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Snow Does Not Deter Congress Debate Thursday 7PM In Oakville

A separate event promises to explain the state's road map to selecting GOP presidential delegates from Missouri.

A candidate debate takes place Thursday 7 p.m. (tonight) with former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner and attorney Ed Martin at the Cliff Cave Branch of the St. Louis County Library.

Library staff said the library was open, despite snow. Cliff Cave Branch Library, 5430 Telegraph Rd., Oakville, 314-994-3300.

The forum marks the latest meeting between the two leading candidates for the U.S. Congress seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO.)

This week, we learned that a third candidate may enter the Republican fray. Webster Groves physician Randy Jotte is considering the contest. Jotte previously ran unsuccessful races for state representative and for the St. Louis County Council.

Akin, fresh off a GOP U.S. Senate debate earlier this week with former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, will also attend the Thursday night forum.

Businessman John Brunner, who did not participate in the KTRS/St. Louis Beacon debate, is also expected to attend.

While it’s possible that U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) could run in the 2nd District, there’s also been talk of him running in the state’s 1st Congressional District. That would put Carnahan on a collision course with U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, a St. Louis Democrat who has repeatedly said he is running for re-election.

Missouri lost a district and lost a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives (Carnahan) as a result of the 2010 U.S. Census totals, showing a drop in population for St. Louis. Those seats are based on population.

An earlier column noted commentary by former state Sen. Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis) saying Carnahan’s best shot would be running in the 1st District. The St. Louis American on Thursday published a different take on the situation, arguing that Carnahan’s best shot involves running in the 2nd District.

Who's on first? The GOP primary

As noted numerous times before, the GOP process for selecting presidential delegates is not exactly straightforward.

Even though there’s a primary in February, as of now, delegates will be selected at caucuses held in March, to go to the GOP convention to select a presidential candidate.

In an attempt to sort the situation out for area Republicans, MO Rep. Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) is planning a “Presidential Primary Preview” at Westminster Christian Academy in Town and Country.

The event will feature an explanation of the state’s presidential delegate situation by Missouri Republican Party political director Robert Knodell.

In addition to a straw poll and presentations from presidential campaigns, the evening will also feature analysis from political science professor Rick Hardy. Hardy, who used to teach at the University of Missouri and ran for Congress as a Republican in the 1990s, currently teaches at Western Illinois University.

Stream has also invited a number of area Republicans such as Rep. John Diehl, (R-Town and Country) and Sen. Jim Lembke (R-Lemay.)

More information can be found on the event's Facebook page.

It should be noted that if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney prevails in South Carolina later this month, the race may be effectively over. At least that’s the opinion of former House Speaker Rod Jetton, a Marble Hill Republican who supported Romney’s bid in 2008.

“The other candidates will make South Carolina a closer race, but most likely he wins that state as well as Florida he will pull away for good,” Jetton wrote in Politico's Arena.

Empty room

The reconfigured state legislative maps have prompted a whole lot of shuffling from lawmakers across the state. And unsurprisingly, incumbent legislators aren’t exactly thrilled about the situation.

House Minority Leader Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City) and House Majority Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka) wrote a letter to the judicial commission responsible for ultimately drawing the boundaries asking for the commission's records.

Now, former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Michael Wolff has penned an opinion-editorial piece for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, noting the “oddest irony” of the situation “is that judges—who have been criticized by some legislators for years for being too 'political' in their judgments—are under attack for not being political enough.”

“So what do these six know or care about electoral politics? To look at the maps they produced, one would have to say, 'not much,'” Wolff wrote. “For instance, they put more than 50 House incumbents in districts in which they would face other incumbents in elections this year.

In the Senate, they gave a politically safe district to Sen. Jim Lembke, the most persistent and pernicious of the courts' legislative critics, and they awarded Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a thoughtful and able lawyer who consistently has defended the judiciary, a district that is more difficult to win than his current district.”

“So, obviously, these nonpartisan judges took no account of where incumbents live and who they are,” he added. “Imagine that: a nonpolitical result.”

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