Both Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, and Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, were forced to dip into their campaign treasuries to fight off independent candidates who criticized everything about the way they conducted their official duties.
While Nodler and Scott won handily, they apparently are the type of legislators who hold grudges. SB 409 would prevent the recurrence of the type of independent challenges that were mounted by Kim Wright and Mike Holzknecht. Both candidates filed as independents, following the procedure outlined in state statutes, after no Democrats filed to run against the incumbents. Ms. Wright and Holzknecht believed that people should have a choice and if that choice was not going to be offered by the Democratic party, it would have to be provided by independent candidates.
Now Nodler and Scott want to keep that from ever happening again. According to the bill:
Any person desiring to be an independent candidate in a general election for any office to be filled by voters throughout the state, or for any congressional district, state senate district, state representative district, or circuit judge district shall file a written declaration of intent to be an independent candidate with the secretary of state not later than 5 p.m. on the last Tuesday in March immediately preceding the general election in which the person intends to be an independent candidate.
My question to Sen. Nodler and Sen. Scott: What is the logic behind this? Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian candidates must file by the March deadline because those parties have August primaries. An independent candidate has no primary, only the general election, so what is the purpose of an earlier deadline other than to perpetuate the power of these spoiled incumbents?
The bill text says it has been introduced by "Senators Nodler and Scott." Even worse, it has been placed in the Senate Financial & Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee, where it will be handled by the committee's chairman...Sen. Delbert Scott.
This bill is petty and vindictive. In other words, it's business as usual.