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Potential GOP Replacements For Emerson Survey Political Landscape

Possible Republican candidates to fill Jo Ann Emerson’s soon-to-be vacated House seat are surveying the political landscape as they weigh their chances for success.

From congressmen to commissioners to a statewide office-holder, the list of potential GOP candidates who want to represent Missouri’s eighth district continues to grow. The Republican 8th Congressional District committee has no shortage of options.

At a League of Women Voters town hall forum on Tuesday, Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said it’s important that the new district representative continues to provide strong leadership.

“In any organization, when you lose a veteran member and then someone comes in on the new end, there’s a lot of corporate knowledge that’s lost,” Tracy said. “But it’s a good opportunity to move forward and try to continue that leadership that’s shown.”

While Tracy has expressed some interest in running, he says it is still early.

“I won’t rule it out, but there’s a lot of work to be done. There’s a committee that’s in charge of this,” Tracy said. “It’s a lengthy, drawn out process. The most important thing is to ensure that the district has continued good, solid, common-sense, conservative leadership.”

Missouri Representative and Senator-elect Wayne Wallingford is a more vocal potential candidate. At the same town hall event, he agreed with Tracey that strong leadership is vital. Wallingford believes his experience would make him a strong candidate.

“One reason I’m considering it is because I think the voters voted me in the House and now the Senate for a lot of my background. My healthcare background, working in two hospitals and a master’s degree in healthcare administration, then, consequently, in the House I was on Economic Development, Healthcare Policy and Vice Chair for Higher Education. So I think I have a lot to offer,” Wallingford said.

Wallingford added his recent campaign success gives him another advantage over other potential candidates. 

“Having just ran for the State Senate, I’m fresh off the campaign trail. Working closely with the constituents, and discussing the issues across my six county area so I’m probably very sharp in those areas,” Wallingford said.

On Tuesday, Senator Dan Brown of Missouri’s sixteenth Senate District tossed his hat into the ring.

Brown cited the necessity that “the Eighth District continues to be represented by a Republican” as a primary motive for his interest.

The district’s Republican and Democratic committees will hand-pick the candidates who will run in the special election.

Other potential candidates include Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, former Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Missouri GOP executive director Lloyd Smith, Senators Kevin Engler and Jason Crowell, and Representatives Todd Richardson and Jason Smith.

Samantha Rinehart was a student reporter for KRCU from 2012-2013.
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