The signs are out. The talking points are flowing.
And all three candidates for the District 34 Missouri House of Representatives are hitting their particular constituencies for support and votes.
What’s unusual about this August primary isn’t that there are three candidates vying for the Republican race. Or that all three come from different areas of the Republican Party.
What’s remarkable is how many social issues have already injected itself into the political fray and, if we watch carefully, how much of that will drive the vote.
Does a candidates’ stand on abortion matter to the voter when we are sending someone to Jefferson City?
What about capital punishment? Stem-cell research?
On the other side, does it matter what the candidates for this race think about education funding, tax incentives or issues concerning the ongoing fiscal issues with MoDOT?
Each voter would answer that differently.
If we assume all things are equal on this Election Day – optimal weather, average voter turnout, lack of a last-minute scandal – what really drives the Republican voter on Aug. 5 to choose between Bob Johnson, Justin Kalwei and Rebecca Roeber?
The sunny side of this primary could shine on the more moderate candidate, Johnson as any voter of any political ilk can hit the polls day that – Democrats, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Green Party (are they still around?) – anyone.
Would the more conservative views of Roeber and Kalwei ultimately split the votes from their base and give Johnson an edge?
I have to believe each campaign is asking all these questions. If not, they should be.
What issues are truly separating the candidates here?
We will get some answers to that on July 22 as we hold our one and only candidate forum led by the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce at the Gamber Center.
There, voters will get to hear from all three District 34 candidates, as well as those running in contested races for the Jackson County Legislature.
Come armed with a pen, paper and some questions for all the candidates.
Because, as we’ve learned the last few cycles, picking the right person for Jefferson City is crucial to Lee’s Summit.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lees Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.