Missouri candidate filing begins Tuesday, despite uncertainty over some offices
As a result of lack of legislative action to change the date, the Missouri secretary of state’s office is emphasizing that candidate filing – on all levels – will begin at 8 a.m. next Tuesday.
Filing will proceed despite uncertainty about some of the boundaries of the legislative districts, as well as those for Congress.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan noted that her statement emphasizes that state law stipulates when candidate filing begins. And only the General Assembly can change the date.
Carnahan's staff sought to dispel rumors among legislators that she could delay the start of filing unilaterally.
Despite efforts by some legislators, both chambers failed to act last week on options to delay filing. The upshot is that nothing has changed, and mostly likely won’t, to alter the month-long, candidate-filing period.
As a result, Tuesday’s once-every-two-year launch of candidate filing could be even more chaotic than usual.
The hang-up, for congressional and legislative offices, has been the court fights that have delayed a final determination of what the boundaries will be. Legislators and various commissions had been charged with drawing new boundaries last year for the General Assembly and Congress to reflect the 2010 census.
The Missouri Supreme Court has yet to rule – but is expected to do so soon -- on a lawsuit challenging the new lines for the state’s remaining eight congressional districts.
But, in the meantime, says Carnahan, the new boundaries approved by the General Assembly last spring remain in effect. Candidates are advised to file with those new boundaries taken into account.
Ditto for the state House districts’ new boundaries, which were drawn by judges after a bipartisan commission failed to reach an agreement. The high court is slated to hear on Monday the lawsuit challenging the new map for the 163 districts. But unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise, the new boundaries rule.
There is definitely uncertainty about the boundaries for the 34-member state Senate. A new commission agreed on a new map late Wednesday, but that map will not be final for the 15-day comment period that began Thursday.
The new map dramatically changed the state Senate district boundaries in the St. Louis.
The commission’s vote of 8-2 also could change during those 15 days. If fewer than seven commissioners back the map, it is scuttled.
The commission chairman says he has no plans to draw up another map, and expects a federal judge to take over if support collapses for the new map.
“Because of that, candidates who intend to file for state Senate may consider waiting until after the final map is filed with our office,” Carnahan said in a statement. “For anyone who chooses to file for state Senate before the boundaries are finalized they may later withdraw, pay another filing fee and re-file in another district until filing closes on March 27 at 5 p.m.”
On the local level, candidates also will begin filing Tuesday for St. Louis County Council, and for certain “county offices’’ elected citywide in the city of St. Louis.
A federal judge this week issued new boundary lines for the seven council seats, which are expected to stand. St. Louis’ county offices, such as city treasurer and circuit attorney, are not affected by redistricting.