Why is Bill Randles running for the nomination for governor on the Republican ticket in Missouri? Why is this virtual unknown, especially in eastern Missouri, seeking high public office? It’s the same reason why others seek public office.

“I think I can make a difference,” Randles, an attorney from the Kansas City area, told The Missourian.

That’s the reason why so many patriotic Americans in the past, present and future seek public office on all levels of government. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re qualified or have a background that prepares them for public office. It also is the reason why very qualified Americans seek public offices. Now we all know there are those people who need a job, want the prestige and power of public office and there are others who are single- or double-issue people who are out to change things to their liking, or even for private gain.

Bill Randles, who grew up poor in Arkansas, is motivated. He wants to change things and said he was encouraged to seek office by his wife. He has never held public office before. He’s an ordained minister and has been associated with a prestigious law firm.

One of the interesting things we found out about Randles is that at Harvard law school he had a class with Barack Obama. He’s one of the few people who remember Obama in college, especially in his undergraduate years, who have said they had a class or knew him at that time. Remember when a national media outlet some years ago said they could find no one who knew or remembered Obama in his undergraduate years. Randles said it was the election of Obama that influenced him to start thinking about seeking public office.

Randles said he differs from the other gubernatorial candidates in that he has a “plan.” The plan includes judicial reform, making Missouri a right-to-work state, educational reform by giving public schools competition, promoting business and overall economic development. By the way, the other Republican candidates for the nomination also are unknowns — Dave Spence, John Weiler and Fred Sauer. Randles, who has little campaign funds, said he has grassroots support.

Randles wears conservatism on both sleeves and the more you talk to him the more that side of him emerges. He may be too conservative for some members of the GOP.

He is a student of history and government and probably knows more about those subjects than his party rivals. He is well read and has strong views on current events. He probably would be a tough candidate to debate although we’ve never heard him speak. He attempts to tear apart the record of Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat seeking re-election, and his intensity gets stronger in attacking Nixon as he speaks. He doesn’t like the fact that the governor has been a Missouri public official for most of his life. Randles likes term limits. He dislikes the professional politician concept.

Randles said he is getting around the state and said he has been to functions in Franklin County four or five times.

The Tea Party never came up in the discussion but we know some people of that political faith like him and are supporting him.

His chances? Probably not very good. He could be a surprise. If he doesn’t align himself too tightly with the far right among those radicals in the GOP, he will do better, but that doesn’t mean he’s a winner. He’s an interesting guy who is knowledgeable!