One meet and greet and two forums in the books and here we go into what could be the home stretch with several questions unanswered, and a lot on the line Thursday night in Cape Girardeau. Here is how we see the race heading into the rumble on the river.
1. Lt. Governor Peter Kinder
3 Terms in the Missouri Senate 3 Terms as Lt. Governor Campaign Manger for Bill Emerson’s 1980 Campaign
The state of Missouri schedules elections, and Peter Kinder wins them. At the forum in Salem he very articulately pointed to his scoreboard of electoral success as a key reason for supporting him. The committee may be interested in winning the seat more than anything else, if so and the Lt. Governor issue is settled Kinder is the man.
We hear the issues surrounding the MOVE Act could make an April 2nd election impossible, and the longer the process takes the more time the General Assembly has to pass a bill dealing with the Lt. Governor vacancy which voted the bill out of committee this week.
Odds: 1 in 4
Poplar Bluff (last week: 3)
1 Term in the Missouri House
We are giving the slight upward edge to Richardson after his solid performance in Salem and the fact that he is now in full throated aggressive campaign mode. It could be that lightning has struck in the right place at the right time for Richardson. He has a couple subtle factors helping him that some others seem to over look including the facts that several house members are in his class from the 8th whose stature would likely rise if his rising star left the statehouse and flew to Washington D.C.
He needs a great showing in Cape Girardeau to pick up votes in case the field of candidates from Cape Girardeau shrinks before the balloting.
Odds: 1 in 5
3. Former State Senator Jason Crowell
Cape Girardeau (last week: 4)
2 Terms in the Missouri Senate 4 Terms in the Missouri House
Crowell had a tremendous performance in Salem and is consolidating some conservative supporters. While he may have had the most to gain in a more conservative rural western portion of the district in Salem, he may have more to lose in his more establishment friendly hometown of Cape Girardeau.
Just as Ed Martin’s campaign for state party chair may have been helped by his opponent getting endorsements from members of congress, Crowell’s decidedly anti-establishment brand may find a home and catch fire in the closing weeks of this most unorthodox process.
Odds: 1 in 6
4. State Representative Jason Smith
3 Terms in the Missouri House, set to be Speaker Pro Tem in the next session of the General Assembly
Smith didn’t have the best performance in Salem, but he was genuinely loved by most in his hometown crowd. That may best sum up Smith’s campaign. Most everyone in the process likes and respects him a great deal. Reports are that his earnest straightforward approach is going over great in living rooms, and he is likely to enter the committee meeting with the most support of anyone in the field.
He has a great background in the ag issues affecting the western portion of the district, and did him self well by quickly introducing a bill to promote gun rights with the issue at the forefront of people’s minds. His obstacles are simply that his home area is the most crowded of any in the field. Sarah Steelman and Dr. Dan Brown both keep him form consolidating his home area. How he navigates those waters are likely to tell if he leaves Jefferson City for Washington D.C.
Odds: 1 in 8
5. Former Emerson Chief of Staff Lloyd Smith
Former Chief of Staff to Congressman Bill Emerson and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson
Lloyd Smith has been getting his campaign better organized with the time he has freed up after letting go of the reigns at the Missouri Republican Party. He does have a network of supporters from his past years with Emerson and perhaps most importantly he will likely enter the meeting with the most committed support not necessarily in numbers but the votes Smith has are likely willing to stick with him because they will be based on long time relationships.
Odds: 1 in 10
6. Former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman
2 Terms in the Missouri Senate 1 Term as Missouri State Treasurer
Steelman is deeply conservative and has relationships with committee members all around the district. She has been unable to leave home as much as some other candidates as she has been caring for her mother who recently passed. She has also received the endorsement from Maggie’s List a conservative organization based in Washington D.C.
Steelman has an advantage in that she is the second choice of many committee members who may back more favorite son candidates on earlier ballots. She has been dealing with a personal tragedy, but she will know many committee members by name and if she can successfully combine the support in her area she will be a favorite at the nomination meeting. The longer the balloting the more dangerous of a candidate Steelman is.
Odds: 1 in 12
7. State Senator Dan Brown
1st Term as State Senator
Dan Brown is an outspoken conservative who is part of the group of senators to install Senator Richard as majority leader. Brown is a veterinarian who is well thought of in southeast Missouri conservative ranks. He also has a very well connected chief of staff Jared Brown who could be worth several votes if he tapped all of his resources.
Brown seems in an unofficial run off with Jason Smith and Sarah Steelman for who will bring the northwest corner of the district’s votes to the nominating committee meeting. However, some are promoting him as a compromise candidate, and has demonstrated his ability at putting together a top flight team.
Odds: 1 in 20
8. Former Candidate Bob Parker
Ran against Emerson in ’10 & ‘12
Say what you will about Parker, but the man has a following, and he keeps inching up our list. How many of them are on the committee is unknown, but his die hard supporters are reportedly wearing out the emails of committee members explaining that he is the only candidate who can do the job. Some forget that Parker did garner 35% of the primary vote in 2010. He knows nearly every Tea Party activist in the district by name, and some of them are on the committee.
Parker is known to have somewhat of an abrasive personality, and while him receiving the nomination is still a long shot his ability to swing a few key votes to a nominee is likely. More likely is Parker running in the special election as an independent.
Odds: 1 in 25
9. State Senator Doug Libla
State Senator and businessman
Doug Libla has never said he is seeking the nomination, or even showed up to any forum as a candidate, but his name continues to come up as someone who could put together the money and credibility to mount a serious campaign.
More than likely he doesn’t even seriously float his name, but whoever wins this special election had been look over their shoulder as Libla is likely to look long and hard at the 2014 congressional primary when he will be in mid-term, and likely looking to run for an office that could better tap his knowledge of international trade, and finance.
Odds: 1 in 25
10. Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy
Cape County Presiding Commissioner and former State Representative
Look, Salem really didn’t go so well for Tracy. He rolled the dice with an unorthodox approach and it turned out not to be a very good move. He was unlikely to gain support in Salem in the back yard of so many other candidates it only puts the pressure on him to perform in his home town in Cape Girardeau.
His candidacy is likely on the line with his speech, but Tracy is a gamer and is likely to rise to the challenge.
Odds: 1 in 30