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Monday, May 2, 2016

Political news of current and bygone days

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Has the re-districting of Missouri`s Senate and House districts left you totally confused? The panel charged with re-drawing the lines couldn`t get it done to the satisfaction of some and so re-drawing the lines ended up being done behind closed doors. Even that didn`t resolve things and the whole thing ended up in the courts -- where the lines were changed again.

Some candidates announced early and got out to do a little campaigning even before the official filing period opened. They spent some time, and likely a little money, in the district. Then the lines changed and some parts of the old district where they had been spending a little time were no longer in the district.

Then the re-districting ended up in the courts where the lines were once again re-drawn and guess what? In at least a couple of cases the part of the district that was cut out in the first revision was drawn back in. By that time most of the candidates decided to go a little slower and let all the legal challenges be resolved before spending too much more time, energy and money.

If the candidates (and the rest of us) have been confused there's no reason to feel too bad. Apparently the Secretary of State's office, the election authority in Missouri, has also been confused.

One outcome of the redistricting was the re-numbering of the districts. Under the previous district map Dunklin County was split into two districts; the 163rd (basically Kennett north and included parts of Stoddard and Butler counties) and the 162nd which was the southern part of the county and included Pemiscot County and part of New Madrid. This district is now the 150th District

The northern part of Stoddard County and part of Cape Girardeau County was the old 159th District and is now the 151st District.

One candidate for the House of Representatives in Stoddard County traveled to Jefferson City to file his candidacy. I don't know how the conversation went, but presumably the candidate said he wanted to file in the 159th District. The SOS's office promptly registered him and recorded his address in Stoddard County as a candidate for the 159th District. The problem is that the 159th District is now in the Joplin area.

So if candidates and voters are confused don't be dismayed -- so too, are the people charged with running the election.

* * *

Failing grade

I couldn't help but chuckle at the assertion of Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu's comment when testifying before the House Oversight Committee about gasoline prices that he deserved better than the A- grade recommended by members of the committee.

The reason I found Chu's remark laughable is because by his own admission Chu doesn't even own a car. As a Cabinet secretary Chu gets driven around anywhere he wants to go and most likely that vehicle is an SUV. Now to be fair, his wife does own a car -- a 2002 BMW 325i. Maybe the committee should have asked her about what she thought of the price of gasoline.

Another little ironic twist. Chu is so enthusiastic about alternative sources of energy yet his wife is driving an old gas guzzler. Wonder why he doesn't step up and buy her a Chevy Volt? A cynic would probably say that's just the liberals being liberal - telling us what we need to do yet they live by a different standard.

* * *

"The Kentucky Situation

"There was great excitement all of last week, after the shooting of Gov. Goebel, and until a truce was declared on Wednesday, as a result of a conference of prominent democrats and republicans at Louisville and Frankfort.

"It now appears that (Attorney General William S.) Taylor, who was holding the office of governor by force, surrounded by 1,200 armed militiamen, including a lot of wild mountaineers, will retire in favor of (John C. W.) Beckham, democrat, lieutenant governor, who was sworn in as governor on the death of Goebel. The courts will be allowed to settle the contest.

"The legislature is to again be permitted to meet at Frankfort.

"The soldiers are to be withdrawn from the capitol.

"Both parties are to endeavor to secure the passage of a fair non-partisan election law.

"The republican officers are to have immunity from charges of treason, usurpation, etc.

"The remains of Gov. Goebel were taken to Covington, his home, and laid in state until yesterday when the body was taken back to Frankfort and interred in the state cemetery."

And you thought today's election politics were nasty. Goebel was actually shot before he was sworn into office. He was administered the oath of office (per the website listing a history of Kentucky's governors) after being shot. The Secretary of State, Republican Caleb Power (from who offices it was alleged the shot was fired), was tried four times and eventually served eight years in prison. He was subsequently pardoned and later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The same cynic who spoke earlier would probably say Power went from one building housing criminals to another, just at a different address.

Thanks to the DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian Vivian Helton for finding that election news on the pages of the Friday, Feb. 9, 1900 edition of the Dunklin Democrat.

Bud Hunt is regional vice

president, publisher of the

Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and

North Stoddard Countian.