SB 409 is designed to make it even more difficult for independent candidates such as Holzknecht, and Nodler's 2006 challenger Kim Wright to mount successful campaigns. Holzknecht, in a letter to Chris Hogerty, who prepared the bill summary on the Senate website, asks if there is room for motivation for the filing of the bill to be placed in the summary.
The description of the bill is as follows:
This act requires independent candidates in general elections to file a written declaration of intent to run for statewide office, Congress, the state Senate, state House of Representatives or Circuit Judge.
The text of Holzknecht's letter to Hogerty is printed below:
The Summary for SB 409 indicates only that SB 409 'requires independent candidates in general elections to file a written declaration of candidacy" to run for various offices. Actually, the law already requires such written declaration of candidacy by Independent candidates, but does not require it until approximately 15 weeks before the election in which the candidate will run (i.e., the declaration must be filed by late July for a November election). This time period is almost identical to the period of time allowed party primary candidates to file before the election in which they will run, i.e., an end of March filing deadline for the August primary election.
Therefore, I believe the summary of SB 409 might more fairly and accurately describe SB 409 if it indicated what effect SB 409 would have on existing law in changing the filing deadline for independent candidates, such as: "This Act would change existing law and require Independent candidates to file a Declaration of Candidacy during the legislative session and approximately 7-1/2 months before the election in which they will run, but will not affect the existing filing deadline for political party candidates seeking election in their parties' primary election, which deadline will remain the end of March, approximately four months before that party candidates' primary election."
Also, the "Sponsor" section identifies Sen. Gary Nodler, one of SB 409's sponsors, but fails to include SB 409's co-sponsor, Sen. Delbert Scott, the Chairman of the Committee in which SB 409 was introduced.
Interestingly, both of these incumbent Senators had Independent candidates file against them in 2006, and would have otherwise been unopposed for reelection. Indeed, Senator Scott was actually defeated by his Independent opponent in two of the counties in the senate district, and his Independent opponent amassed 43% of the total vote district-wide, believed to be a record in Missouri history for an Independent candidate for State Senate. I know this because I was the guy who dared to file as an Independent candidate and give the voters a choice from the 20 year incumbent.
Is there a place on these "Current Bill Summaries" for the motivation behind the filing of a bill?
Chris, just thought I'd bring this to your attention in case these summaries are supposed to reflect more fully what effect the bill will really have on the existing law. Because if the bill did only what the current summary says it does, there would be no need for it, since independent candidates are already required to file a written declaration of candidacy.
Very truly yours,
Mike Holzknecht, former Hickory County Prosecuting Attorney, and Independent Candidate for State Senate, 28th District