By Susan Redden
Big crowds are expected Saturday at the annual Jasper-Newton County Lincoln Days.
More than a dozen candidates for statewide and regional office will address the banquet, which attracts hundreds of GOP faithful from the area.
“Virtually all the candidates will be represented, and there could be more changes and additions as the date gets closer,” John Putnam, chairman of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee, said last week.
The event, set for the Butcher Block Banquet Center, will start at 6 p.m. with the meal to be served at 6:45 p.m.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., will be the keynote speaker. Also on the program will be U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Tom Schweich, state auditor.
Incumbents Long and Kinder are running for re-election this year. Also scheduled to speak are the other GOP candidates for lieutenant governor, along with those running for the Republican nomination for governor, U.S. Senate, attorney general and secretary of state.
Candidates will be able to speak, but because of the numbers, their time will be limited, said Nick Myers, chairman of the Newton County Republican Central Committee.
“But I’ve always thought the real advantage for the candidates is to be able to go around the room and meet people,” he said.
In addition, there will be introductions and announcements by local candidates running for seats in the Missouri General Assembly, as well as candidates running for county office in Jasper and Newton counties.
Jerry Carter, former Newton County presiding commissioner, will serve as emcee, Myers said.
A few tickets for the event remain. They are $33 each and are available by calling Putnam at 417-674-1946 or Myers at 417-623-2214.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate, will join U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., at a “rally for liberty” in Joplin at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Holiday Inn. Huckabee has endorsed Akin for the U.S. Senate.
He’s running against other GOP candidates John Brunner and Sarah Steelman. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.