We’ll match them on those qualifications one on one.” The Democratic candidates are state Rep. Linda Black, of Bonne Terre, former Blodgett Mayor Mark Fitchpatrick, funeral home director Todd Mahn of De Soto, and a chiropractor from Poplar Bluff named Jack Rushin. Black, like the Republican, is an anti-choice fanatic and appealed to Democratic voters at a rally by bragging: “I’m pro-life; I stand up for the 2nd amendment, I'm fiscally conservative, and I love my god... It is possible that Democrats are going to rise again." Sure, but not in MO-08... not anytime soon.
No one saw it coming but state Rep. Steve Hodges is as reactionary as you can be and still be-- even vaguely-- a Democrat.
A few days before a Democratic committee met to choose a nominee in Poplar Bluff, Hodges announced his candidacy, Black swiftly bowed out. Several days later, Hodges won the Democratic nomination to take on Smith.
Any Democratic candidate is going to have a tough slog in a district where Emerson won re-election with 70 percent of the vote. But Hodges has quite a bit of experience with tough contests, including one last year against a high-profile challenger. And he’s also banking that his conservative voting record will sway GOP voters.
...Hodges sponsored legislation to change “informed consent” requirements for abortions in Missouri: That bill would have prompted a physician performing an abortion to inform a pregnant woman of “the risks associated with the abortion procedure, the probable gestational age of the unborn child, and the medical risks of carrying her child to term.”
Hodges’ legislation also would have required a doctor “to perform a fetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of the fetal heart tones so the pregnant woman can view the image and hear the heartbeat of her unborn child at least 24 hours prior to performing the abortion.”
...Hodges signed a pledge promising not to raise taxes in 2012: Hodges was one of two Democratic incumbent lawmakers to sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to “oppose and vote against tax increases.” The other Democratic lawmaker that signed the pledge – pushed by conservative activist Grover Norquist – was Rep. Penny Hubbard, D-St. Louis City.
Hodges’ name was on a list of lawmakers who had signed the pledge after the 2010 election cycle.