A Better St. Louis. Powered by Journalism.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Email

Nixon sets June 4 to fill vacant 8th District seat, much later than Republicans wanted

In Elections

2:47 pm on Tue, 01.22.13

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that he is setting a special election for June 4 for voters in the state’s 8th congressional district to choose a replacement U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau.

That’s two months later than Emerson had hoped. She had decided to step down as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, a move up from her initial retirement date, to give Nixon the legal 10 weeks to call the special election for April 2.

Jo Ann Emerson
Jo Ann Emerson

Still, a spokesman for Emerson said today that she recognized that it was up to the governor to set the date.

Nixon’s staff says the hangup is compliance with federal and state laws set up to enable members of the military stationed overseas to vote.

“Under the (federal) MOVE Act and state law, the deadline for military ballots to be printed and made available, and for local election authorities to begin transmitting those ballots to military and overseas voters, is 45 days before a general, primary or special election for federal office,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

Jay Nixon
Jay Nixon

“The deadline for candidates to file is no later than 5 p.m. on the day that is the midpoint between the date when the election is called and election day. Independent candidates also must submit their petitions by this midway point. Local election authorities then have at least 10 days but no more than 40 days to process those independent candidate petitions.”

By the deadline that candidates are allowed to file, his staff says there's not the adequate 45 days left (for the military vote requirement) to set the special election April 2.

April 2 versus June 4

Emerson is leaving to begin a job March 1 as the new chief executive for the national Rural Electric Cooperatives Association. The district's congresswoman since 1996, Emerson handily won re-election Nov. 6.

Emerson had sought the April 2 date to prevent a long vacancy in her seat. She also had believed that the April 2 date would save money because local authorities often have other items on that same ballot.

Nixon noted that June 4 also is a regularly scheduled election day in Missouri so the additional costs may be minimal, if local authorities have other matters on the ballot.

Nixon, a Democrat, didn’t mention that keeping the 8th District seat vacant for a longer period could benefit his party.

Longer vacancy may help Democrats

The GOP margin in the U.S. House is smaller than it was in 2012, and therefore a vacant GOP-held seat could help Democrats.

In Missouri, a crowd of Republicans is vying to replace Emerson, including Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau. Missouri Republicans currently are trying to outmaneuver Nixon, who would appoint a replacement to Kinder should he win the congressional seat.

The Missouri House is planning to deliberate a bill later today to restrict the governor's power to appoint a replacement for statewide vacancies and require a special election instead. (Congressional vacancies already require a special election.)

If the 8th District special election is set for June 4, that could complicate the picture for the state. If Kinder won the party's 8th District nomination, his lieutenant governor post wouldn't be vacant until after that special election.

The Missouri House also would be in recess at that time. So should a bill pass the General Assembly this session to curb the governor's appointment powers, such restrictions -- even if approved by legislators -- might not be in effect by June 4.

The governor also would be expected to veto the measure, which could kick any legislative override attempt to the fall veto session.

The upshot? The governor might still get to fill any lieutenant governor vacancy.

Timing may be crucial. If the General Assembly passes the bill early enough in the session, Nixon must act within 15 days. That could give the General Assembly time to override a veto. And all that could happen before June 4.

And there's another wrinkle: The Missouri House's GOP majority, now 109 votes (the exact number to override a Nixon veto), might drop out of veto-proof territory if the 8th District Republican leaders who choose the nominee select -- instead of Kinder -- one of several state House members vying for the congressional seat.

Emerson offices to remain open

Emerson chief of staff Jeffrey Connor said that until the vacancy is filled, her offices will remain open -- in Washington and in the 8th District -- to deal with constituent services.

The offices will not handle any legislative issues, and no proxy votes could be cast on Emerson's behalf.

Connor said the staff will officially work for the House clerk until the replacement is elected and sworn into office. Connor and other Emerson aides won't be allowed to talk to the news media without approval of the clerk.

1 Comment

Join The Beacon

When you register with the Beacon, you can save your searches as news alerts, rsvp for events, manage your donations and receive news and updates from the Beacon team.

Register Now

Already a Member

Getting around the new site

Take a look at our tutorials to help you get the hang of the new site.

Most Discussed Articles By Beacon Members

Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation

7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12

Meeting in St. Louis next week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will have its first opportunity as an assembled group to consider what to do after the Vatican issued a mandate for change this spring. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The 'free' Zoo

In Commentary

7:51 am on Tue, 05.22.12

When a family of four goes to the St. Louis Zoo, they can be forgiven for not knowing it will cost them $60, $72 if they park. If they can't pay, the alternative is to tell the kids they can't do what kids do at the zoo.

Featured Articles

House sends Boeing incentive bill to Nixon

In Economy

12:55 pm on Fri, 12.06.13

The Missouri House easily passed legislation aimed at attracting production of the 777x, a move that wraps up a legislative special session that saw little suspense and few surprises. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who has strongly supported the legislation.

Gandhi inspired Mandela on South Africa's 'Long Road to Freedom'

In World

10:10 am on Fri, 12.06.13

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a towering moral figure of the 20th century -- along with Mahatma Gandhi. It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa. It was when Mandela won election as South Africa’s first black president that Gandhi's influence became apparent.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Encore: Dead before death

In Performing Arts

12:58 am on Fri, 12.06.13

For years , the author was certain he would never come to appreciate The Grateful Dead, let alone be a Deadhead. But little by little, he's come around. He talks about his conversion and relates a real evolution: by a musician who went on to play with the Schwag, a Dead cover band.

Featured Articles

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

In Region

4:57 pm on Tue, 12.03.13

The attorney has founded Arch Grants, which brings together nonprofit philanthropy and commercially viable opportunitiesto fund new business startups, and Mentor St. Louis, which finds adult mentors for elementary students in the St. Louis Public School System. He was the driving force behind the state's historic tax credit program.

BioGenerator sets open house to celebrate new digs for entrepreneurs-in-residence

In InnovationSTL

12:29 pm on Tue, 11.12.13

BioSTL's BioGenerator organization is on the move as its entrepreneurs-in-residence find a new home in 4,300 square feet of office and conference space in an old automobile factory. The blossoming program, which helps BioGenerator's portfolio companies to get off the ground, continues to pay dividends within the growing biotech community.

Ambassadors aim to soften rough landing for St. Louis immigrants

In InnovationSTL

6:34 am on Fri, 11.08.13

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is set to hold an orientation for its new ambassadors -- dozens of foreign and native-born volunteers who aim to help make the community a more welcoming place for those from other nations. Participants will be expected to do everything from visiting local restaurants serving international cuisine to having dinner with an immigrant to the area.

Recent Articles

More Articles

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity are on the rise in St. Louis, especially in bioscience, technology and alternative energy. The Beacon's InnovationSTL section focuses on the people who are part of this wave, what they're doing and how this is shaping our future. To many St. Louisans, this wave is not yet visible. InnovationSTL aims to change that. We welcome you to share your knowledge, learn more about this vibrant trend and discuss its impact.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Featured Articles

Featured Events:

Upcoming Events

View Full Calendar

More About The Beacon Home