BACKGROUND: After the 2006 election cycle, U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof was in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives. For most students of politics who understand how the U.S. House operates, that status is akin to being world's smartest platypus. They're interesting in theory, but they're probably going to get eaten by the giant kangaroos that are the majority party.
Therefore, I suppose it wasn't surprising that Hulshof tried to depart before his term was over in 2007. The presidency of the University of Missouri system had come open, which seemed like a perfectly good way for the Republican pol to serve the public and stay close to his family.
As the rumor mill started to boil and Hulshof stopped returning calls, it became clear that the congressman was serious about pursuing the position. He even took the unusual step to announce publicly that he was seeking the job, which may not of helped his overall chances.
In the end, Hulshof didn't get the position. But his flirtation with university leadership turned out to foreshadow future events. Spooky!
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: This was the first realistic opportunity in some time that the U.S. Nin th District would have an open congressional race. The national Democrats gave up on challenging Hulshof soon after he was elected, which meant that his challengers were either under qualified or underfunded.
But I certainly enjoyed making up a list of potential Hulshof replacements. Although it should be noted that only one person on the original list - state Rep. Judy Baker - actually ran for the seat. Steinhoff and Shoemyer considered running, but decided to stay put.
FUN FACT: The battle between Hulshof and Jay Nixon last year was interesting for a lot of reasons. Not only did Nixon serve as Hulshof's former boss, but they often played basketball together. According to a Georgetown student newspaper, Hulshof apparently takes even charity basketball games quite seriously.