Next Tuesday I will cast my first ballot ever in Missouri's eighth congressional district. Because our state has no statewide offices up for grabs this election cycle, the highest spot on the ticket will be candidates for Congress.
There are five congressional hopefuls on the ballot in the eighth district. The Republican incumbent is 34-year-old Jason Smith, a St. Louis native, who won his seat in a special election in June of 2013. Smith is a lawyer, real estate agent, and proud NRA member - or as they say in baseball: "Strike one, strike two, and strike three!" Yet, unless he gets embroiled in some major morality scandal in the next few days, he ought to be easily re-elected to his place at the public trough.
The Democrat is a first time candidate for office who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary in August. Seventy-seven-year-old Barbara Stocker is a retired biochemical engineer who has worked with Purina and Monsanto - two entries that I would prefer not having on my resume.
Rick Vandeven is the Libertarian candidate. He ran for the same position and lost in 2012. Vandeven seems to adhere to most of the Libertarian Party line including those of being pro-gun and pro-pot.
The Constitution Party is running Doug Enyart. He ran and lost in the 2013 special election to fill the same seat. Enyart is a "consulting forester." He is very pro-gun and believes the "gun control crowd" is trying to push "law-abiding" citizens into a corner. He also believes states have the right to nullify "unconstitutional" acts of Congress. (I thought the nullification issue was settled by the Civil War!)
One Independent is also running. Terry Hampton is a young grandmother from West Plains who writes for one of the local newspapers. She has published two books and also owned a couple of local businesses. Hampton's primary concerns seem to be with professional politicians who are in politics for what they can get out of it, and the serious lack of controls over the financing of campaigns.
I will cast my vote for Ms. Hampton and wish her well in her initial foray into politics. My second choice would be Barbara Stocker, third would be Rick Vandeven, and I would write myself in before voting for Smith or Enyart.
I only have one vote in this election, a contest where tens of thousands will be cast, but . . .
I'm Pa Rock, and I do vote - every time!