'America's Got Talent' Star Looks to Missouri House
Neal Boyd announced he will run for a Missouri House seat next year.
As a fan of both politics and entertainment, I grudgingly admit sometimes imagining what my coverage routine would be like if celebrities were in public office.
For instance, St. Louis County Council meetings would be a little bit more interesting if Cornell Haynes, Jr.—known to the world as Nelly—was pouring over the issues. And you couldn’t imagine my excitement if St. Charles County resident and professional wrestling superstar Randy Orton successfully ran for state representative. Because, you know, he’d go to the papers if he had to talk about a plan to the entice creation of a China Hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
But this week, the worlds of entertainment and Missouri politics did actually collide when Neal Boyd, the winner of the 2008 America’s Got Talent competition, told the Southeast Missourian that he would run for a Sikeston-based state House seat as a Republican next year. Boyd, who has wowed audiences with his singing ability, is expected to face off in the GOP primary against Holly Rehder. Rehder previously worked for the campaign of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau.
Boyd isn’t the first Missouri celebrity to consider entering elected office. Bill Kenney, a former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, won election in the 1990s to a suburban Kansas City state Senate seat. And Brock Olivo, who had a celebrated career with the Missouri Tigers, ran unsuccessfully in 2008 for a U.S. Congressional seat that included parts of St. Charles County.
Of course, as noted here several times, the actual composition of Boyd’s district won’t be known until a panel of judges hash out a revamped state House map. A panel tasked with making new districts in light of the 2010 census failed to come to a consensus.
MARTIN BAKES, WHILE WAGNER GETS A BIRTHDAY PITCH
At least one of the candidates for the 2nd Congressional House seat got up really early to showcase an element of his campaign.
Ed Martin, an attorney and former chief of staff for Gov. Matt Blunt, spent a good chunk of his early Tuesday morning toiling at McArthur’s Bakery in South County. The owner of McArthur's, Randy McArthur, is treasurer for Martin's campaign.
The event, Martin said, was aimed at checking the pulse of local businesses.
"When you work with someone, you hear what is really happening and that's what happened yesterday at McArthur's," Martin said in a statement. "Workers are feeling more strain and worry, and business owners are feeling pinched by high fuel prices, too many regulations, and soaring health care costs. McArthur's Bakery and businesses like it are the backbone of America, and they are under assault by Obama and his policies. We need elected officials who will not go along but will fight back."
Meanwhile, the campaign of Martin’s Republican rival, Ann Wagner, sent out a fundraising pitch to correspond with the former Missouri Republican Party chairwoman’s birthday. Ann Wagner’s husband, Ray Wagner, sent out an email asking for people to “make a contribution online of $49 in honor of her birthday.”
“For this campaign to be successful, it will require a strong, effective grassroots organization,” Ray Wagner said in the email. “We will need to be able to spread our message with brochures, yard signs, bumper stickers and even pizza to fuel our hard-working volunteers.”
Even though the race between the two could get testy over time, it should be noted that Martin wished Wagner a happy birthday through Twitter. Wagner, a resident of Ballwin, thanked Martin.
One interesting note from one of my favorite Missouri political scribes: Arch City Chronicle founder Dave Drebes reported that Bill Corrigan, a Republican attorney who unsuccessfully ran for St. Louis County Executive last year, was asked to run for attorney general. Drebes wrote that Corrigan declined the offer.
It will be worth watching to see if Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster draws a legitimate Republican challenger next year. Koster, who shocked many in 2007 by leaving the Republican Party, is a prolific fundraiser who managed in 2008 to successfully steer through a nasty Democratic primary and a competitive general election contest.
If he wins next year, don’t be surprised if speculation begins on whether Koster runs next to replace Gov. Jay Nixon or decides to take on Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO., in 2016. The same speculation could revolve around Democratic Treasurer Clint Zweifel if he also wins re-election next year.