There are 86 people who determine which Republican runs in a special election to succeed retiring Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo. Many of the hopeful candidates got a taste of what they must prove as candidates during a forum Thursday night in Salem, Mo., in front of a packed house in the city hall auditorium. A dozen candidates each answered the same six questions throughout the night, according to the Southeast Missourian.
Who are the most well-known candidates?
The most prominent candidates at the forum were former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, current Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Lloyd Smith and former Rep. Wendell Bailey. Three state lawmakers attended: state Sen. Wayne Wallingford, state Rep. Todd Richardson and Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith.
What types of questions did the candidates answer?
The entire forum lasted 2 1/2 hours. One of the hottest topics of the night was gun control. None of the examined candidates would vote to restrict guns. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Bob Parker, a former candidate for the Eighth District spot, told the audience, "I need more than 10 rounds to protect my freedom!" Other questions revolved around the fiscal cliff, economic development and abortion.
Which candidates stood out?
Kinder told the audience of around 200 he is "6-0 in election campaigns" and has "never lost." The Post-Dispatch also quoted Kinder, who said he carried 29 of 30 counties in the southeastern Missouri district. Steelman said she will use her loss in last August's primary to Todd Akin as an experience moving forward. The Eighth District committee chairman, Eddy Justice, told the St. Louis newspaper choosing a candidate is difficult because it is "the most diverse" committee he's chaired.
Who would win the seat in the special election?
The Eighth District has voted a Republican into Congress for years. Should Kinder win, Gov. Jay Nixon told a crowd at a prayer breakfast on Thursday he has the authority to appoint a new lieutenant governor. Jason Smith disagrees, according to St. Louis Public Radio. He believes a special election should be held. Some state vacancies can be filled by appointment. However, the office of lieutenant governor specifically says an election should fill the spot. A state senator or representative elected to Emerson's seat also needs a special election to fill the vacancy.
How many public forums will be held?
The Associated Press reveals there is one more forum in Cape Girardeau next Thursday. Justice told the AP there are 17 people seeking the GOP nomination. Whoever is chosen by the Republican committee faces a prominent Democrat in a special election sometime in February or March. Nixon has yet to set the date for the election.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.