Did Lloyd Smith and Jo Ann Emerson Plan This All Along?

In an open Republican primary in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, a solid conservative would beat an establishment “my turn” Republican, hands down. And the Missouri GOP would hate it.

That’s why I smell a rat.

Would you be surprised to learn that Jo Ann Emerson and Lloyd Smith had this switcheroo planned months ago?  You have to admit that the timing is suspicious:

  • Emerson wins a certain re-election
  • Smith announces he’s stepping down as Missouri GOP Executive Director
  • Emerson announces she’s resigning to become Queen of Lobbyists
  • Missouri’s GOP Establishment breaks hips to tell reporters “Lloyd Smith’s our man!”

This is exactly how the Republican establishment does things.  They think the people of MO-8 are too stupid to pick the right candidate in a primary, so they make backroom deals  to appoint a deal-maker for them.


If that’s what’s going on here, It’s disgraceful.   Missouri’s 8th deserves better, but I’ve heard from sources that Emerson waited to announce her resignation until Smith was confident he had the votes among 8th District Republican committeemen and committeewomen to cost into the job.

You think Lloyd Smith tats will be the rage at SEMO next semester?

I’m sure Mr. Smith is a good guy. I have nothing against him as a person, and I’m sure he’s done some good for conservatives in his career.

I’m also pretty sure it’s his turn. Just like it was Mitt Romney’s turn. And John McCain’s. And Bob Dole’s.  And Gerald Ford’s.

America doesn’t need the next guy in line, and the GOP can’t afford another me-too, milquetoast faceless name in Congress.

At a time when the GOP desperately needs to energize some young people and excite its conservative base, I find it unfathomable that anyone would even mention Lloyd Smith.

Energy? Leadership? Charisma? Action? Accomplishment?

As Missouri GOP’s executive director, Smith failed to flip a single statewide office in 2012 even with Romney winning 54% of the vote.

Moreover, Smith was frozen by the Akin fiasco, doing nothing to contain the damage. He couldn’t keep Republicans from bashing Akin, and he couldn’t get Akin to gracefully exit.

You Can’t Squeeze A Union Card Between Lloyd Smith and Jo Ann Emerson

Smith was Jo Ann Emerson’s chief of staff.  That’s about the most damning thing one can say about a Republican operative.

Jo Ann Emerson’s specialty has been handing out your tax dollars to businesses and unions who hand them back to her. How fitting that she resigns from Congress weeks after being re-elected to become a lobbyist for one of the beneficiaries of Emerson’s crony capitalism gravy train.

John Fund at National Review writes:

In her congressional career, she often shied away from stringent budget-cutting measures and privately deplored bans on earmarks. In 2011, the National Journal found that she was only the 200th most conservative member of the House.

And remember, Lloyd Smith was her chief of staff. Here’s a few more highlights of Emerson’s miserable Washington career:

So why has the liberal Emerson kept her job in a very conservative Congressional District?


And, if there was backroom deal to replace Emerson with Smith or some other party boy, it’s because there’s no way Smith would win an open primary.

But once he’s in, he’s in for life.

I hope grassroots conservatives in MO-8 put a lot of pressure on the 80 Republican Committeemen and Committeewomen. The GOP will throw a lot of favors, offers, and promises their way to get the appointment they want.

This will be a test of whether or not the Tea Party has any clout at all in Missouri.


17 thoughts on “Did Lloyd Smith and Jo Ann Emerson Plan This All Along?”

  1. Bill – if this were two years ago – or any time before this last August’s committee elections – I might agree that this was a plan that might work. But this year’s county committee elections changed the entire dynamics of the process, and I’m not sure that Smith can count on getting a majority of the committee members now. And assuming that there are multiple names put before the committee and he just needs a plurality, that could leave a lot of angry people on the county committees refusing to support the GOP nominee, and potentially leave an opening for the Dems to win in a very low turnout election (the 2010 turnout was less than 200,000 voters; this election could see fewer than 100,0000). And Smith is politically savvy enough to know this.

    There is an opportunity to nominate and elect a principled conservative to this seat. However, just being a principled conservative doesn’t mean that you’re a capable campaigner – or a capable Congressman. I hope that someone steps forward that can be all three – conservative, a strong campaigner, and a competent legislator – but what I fear is that the nominating process will break down into internecine warfare, and let the Dems win the district by running a McCaskill clone.

  2. I absolutely agree that conservative need to stop falling in love with candidates who walk the walk but can’t talk the talk. A loser is a loser no matter how “right” he or she might be. Every conservative should read this http://www.redstate.com/2012/12/05/conservatives-actually-suck-at-this/.

    Also, there are at least 2 outstanding candidates in MO8 would have won big races consistently. Either would be an excellent choice. I would not even consider a candidate who not won a statewide race (Treasurer, for instance) or Missouri State Senate.

    This IS America. We should demand and expect candidates who are the complete package: smart, right, principled, and charismatic. I’m sick of losing winnable races because we fall in love with someone’s convictions. People get tired of hearing about Reagan, but electability is not optional. We’re better off NOT running a candidate than running a laughing stock.

