Senator Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit stated he wanted Warren Erdman’s name withdrawn as an appointee to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. Bartle held the Senate floor from 10:30am Thursday until 3:25am Friday, relinquishing when exhaustion finally overcame him. Muttering “I’m disappointed, but that’s the way it goes,” Bartle sat down.
The Senate then moved quickly to confirm Kansas City executive Warren Erdman to the board that governs the four-campus University of Missouri system. Bartle says he took the highly unusual step based on principle. Bartle objects to Erdman’s strong support of stem cell research, especially embryonic stem cell research as well as research that Bartle insists amounts to research into human cloning.
Bartle also accuses Erdman of actively campaigning against his re-election, an accusation Erdman denies. Bartle says Erdman sought to replace him with another Republican candidate inclined to support such research during last year’s August primary election. The factors collided to set up an odd battle; a Republican senator using the Senate tradition of the filibuster in an attempt to block the appointment of fellow Republican Matt Blunt.
Erdman’s appointment also earned the strong support of United States Senator Christopher Bond. Erdman worked as Bond’s chief of staff for ten years. Bartle acknowledged during his talking marathon that he was going against leaders of his own party, but stated the Republican Party must respect the views of its individual members.
Several attempts to reach a compromise and end the filibuster were made throughout the night; attempts to provide Bartle with assurances that Erdman would not use the curator position to funnel public funding into objectionable stem cell research. Bartle says those efforts were unsuccessful and that he ended his filibuster due to exhaustion.