By Collin Reischman
Poplar Bluff, MO – Missouri 8th Congressional District Congresswoman Jo An Emerson announced her intentions to retire last month, sparking interest in the Democrat and Republican parties about who would replace the dean of the Missouri Congressional Delegation.
Chairman of the 8th Republican Congressional Committee Eddy Justice released rules for the nominating convention on the “Missouri 8th Congressional District Republicans,” Facebook page. “Those rules are specific to our nominating process as a party,” Justice said. “But state law is going to dictate most of this process.”
They proposed rules are:
1. Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition, shall govern this meeting unless they are in conflict with the Rules of Missouri Revised Statute or the rules agreed to by this committee. All decisions by the Parliamentarian are final.
2. Eligible voters for this nomination meeting include the duly elected (according to Missouri Revised Statute) Chair and Vice Chair of each County Republican Committee, and the Chair and Vice Chair of each Republican Legislative Committee located in whole or in part in the 8th Congressional District. Each position listed has a vote to cast if the person holding that position is present.
3. Nominations of a Candidate may not exceed 1 minute. No second will be necessary and an individual committee member may only nominate one candidate. After the floor has been closed to nominations, each candidate, in the order they were nominated, will be allowed to address the committee for up to 3 minutes.
4. After a vote is taken, if no candidate has received the Missouri Revised Statute required 50% +1 minimum needed to receive the nomination, the candidate receiving the fewest number of votes will be eliminated from the nomination process and a new vote will be taken. If there is a tie between two or more candidates for the fewest votes received, and that tie is 2 votes or less per candidate, all of those tying candidates are eliminated from consideration. If the total vote for each candidate tied is 3 votes or more, a new election will be held without a candidate having been eliminated. Any candidate that gets no votes during any elections will be eliminated in addition to the candidate that receives the fewest votes. After a vote has been taken, and if no candidate has received the required majority, any current candidate or committee member may request that the body stand at ease for up to 5 minutes. If no request is made, then the meeting will proceed.
Justice told The Missouri Times he anticipated Congresswoman Emerson to officially announce her retirement between January 15 and February 15, although he has not spoken to Emerson about a specific timeline.
“She’ll send a letter to the Governor and the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State has 24 hours to notify me,” Justice said. “At that point I have two weeks to schedule a meeting to nominate.”
Justice said the nomination process would be open to both the media and the public and would be held in Van Buren, Missouri at The River Centre, but did not provide an exact date. “I have two weeks once I’m notified to schedule the meeting, but it might take much longer than that to actually organize it.”
Pursuant with Missouri Statute 115.300-400, the Chair and Vice Chair of every legislative district as well as every county in the 8th will have a vote in the process. A total of 86 members will be voting and because 14 members have positions on both the county and legislative district committees, the total number of votes will be an even 100, as long as everybody shows up on voting day. “No proxies are allowed by state law,” Justice said. “So if someone doesn’t show they don’t get a vote.”
The ballots will be secret and they will continue until an individual receives 50 percent of the vote plus one, according to the rules posted by Justice on Facebook. Justice said the actual voting process could take anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours. “Probably closer to four hours,” Justice said. “I do not foresee it turning into a donnybrook. The 8th Committee is made up of professional, mature people. I know plenty of people want the job, but I don’t foresee a contentious process.”
Justice said he did not anticipate a strong challenge from the Democratic party in the district, which elected Emerson with 65 percent of the vote in 2010.