  3. Perhaps tea party folks should do their own vetting of potential candidates, and then back the consensus best one to the hilt. That would include lobbying the GOP nominating committee, and if that fails, launching a petition drive to run that candidate as an independent. District conservatives are sophisticated enough to vote for an independent. When Bill Emerson died, the Dems rigged the process so that only the vanity candidates that filed against him in the primary would be allowed to compete in the Republican primary, greasing the skids for a formidable establishment Democrat woman. But JoAnn ran as an independent and won handiliy. The process of getting the petition signatures is an opportunity to do the grassroots work necessary to win the election, and if the petition drive falls short, our candidate probably wouldn’t have won the 3-way race and won’t be on the ballot to be a spoiler for some phony like Tommy Sowers.

    1. According to my rough calculations, we would need 6008 valid signatures, all from folks registered to vote in the 8th district, to get on the ballot. Some signatures are always disallowed, so the goal should be 10,000 signatures. The time for obtaining those signatures will be short.

    2. The problem is that, this time, if there’s both a GOP candidate and an “independent” candidate (who’ll need to have pretty deep pockets to begin with, since they’ll have to use paid petition gatherers due to the short time period to collect signatures), and possibly even a Libertarian and/or Constitution Party candidate(s), if the Dems sense an opening, they’ll flood the district, and the campaign will be run by Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ and Steve Israel’s campaign teams, working to split the conservative vote and get all of them fighting each other and ignoring the “sane, rational, centrist” Democrat candidate. I don’t expect the turnout to be much over 100,000 votes, if that. It’s too risky to run an “independent” candidate this time.

    1. And the plot thickens.

      It’d be interesting to know when Emerson informed the MOGOP brass of her job negotiations.

      Seems that she is far more valuable to the lobbying group if her relief in Congress will readily take meetings with her.

  4. As a long-time resident of MO8 and a young conservative, I am glad that Emerson is finally leaving the seat. I’ve seen exactly how difficult it is to successfully challenge her in a GOP Primary. And given all the points you’ve made in this article, I truly hope that a genuinely conservative, non-RINO can secure the nomination.

    My problem right now is centered around learning what the hell the actual process will be for nominating a candidate. From what I’ve been told, the County Committee Chairs, County Committee Vice Chairs, Legislative District Chairs, and Legislative District Vice Chairs of the MO8 district will be the people who vote on which candidate gets the nomination. However, even if that is the case, it’s still unclear how that group of individuals will actually vote on nominees and what determines the “winner” of that voting process. Surely this process is WRITTEN somewhere and is available online. I have yet to be able to find it. Perhaps the lack of clarity on the replacement process is yet another tool the MO GOP establishment plans to use to keep one of their own in the MO8 seat. Eddy Justice, the Chairman of the MO GOP 8th Congressional District Committee has been a big supporter of Jo Ann Emerson through the years.

    1. Here’s what we already know, from MOGOP press release:

      The process for selecting a replacement:

      The following process will occur once a vacancy is declared (in this case, it will not be until February):

      Once the Governor and Secretary of State are notified of the vacancy, the Secretary of State will have 24 hours to notify the 8th Congressional District GOP Committee.

      The Governor will select the date for the election, and according to RSMO 21.110, he must provide at least 10 weeks notice.

      Once the 8th Congressional District GOP Committee is informed of the vacancy, the Chairman of the committee will call a meeting of the committee to select a Republican candidate to run in the special election. The meeting must occur within the congressional district, and a majority of members of the committee must attend in person.

      I’m guessing (only guessing) that the committee will take votes until a candidate gets 50%+1. Each round, the candidate who gets the fewest votes drops out.

      I do know that the candidates will be pleading their cases to the committeemen and committeewomen beginning immediately. Others will lobby, too.

      There is time. Emerson’s seat won’t be vacant until February 8. There must be 10-weeks before the election. The parties will want to give their candidates as much time as possible, so I’d expect that committee meeting to happen fairly quickly.

      Organization, a great candidate, and a great message are critical. The faster fiscal conservatives can unify around a candidate, the better the chances.

      The good news is that grassroots conservatives picked up a lot of committee seats last August. The MOGOP of 2013 will not be the MOGOP of the last 2 years.

      1. Bill –

        Thanks for gathering that information. I appreciate it. I have been in contact with one of the committee vice chairs I know over the last couple of days about this process as well. Apparently, Eddy Justice, the chairman of the GOP for MO8, is out of the country right now. With that, it’s still unclear what exactly the process will be.

        I’ll definitely be checking out the Missouri Precinct Project as well. If conservatives are going to be able to do anything other than complain about RINOs, we MUST get our act together and have a game plan. I’d love to see many, many more young conservatives involved in these battles. The problem is, all of the other young conservatives I know are living out their values – working hard, raising a young family, involved with charity, etc. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to stay involved within the political parties. Add to that the fact that the GOP has been such an insiders-only game, and it’s no real wonder why young, intelligent, well-principled conservatives have stayed away from the whole process, other than casting their votes.

  5. The real key is going to be finding out who the people on each of the county committees are, what are their backgrounds, and just where on the political spectrum they fall. For at least the next two years, the idea that county committee people are long time, die hard Republicans is out the window. You’re just as likely to find people that will vote against ANY elected Republican (they’re obviously with the “establishment”, and therefore part of the problem and not to be trusted) as for them.

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