By Susan Redden
Neosho on Thursday will be filled with Republicans — and political candidates too — when the Newton County Republican Candidate Fair is held at the Lampo Building at 500 Spring St.
Candidates running in all contested Republican primary races — from county offices to statewide posts — have been invited to meet voters and distribute campaign materials.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m., with three-minute speeches from candidates to begin at 7 p.m. The gathering is sponsored by the Newton County Republican Central Committee, and it is open to interested Republicans from across the area, according to Nick Myers, committee chairman.
Myers; state Sen. Ron Richard, of Joplin; and Alan Snow, of Carthage, were elected delegates to the Republican National Convention during the state convention held June 1-2 in Springfield. The national convention will be held in late August in Tampa, Fla.
Myers and Richard will go as delegates for former Massachusetts governor and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, and Snow is pledged to Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who has suspended his campaign. Other Romney delegates elected were former U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, state Rep. Tim Jones, state Rep. Stanley Cox, state Sen. Eric Schmitt, and state Sen. Tom Dempsey.
Among 25 delegates elected at the state gathering, all but five are pledged to Romney in what the party leadership characterized as the Show Me Unity Slate.
John Putnam, chairman of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee, was among delegates elected at the 7th Congressional District Convention in April in Pierce City.
Santorum won the nonbinding presidential preference primary in Missouri in February, and he was the winner in caucus votes in most counties in the region. Putnam, who will go to the national convention as a Santorum delegate, noted that he also has endorsed Romney.
“How the votes will come depends on when he (Santorum) releases his delegates, but we’re all committed to support the nominee,” Putnam said.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Randles is touting his win in a straw poll conducted during the state convention by the 7th District Missouri Republican Assembly.
Randles, an attorney from the Kansas City area, captured nearly 68 percent of the votes in polling during the convention in Springfield.
St. Louis businessman Dave Spence received support from 31.5 percent of those polled.
Four Republicans are on the gubernatorial ballot in the August primary. The winner will most likely challenge incumbent Gov. Jay Nixon in November. Nixon faces two challengers in the Democratic primary.
“This is by far the largest sampling of likely GOP voters conducted by Republicans in the state,” said Randles communications director John Errante.
According to the group’s website, the Missouri Republican Assembly represents the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which was charged by President Ronald Reagan to be “the conscience” of the party.
Races were closer in some of the group’s straw polls for other statewide races. For lieutenant governor, state Sen. Brad Lager received 49.1 percent of the vote, and incumbent Peter Kinder got 48.2 percent, with 1.8 percent for Mike Carter and 0.9 percent for Charles Kullmann.
Shane Schoeller led the field among secretary of state candidates with 75.8 percent, followed by Bill Stouffer with 13.5 percent and Scott Rupp with 10.7 percent. Ed Martin received the endorsement of 86.8 percent for attorney general, trailed by Adam Warren with 13.2 percent.
In the race for the opportunity to challenge U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin received 55.1 percent of the vote in the straw poll. Businessman John Brunner got 30.9 percent, and Sarah Steelman, former state treasurer, had 14 percent.
Candidates’ signs all over a building at 3950 E. Seventh St. might suggest that the Republican campaign office in Jasper County has opened for business. Not yet, said local officials.
The office is being set up, but a date for a grand opening has not been set.
SUSAN REDDEN is a staff writer for the Globe. She can be reached at email@example.com or 417-623-3480, ext. 7258.