The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 25, 2013

Susan Redden: Party faithful hear from Republicans facing 2014 elections

NEOSHO, Mo. — Area Republicans got watermelon, ice water and some hot, or at least pretty warm, political stumping last week at the annual Newton County Republican Watermelon Feed.

State Auditor Tom Schweich and U.S. Rep. Billy Long were guest speakers, with introductions provided by state Sen. Ron Richard at the gathering held at Big Spring Park in Neosho.

The most political pitch came from Schweich, who reminded the crowd that his office will be the only statewide post in play when he runs for re-election in 2014.

“I’m the only Republican up there, because last fall, we lost five of six races. I need your help next year, and we need to build momentum for 2016,” he said.

He said Democrats win “because they act like Republicans when they’re campaigning. We need to expose that, and we need good candidates who’ll get the vote out.”

Schweich also described his work as state auditor, saying the goal of the office is to root out waste and fraud in government. He said he formed an anti-embezzlement team to expose officials who steal public funds and that 21 people are either locked up or on their way to jail as a result.

Long, who also will be up for election in 2014, said he and other representatives have spent the August recess meeting with constituents.

“We’re getting an earful,” he said. “People are fed up with a federal government that’s spending 42 percent more than it’s taking in,” said Long, who has used “fed up” as a campaign slogan.

He said there will be “a perfect storm waiting” when Congress returns in September to debate the debt ceiling and a continuing resolution to fund the government. GOP lawmakers, who have voted 40 times against Obamacare, will continue to try to de-fund the program through the appropriations process, he said.

The largest round of applause to Long’s remarks came after he said Republicans will not act on an immigration reform “until we tighten the borders.”

The Senate measure called for the addition of 20,000 more border patrol agents.

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