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Race to Replace Blunt Getting Crowded

The primary election for the 7th Congressional District is still over a year away, but the Republican side of the race is already getting crowded. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner spoke with a political analyst about the front-runners and their positions on key issues.

Roy Blunt is leaving his Congressional seat to run for the soon-to-be vacated Senate seat currently held by Kit Bond.

Several Republicans are already fighting for the spot in the House of Representatives.

George Connor is a political science professor at Missouri State University.

He says this early in the race, potential Republican candidates will try to prove how conservative they are.

“The Republican rule of thumb is to move to the right in any primary election, so that’s just standard political rule, because that’s how you’re going to win the primary. This is especially important in the 7th District of Missouri, because the 7th district is generally considered to be one of the more conservative Republican districts in the state of Missouri and also in the United States,” Connor said.

Conner says it’s likely that most of the potential candidates will talk about religion and their opposing views on gay marriage and abortion.

He says he thinks Roy Blunt wasn’t conservative enough for this area, so the Republicans running to replace him will try to be as conservative as possible.

“So, I think what you see in the primary candidates is the normal rules of moving to the right, but I think that’s more prominent in the candidates that are running for this primary. They’re going to, between now and the election, fall over each other to be further right. And I think we saw that in the announcements of Nodler, Darrell Moore and certainly Billy Long,” Connor said.

Connor says he doesn’t think the race will come down to which candidate is more religious, but which one is toughest on crime, abortion, and stem cell research.

He says there probably won’t be any Democrats in the race because the area is so conservative.

“The Democrats don’t stand a chance. I mean, any Democrat that’s nominated is going to be a sacrificial lamb. Congressman Blunt for his weaknesses within the Republican still could handily defeat any Democrat. There just aren’t enough Democratic voters in the 7th district, across the 7th district,” Connor said.

Connor says there are several individuals who are already pulling ahead in this race.

He says the most popular people running are State Senators Gary Nodler and Jack Goodman, Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore and radio personality Billy Long.

He said although each individual has certain advantages, Senator Nodler comes with a certain amount of name recognition, the ability to raise money, and the fact that he's run in this race before.

Connor says even though Nodler may be a front runner at this time, there is still a chance another contender will take the lead.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.