Why Do They Run? - The Missourian: Opinion

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Why Do They Run?

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Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2012 3:00 pm

We have a primary election in Missouri coming up soon. The date is Tuesday, Aug. 7. A look at the ballot that was published in

Wednesday’s Missourian is somewhat normal — a large number of candidates for some offices and no competition in others.

Again, as usual, there are a host of no-names, people who don’t have name recognition and many of whom have no chance of winning. Some of them don’t even campaign. Why do they file?

For lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket there are eight candidates. Several have minor name recognition, such as Susan Montee, Jefferson City, Judy Baker, Columbia, and Sara Lampe, Springfield. The rest could be called complete unknowns.

For U.S senator on the Republican ticket there are eight candidates who want the nomination and would like to unseat incumbent Claire McCaskill, a Democrat. The race really is between three of the candidates. They are Sarah Steelman, former state treasurer, Rep. Todd Akin, St. Louis County, and John Brunner, St. Louis businessman. The remaining five are unknowns statewide. One of the candidates is from Sullivan, Hector Maldonado, who really isn’t known in his home county. The realistic three-way race is gaining the most attention of any of the races statewide.

The two most prominent Democratic candidates are incuments McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon. McCaskill has no primary opposition. Nixon has two opponents who are complete unknowns and who don’t have a chance of winning. On the Republican ticket for governor, there are four candidates who want to take on Nixon in the general election. The race will come down to a match between Dave Spence, St. Louis businessman, and Bill Randles, of the Kansas City area, who has tea party support. The other two candidates are Fred Sauer, St. Louis, and John D. Weiler, Pevely, two relative unknowns.

There’s some interest in the race for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket. Peter Kinder, Cape Girardeau, is seeking re-election and is being opposed in the primary by Brad Lager, Savannah, Charles W. Kullmann, St. Louis, and Mike Carter, St. Peters. Lager is expected to pose the most challenge to Kinder.

The public notice on the primary with the listing of all candidates, federal, state and county, was in Wednesday’s Missourian. The candidates as they will appear on the ballot will be published prior to the primary.

We don’t know what motivates some people to file for public offices, especially on the state level, when they are unknown and don’t have the financial resources to mount a campaign. Why do they run? Just to see their names on ballots? We have had perennial candidates who have never won an election. They know they don’t have a chance to win if they are honest with themselves.   

We all like to see participation in our democratic process, and if requirements are met, it’s encouraging to see the interest in filing for office even if candidates’ chances are slim or none. But the question of why some people file lingers.

/opinion

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