Under the guise of making it fair for those put-upon Democrats and Republicans, Rep. Ted Hoskins, D-St. Louis, has reintroduced legislation which would make it more difficult for independent candidates to mount challenges to the established parties.
A hearing for HB 1310, which would require independent candidates to file at the same time as Democrats and Republicans, is scheduled for 12 noon Wednesday, Jan. 23, before the Special Committee on Urban Education Reform. It is hard to see what connection independent candidates have urban education reform, except, of course, that Hoskins is the committee chairman.
You might remember that this mean-spirited bill was first proposed last year by Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, with co-sponsor Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, both of whom had to spend more money than they wanted to in their 2006 general election campaigns due to challenges from independent candidates Kim Wright and Michael Holzknecht.
Hoskins has said the current system is not fair to incumbents who have to run not only in primaries but in general elections since they don't know until right before the primary if they will have an independent general election opponent and they cannot properly budget their campaign funds.
Let me get this straight. Probably 80 percent of elected officials (or more) have no primary competition and are still raising money anyway, so where is the urgent need for this bill?
Candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties also have far easier access to money, both from individual donors and (especially) from special interests and lobbyists, so independent candidates are already at a disadvantage.
Plus, independent candidates already have to go through a petition drive just to gain access to the ballot.
The bill was a bad idea when Hoskins in the House, and Nodler in the Senate proposed it last year. One year has not improved it any.