JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – If it appeared that things were settling down in the race to be the next majority floor leader, think again.
Less than two weeks after Rep. Rocky Miller pulled his name from the race, another contender is eyeballing the prospective seat.
Rep. Bart Korman, R-High Hill, tells the Missouri Times that he is considering running for the position, which would be vacated by Rep. Mike Cierpiot in the event he wins the race for the Missouri Senate seat in District 8.
Korman points to his experience in the House as his best advantage over the candidates currently seeking the nomination, as he has already served seven years in the chamber.
“There’s a lot of different dynamics in the House and in Missouri politics, with a big election cycle coming, and there’s going to be a need and desire to have some extra experience at the leadership table, especially on the floor,” he said. “I do not plan on being on the ballot in 2018, so I should be available to navigate a lot of potential primary candidates that are going to be on the floor and treat them all equally and fair.”
Korman’s pitch to his fellow legislators is simple: if Cierpiot wins, it leaves the majority floor leader seat open. He proposes to run for the seat and finish out what would have been Cierpiot’s term.
“With a potential opening, it gives me the opportunity to do something like that,” Korman said.
Korman, like Cierpiot, is term-limited after 2018, meaning that once his term is up, the House would need a new majority floor leader, who could then be elected as originally scheduled before Cierpiot’s decision to run.
One thing Korman says he’d like to discuss if he were to win the race for majority floor leader is the possibility of having two spring breaks.
“I know it’s an odd thing, but a lot of time the representatives and senators need more time back in the district to listen to constituents,” Korman said. “Sometimes, you just need a little cooling off period. That’s one thing I’d propose for consideration.”
He says he’d like to work for fairness and freedom on the floor.
“I think it’s important to have a process that is fair to folks as well as provide some flexibility to the process,” he said.
If he does enter the race, he’ll be joining a field consisting of Rep. Kirk Mathews and Rep. Rob Vescovo. Rumor has it that the vote for the majority floor leader will occur during veto session (Sept. 13), which leaves Korman little time to decide on whether he will enter the race and even less time to campaign with his colleagues.
“Originally, I was going to try and make a decision before veto session,” Korman said. “It just shortens up my time frame.”
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Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.