But as a reporter who spent the past year obsessing over the tangle in the state’s Ninth Congressional District, I have some residual interest in the potential Republican bloodbath in the Missouri’s Seventh District. U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt's decision to run for Senate leaves the seat open.
I say Republican bloodbath because the victor in the GOP primary will almost certainly win the general election. The district’s Republican tilt is so overwhelming, it’s unlikely even a known official – such as former House Speaker Jim Kreider, D-Nixa, or state Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield – would have much of a chance.
Several names have popped up in last 48 hours. I'm sure I'm excluding numerous local and county officials that could be candidates, so please feel free to list any people I've missed in the comments section:
Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin: The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee actually ran for Congress against Roy Blunt in 1996. Given Blunt’s longstanding tenure as Greene County Clerk and Missouri's Secretary of State, it was not surprising that Nodler fell way short of winning the Republican primary.
But the past 12 years have brought about a metamorphosis in Nodler’s electoral prospects. After barely prevailing in a primary for a state Senate seat encompassing Joplin, Nodler clawed his way to become the chairman of one of the legislature’s most powerful committees. Nodler has also proven to be adept at raising money.
Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mt. Vernon: With photogenic looks and a record as a legislative wheeler-dealer, Goodman has plenty of potential in a congressional primary. He gained attention and notoriety when he led the charge to repeal a law making it easier for land developers to create villages.
In some respects, Goodman fits the Blaine Luetkemeyer mold. Both reside in a rather remote part of their congressional districts. And neither man possesses an extraordinary amount of pizzazz. But Goodman seems to be a candidate that could garner significant amounts of organizational and financial support based on existing relationships within state politics.
State Rep. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa: Wasson’s name has been brought up in lists of potential Seventh District contenders. I think he’s far more likely to run for the state Senate in 2010. But I could be wrong.
State Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Joplin: A potential wildcard in this race is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Not only could he potentially dilute Nodler’s vote total in Joplin, but he might be able to pull away financial support from the legal community that could gravitate to Goodman.
(Columbia Daily Tribune photo)
Gov. Matt Blunt: You’ve probably noticed that the candidates listed here are state legislators. That’s because I'm making the assumption that the current governor will leave politics behind on Monday and enter the private sector.
But if Blunt decides to run for the seat, it changes things dramatically. He’d almost certainly be able to channel an enormous amount of money for the contest. He would possess almost universal name recognition. And he's also never lost an election before.
No doubt his tenure as governor was rocky, but could he have enough juice left in southwest Missouri to win a Republican primary? It's possible.
If Blunt runs for his father’s seat, it would put in motion an almost unprecedented situation of a former Missouri governor deciding to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.