The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 29, 2012

Most primary competition for two statewide offices under Republican ballots

JOPLIN, Mo. — For the two Republicans vying in the Aug. 7 primary to challenge Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster in November, there’s agreement on a central issue.

Both contend that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — commonly referred to as “Obamacare” — is an intrusion upon states’ rights.

Ed Martin, 42, of St. Louis, runs his own law firm and says his law practice — which has focused on commercial and business litigation — and his time as chief of staff for former Gov. Matt Blunt give him the background needed for the office.

“I want to be a straight-shooting lawyer for the state of Missouri,” he said. “I’m worried about government overreach, especially Obamacare, and the attorney general position can fight back in a specific way.

“Every aspect of Obamacare needs to be pushed back. My other big priorities for the office are to be the lead lawyer for protecting veterans’ rights, and to be an attorney general who will fight corruption that has come as government has gotten bigger and more powerful.”

Adam Lee Warren, 32, of Chillicothe, is the prosecuting attorney for Livingston County.

Like Martin, he said Obamacare is one of the central issues he would like to tackle if elected.

“What got me interested (in running) was watching states band together against it and ours not doing it,” he said.

Tackling Missouri’s “methamphetamine epidemic” is also a priority of his campaign.

“Recidivism is through the roof,” he said. “People are not getting off drugs, and it’s costing our citizens an arm and a leg. We need a two-prong system to track (drug) manufacturers and also set up a system where meth addicts can get treatment.”

The winner will face Koster, a Democrat, in November. Koster was elected attorney general in 2008. He previously represented the Missouri Senate’s 31st District from 2004 to 2008. Before that, he spent 10 years as the prosecuting attorney in Cass County.

Also on the November ballot will be Libertarian candidate Dave Browning, 63, of Oak Grove. He previously served as an assistant prosecutor for Jackson and Jefferson counties.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Seven candidates are seeking the secretary of state’s office in this election cycle.

Democrat Robin Carnahan, who currently holds the office, is stepping down at the end of her term.

Jason Kander, 31, a Kansas City Democrat, is a state representative for the 44th House District.

He said he believes his time as an Army reserve intelligence officer in Afghanistan and his law background would help him “stand up and do what’s right” when it comes to the duties of the office.

“The secretary of state has to be someone who has a record of standing up to special interests in both parties,” Kander said. “I did anti-corruption and anti-espionage work in Afghanistan, and those are skills that are also needed in Jefferson City.

“One of the things I care about most is ethics and campaign reform. (The office) is a great bully pulpit for changing our election and campaign system, and to help regular Missourians have more of a voice.”

Also running on the Democratic ticket is MD Rabbi Alam, of Kansas City.

Republican candidates are Scott Rupp, Shane Schoeller and Bill Stouffer.

Rupp, 38, of Wentzville, currently serves in the Missouri Senate.

A former small-business owner, he said the office’s role in helping to establish new businesses in the state is one that is near and dear to his heart.

“I’m really tired of the 9 percent unemployment, and the government can stand in the way of people who want to create jobs in the state,” Rupp said. “The first thing we need to do is try to get families back to work.

“We also need to clean up our election system. It’s horrendous. We need to clean up the voter rolls, protect the right to vote for people serving our country and help pass photo ID legislation.”

Rupp also noted that he is the only candidate in the field who has been endorsed by Missouri Right to Life.

Schoeller, 40, of Bolivar, is the speaker pro tem in the Missouri House of Representatives.

“I had worked for Secretary of State Matt Blunt, so I know the office well,” Schoeller said.

“I think we need to ensure that we protect the integrity of every election, and (requiring) photo ID is essential. I also want to put together an independent election committee that can look at Missouri’s election laws, compare them to other states, and then create a comprehensive plan to ensure we have the best election laws in the nation.

“Another thing that can be done is have an electronic database that will allow state-by-state comparison of (voter) information. If someone has moved from Missouri to Kansas, we would be able to know if they moved. It would help us clean up our voter rolls very quickly.”

Stouffer, 65, of Marshall, currently represents the 21st District in the Missouri Senate and serves as the majority caucus leader.

Like the other Republican contenders on the ballot, he believes that the photo ID system is the way for Missouri to go.

“You can’t function in society without one,” he said of a photo ID. “You can’t rent a movie, cash a check or get on a plane. It’s the lowest level of security to prove who you are. The integrity of the ballot box has to be maintained.”

Stouffer said creating clear and concise ballot language and “leaving politics at the door” would also be priorities.

Also on the ballot in November will be Libertarian Cisse W. Spragins, of Kansas City, and Constitution Party candidate Justin Harter, of Columbia.

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