The indictment of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has prompted the Texas Republican to temporarily step aside from his leadership post in government. And, southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt – the House Majority Whip – has moved up a notch in the hierarchy. He’s now the Majority Leader – on a temporary basis. Southeast Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson says Republicans are having a tough time dealing the DeLay’s difficulties, but there is a silver lining with the Blunt ascension. The last Missourian to hold the post of U.S. House Majority Leader was former Congressman Richard Gephardt of St. Louis, who held the job from 1989 to 1995. The Democrat became Minority Leader when the GOP took control of the U.S. House in January of 1995.
Voters in Missouri’s Third Congressional District should know well the two candidates running to replace retiring St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephardt. Republican Bill Federer ran against Gephardt twice, in 1998 and 2000. He says he wouldn’t have entered the race this year had Gephardt decided to run again. Federer calls his opponent, Democrat Russ Carnahan, the most left-wing of all the Democrats who crowded into the August primary. Carnahan rejects the assessment. The seat is open for the first time since 1976. It covers the southern portion of St. Louis and St. Louis County as well as all of Jefferson and Ste. Genevieve Counties.
A veteran Missouri Democrat, used to the national stage, took on a low-profile role in the Democratic National Convention in Boston. And, he is not disclosing what path his career will take next. St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephardt says John Kerry has taken the first step toward introducing himself to the American people with his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Gephardt believes Kerry can beat President George W. Bush if he will open up to tell people who he is, what makes him tick, what motivates him. Gephardt says the Kerry campaign has not talked with him about a possible role in a Kerry Administration, adding that it shouldn’t. He says all focus needs to be on winning in November, not speculating about who would make up a cabinet.
Retiring St. Louis area Congressman Richard Gephardt says he’s looking forward to a new chapter in his life in which he can do a lot of different things that will be fun and interesting. Gephardt was on John Kerry’s short list of potential runnming mates – The New York Post erroneously reported yesterday morning he was the choice. Gephardt says he’ll campaign for Kerry, but he’s looking forward to other opportunities in academia and business. One longtime Gephardt aide has told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Gephard would probably get heavy consideration for a cabinet slot if Kerry wins.
St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephardt has had a private chat with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. Gephardt met with Kerry late Wednesday afternoon. It’s unclear how long the two talked. Kerry broke off from the campaign trail to be back in Washington as the same time as two other possible running mates were in D.C.: Retired General Wesley Clark and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Gephardt reportedly has the back of labor, with union officials urging Kerry to put Gephardt on the 2000 ticket.
Missouri Democrats wrap up their weekend presidential convention in Columbia, completing the selection of the 88 delegates and 13 alternates who will make up the Missouri contingent at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Terry McAuliffe, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was among the notables attending the event. In an interview with the Missourinet, McAuliffe spoke of the importance Democrats attach to this state. He says it is a key battleground state which can expect quite a lot of attention from Democrats at the national level. McAuliffe says Senator John Kerry, the likely Democrat presidential nominee, will visit all areas of the Show-Me State between now and November. McAuliffe says he’s been to Missouri more than a dozen times since taking over the top job with the DNC and has never seen more enthusiasm from the party faithful than he saw at this weekend’s convention. Another national notable in Columbia for the weekend convention was former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, who now serves as the National Chair of the Kerry Campaign. McAuliffe and Shaheen were joined by top Missouri officials, including Governor Bob Holden and St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephardt.
The man who’s chairing this year’s Democratic National Convention visits Missouri and tries to snuff out rumors that he’s on Massachusetts Senator John Kerry’s short list of possible candidates for vice president. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson delivered the keynote address to several hundred gathered in Hannibal for the annual Democrat Days festivities. He insists he’s happy living and working in Santa Fe and has no desire to return to Washington, D.C. Richardson previously served in Washington as a Congressman and as President Clinton’s Energy Secretary. He was also the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Richardson suggests St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephard would be the perfect pick for vice president. Richardson says the Midwest is extremely important in the race and it would help to have a Missourian on the ticket.
A State Representative who tried to scrap Missouri’s presidential primary says the poor voter turnout proves his point. Representative David Pearce of Warrensburg wanted to get rid of the primary, saying it was too costly for a state strapped for cash. Pearce, a Republican, denies his bill last year to scrap the primary was a slap in the face of former Democratic presidential candidate Richard Gephardtof St. Louis. He says he wasn’t motivated by politics. It cost Missouri $3.7-Million to hold the presidential primary. And, with just under 550,000 voters casting ballots, that works out to $6.80 a vote.
High interest nationally, but low turnout locally is expected in today’s presidential primary in Missouri. The state’s election authority Secretary of State Matt Blunt says he expects only about 23 percent of eligible voters to turn out in Missouri today, maybe a few more now that St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephardt has dropped out of the race making the state more of a race. But he says that’s still far short of what he would really like to see. Blunt is pleased Missouri is playing such a prominent role in national poltics and he would like to see more presidential primaries in Missouri’s future.
The Democratic presidential debate, tentatively scheduled for Monday night in St. Louis, has been cancelled. The Democrats have released a statement saying conflicting schedules, abbreviated preparation time, and the possibility of more winter weather have led to the decision to cancel the event. The idea for the debate was put forward by the State Democratic Party following the withdrawal of St. Louis Congressman Richard Gephardt from the race for the White House. The candidates had all but conceded Missouri’s delegates to Gephardt, but his decision to pull out put the state in play. Earlier, a proposal to hold a town hall forum on Saturday at Penn Valley Community College near Kansas City was scrapped because of a lack of organizing time.