Independents are mobilizing against SB 409, Gary Nodler's attempt to punish independent candidates for inconveniencing him during the 2006 election, and its House counterpart HB 894:
In a news release issued today, independents, including Nodler's opponent, Kim Wright, Joplin, and Mike Holzknecht, who opposed Sen. Delbert Scott (who is co-sponsoring Nodler's bill and quickly shepherded it through his own committee) said:
Independents are speaking out against bills before the Missouri legislature designed to deter independent candidates from running for public office. HB894 and SB409 would move the deadline for independent candidates to file a declaration of candidacy up from June to March. The House bill goes one step further, requiring that independents also file their nominating petitions at the same time. The effect of the bill will be to stop independents from challenging major party candidates.
"As a former independent candidate, I have strong concerns about this legislation," said Kim Wright, who received 36.4 percent of the vote against Senator Gary Nodler the originator of the Senate bill. "It seems that it is being proposed in response to personal experience and not in response to voter concerns. This alone seems self serving rather than for the greater good."
Wright and group of independent activists are mobilizing a campaign to defeat the bill.
"The bill is being pushed under the guise of imposing the same deadline for independents, Democrats and Republicans," said Mike Holzknecht who ran against Delbert Scott—the chair of the Senate Elections Committee—and received 43 percent of the vote. "The deadline is already the same—15 weeks before their respective elections. Major party candidates who are running in early August primaries file in late March, and independent candidates who are running in the November election file in late July. A March deadline for independents will essentially guarantee no competition."
A bill introducing a similar deadline for independents was struck down in 1974 in McCarthy v Kirkpatrick (420F.SUPP.366) by the US District Court which invalidated Missouri's April 27th petition deadline for independent candidates as being too early.
The media needs to pay more attention to this bill. There is no crying need for it, and as the independents say, it is clearly being used as part of the personal agenda of Nodler and Scott, who had to spend a little money to hold on to their Senate seats and were clearly irritated at being inconvenienced.