by Collin Reischman
Van Buren, MO — Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem, Representative Jason Smith, was chosen by the 8th congressional district Republican committee to be the Republican nominee in a special election for the congressional seat to be vacated by Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.
Smith won a majority of the 98 votes present on the 6th ballot, though he led through every round. Smith, who was elected in a special election in 2005, successfully navigated the 2-month nomination process by traveling over 10,000 miles across the district to meet each of the 86 members of the committee personally.
Fighting back tears, Smith told the audience that he would “get control of spending” and “balance and the budget,” as their congressional representative.
“There are different conservatives in this district,” Smith said. “We’ve got the Liberty minded people, the Tea Party people, and moderate Republicans. My job is to represent them all, and to win this district and go to Washington D.C. to represent the values of conservatism.”
Smith defeated former state senator Jason Crowell and Lt. Governor Peter Kinder in the final round of balloting. Lloyd Smith, the former Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party, dropped out after the 5th round. This freed his committee members to vote for Kinder and keep Crowell in 3rd place.
The process took approximately three hours and was free from disruption or rules issues. 8th District Republican Chairman, Eddy Justice, was credited for running a smooth meeting.
“Preparation. Preparation, preparation,” Justice said, was the key to keeping the meeting short. “I had more volunteers than ever for this event, people came out and gave us a hand and now we can work for our nominee.”
Smith will now compete with the Democratic nominee, to be decided at a nomination meeting next week, for the seat. Rumors are abound that Smith could have a challenger on his right from the Constitution Party in 8th district candidate Bob Parker, whose supporters have trepidation about supporting Smith.
Smith, 32, said he had “foot soldiers in every county in the district,” during a press conference held immediately after his nomination. Smith said he “absolutely did not” anticipate a challenge from one of the unsuccessful candidates in June.
“The other candidates in this race added to the direction this district wants to go,” Smith said. “I believe they will work with me and for me to help me take our message to Washington.”
Smith also confirmed he intended to retain his seat in the Missouri House of Representatives as well as his position in house leadership.