In his weekly column, distributed to newspapers in the 32nd Senatorial District, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, explained his support for a bill that would force independent candidates to file earlier.
Nowhere in the column did Nodler mention that he filed similar legislation last year immediately after facing an election challenge in 2006 from an independent candidate. While Kim Wright, Joplin, only received about 36 percent of the vote, her candidacy did inconvenience Nodler, force him to spend some of his amply-filled campaign war chest, and resulted in the spiteful legislation, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, who not so coincidentally, also was challenged by an independent candidate in 2006.
Another election related measure I support that received approval from the committee
this week was House Bill 1310. This would require independent candidates to declare their candidacy at the same time as partisan candidates for statewide offices, congressional districts, the state Senate and House, and circuit judge seats. Currently, an independent candidate can file to run for office months after a partisan candidate’s deadline has passed. For example, this year the deadline for independent candidates to file their petition to run in the November 4 election is July 28, but partisan candidates had to file by March 25. Both independent and partisan candidates are filing for elections to be held the first week of November. Partisan candidates
gain ballot space by being chosen by voters in a primary election in August.
Independent candidates gain space on the ballot by submitting a number of signatures at approximately the same time. Candidates seeking election on the same day should have the same filing deadline. House Bill 1310 works to level the playing field for all candidates to these offices so there are no longer special conditions for independent candidates.
This legislation obviously does not "level the playing field," but adds to the already substantial advantage Democrats and Republicans have over anyone who tries to get elected as an independent.
Nodler insists that all of the candidates are filing to run in the November election, and that is simply not true. Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians file to run in the August primary. If they survive that, which is usually not a problem, considering that you rarely have a contested race when an incumbent is involved, then you run in the November general election.
The major parties already have an almost overwhelming advantage when it comes to money. All this mean-spirited legislation does is make sure that it is more difficult for anyone new to actually wage a competitive race and inconvenience an incumbent.
For Nodler not to mention anything about the 2006 race is unfortunate, but not surprising.