Emerson Joins Her Biggest Contributor
December 4, 2012

Southeast Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson will leave Congress to join a very familiar group.
The Southeast Missourian reports the 16 year Congressional veteran is leaving to head the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a not-for-profit organization that represents the interests of rural electric cooperatives and public power districts.
Emerson had a conference call from Washington, D.C., with reporters Monday during which she said the decision to leave Congress was one made quickly, and that she did not seek out the position. The electric cooperative association is among Emerson’s campaign contributors. The website opensecrets.org, which compiles data on money in elections and the political process, lists the association as Emerson’s all-time top campaign contributor, having given her $79,803.
Emerson said her pending departure wasn’t a long-planned move.
“This has all been very short and very quick,” she said. “You can’t always have control over the timing.”
Emerson said she has met with the board of the organization twice since the last election, and the board finalized a decision to hire her Monday morning.
Emerson comes from a family of Republicans involved in politics. Growing up in Bethesda, Md., her father once served as executive director the Republican National Committee. Before winning election to Congress, Emerson held various jobs with industry lobbying groups, including the National Restaurant Association and had worked in Republican politics.
On Monday she likened the NRECA and customers served by its members to her constituents.
“I just feel like its an extension of the job I am doing now,” she said of her new position.
The area she represents has nine electric co-ops that are members of the association.
Past challengers and Republicans in offices small and large floated their names as replacements for Emerson on Monday. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Cape Girardeau native, expressed interest, as did Lloyd Smith, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, whose last bid for office was an attempt at a U.S. Senate seat earlier this year.
State representatives Jason Smith, of Salem, Mo., along with Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Kevin Engler of Farmington, Mo., also floated their names.
Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy was mentioned as a candidate. Cape Girardeau County Associate Circuit Judge Scott Lipke said he’s going to consider putting his name up for nomination, but that he’s not ready to make that decision yet. He’ll need time to pray and consult with family, he said. Late Monday, current state Rep. Wayne Wallingford, who was elected in the August primary to succeed state Sen. Jason Crowell, said he is considering seeking the nomination.
Crowell is being talked about as a potential candidate, but he hasn’t committed to an effort, citing the need to discuss the decision with his family.
“At this time I have no idea about my future plans, but I am humbled and honored by the confidence so many have shown me,” Crowell said in a statement sent Monday after receiving numerous inquiries about his interest.
Crowell’s term in the Missouri Senate ends in January.
A special election will be needed to select a replacement representative. The district covers 30 counties in southern and eastern Missouri. Political party committees in the 8th District will nominate candidates to run in the special election, the date of which will be set by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Mo-8 Update Lloyd Smith Looking at Replacing Emerson, Too
December 3, 2012

The Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party, Lloyd Smith is considering following Jo Ann Emerson to Congress.
Emerson announces Monday she’ll retire in February of 2013 to fake a job in the private sector ( see previous post).
Smith is very familiar with the office. He was once Emerson’s Chief of Staff.
He says people have approached him about making the race.
" I am humbled by this unsolicited support and will carefully consider this opportunity to continue serving the people of the 8th District.".
A Republican insider said with Smith’s
Past connection to the district, the nomination may be his, if he wants it
Another potential candidate is GOP Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.
Monday he said, "“I am certainly giving careful thought and consideration to this opportunity to represent the 8th District in Congress. I have long been engaged in federal issues,
Kinder added, " It would be an honor to serve in Congress."
Kinder also noted he has to take into account that he just won re-election to a third term, and may feel obligates in that respect.
A former top advisor to Senate candidate Sarah Steelman says she is looking at.
Jeff Layman says Steelman is "very interested"
Former State Senator Kevin Engler gas also expressed into in the jobs.
The GOP nominee for the post will be set by the District’s Republican Committee.

Outspoken State Senator Moves to Steelman Camp
June 20, 2012

In a statement Tuesday morning, St. Sen. Kevin Engler repeated Steelman’s campaign theme, lauding her as a courageous “fighter” against the establishment, but said the biggest factor in his endorsement was the increasing criticism being lobbed by the Brunner campaign.
“The deciding factor that sent me to the Steelman camp was Mr. Brunner’s recent attack ad distorting the truth about our responsible state government while hiding his own business record,” Engler said. “The last thing we need in D.C. is another person who says one thing and does another.”
Engler sent a letter to the Brunner campaign earlier in the month criticizing the ad and accused Brunner of not understanding the state’s budgeting process.
Engler is another in a series of lawmakers to endorse Steelman, the former state Treasurer and a former state Senator.

Engler Says Keeping Missouri’s Beauty Contest Primary “One of the Dumbest Things I’ve Seen”
February 5, 2012

Missouri Republican State Senator Kevin Engler says the failure to eliminate Tuesday’s non-binding Missouri presidential primary is a waste of money that could have been avoided.
“In the 10 years I’ve been here, this is the dumbest thing I’ve seen the legislature do,” Engler said.
He made those remarks on KMBC for a report to be broadcast Sunday night.
The Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan’s office says the estimated cost for the beauty contest primary is $7 million dollars.
The results of Tuesday’s vote on the Republican side will not be recognized by the Republican National Committee (RNC). In other words, the results won’t count.
States violating the schedule, warned the RNC, could risk losing up to half their convention delegates and other perks at the Tampa convention. That was a factor for Missouri GOP leaders to consider in protecting their 52 national convention delegates.
The February 7 primary is mandated by state law. But nothing it the law says its results are binding.
Democrats, expecting Missouri to support, incumbent Barack Obama, will accept the primary results from here.
Republicans, however, will meet next month, March 17 for a set of county caucuses to start selecting their convention delegates. Missouri. Caucuses are often less well attended than a regular election.
The problem started back in 2010.
At that time, in a RNC meeting in Kansas City, Republicans tried to develop a schedule for the primaries and caucuses. The effort was to draw the process out so more states would have a voice in selection the GOP nominee this year.
As part of the process a number of states, including Missouri were told to schedule their primaries or caucus after March 1st. The likely for Missouri may have been the regional ‘Super Tuesday’ vote on March 6th.
Efforts to make that happen in Missouri backfired.
A 2011 bill to move the date was vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. There were other election related items in the bill he did not like. The move to a March primary, however, was not one of them.
An override effort by the GOP-controlled legislature failed.
A ‘clean’ version of the bill was offered in last fall’s special session. The measure just moved the date from February to March.
But that ran into problems, too. The problems were not with Nixon this time, they were within the GOP-controlled State Senate.
“At that point, it became a negotiating chip. We tried to express our concerns in the State Senate”, said Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Lloyd Smith.
That’s because the RNC deadline for setting a schedule was approaching in September when the special session was still at work.
Smith even sent an urgent e-mail to Missouri Republicans, urging them to contact GOP lawmakers in the State Senate to move the bill.
“We used every asset we had to try to get them to change the date”, Smith said.
Engler offered a bill to eliminate the February 7 primary. He said it was wasteful.
But the measure died on a tie vote. Some Senate Republicans believed it sent the wrong message.
“I think it’s the wrong time, when people around the world are dying for this right, not to have a vote of the people,” said Clay County Senator Luann Ridgeway.
The estimated cost by Kansas City, Missouri metro election board for Tuesday beauty contest vote is just under $1.2 million. That’s part of the estimated statewide cost.