Two Republican State Representatives who survived heavily-financed efforts to oust them from office last week think it’s time to reign in what they think are abuses in campaign finance.
Representatives Jeff Messenger of Republic and Lyle Rowland of Cedarcreek, both in southwest Missouri, were targets of retired financier Rex Sinquefield and his political action committee. They and two others targeted for defeat in last Tuesday’s primary had refused to support a veto override on a tax break bill Sinquefield wanted to pass.
Messenger doesn’t appreciate the kind of campaign launched against him. He says his people “didn’t want the type of politics coming out St. Louis in our district.” And Rowland is even stronger, citing the old statement that “figures don’t lie but liars figure.” He says that’s what happened in the campaign he won last Tuesday.
Both, as the others, say they won because they stood up; to outsiders thinking they could buy their seats in the House. Messenger says the campaigns emphasize the need for campaign finance reform, observing, “It’s not right for an organization to come out and try to sway an election, and that seems to be all based around how much money can be generated.”
And Rowland, who withstood a $130,000 campaign against him hopes for the same thing. “I am only hoping that. I would support some type of reform because it is completely out of control,” he says.
The legislature has done a lot of talking about campaign finance and ethics legislation for years. But its members have not been threatened as four of them were last week.