DAVID ROSMAN: Registered write-in candidate offers difference for 9th

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

What is it with the Missouri Democratic Party? Have they become too selective as to races to support and issues to back? This cannot be more evident than the current campaign for Blaine Luetkemeyer’s 9th Congressional District seat.

The Democrats decided that they would not seek a candidate, viable or not, to challenge the congressman and no one stood up to be tested. Maybe it is because Luetkemeyer is such a strong candidate that no one could beat him? No, that can’t be it.

Maybe it is because no one knows if the 9th District will survive the 2010 census or what redistricting will do? No. Even a one-time candidate holds a special place with the party and the community. The Libertarian Party has a selected challenger. Why can’t the Democrats?

Yet there is a candidate representing the liberal and progressive causes of the district. There is one person who is brave enough not only to run against Blaine, but is doing it the hard way — as a write-in candidate.

Jeff Reed, write-in candidate for Missouri’s 9th District.

Jeff and I met at a Coffee Party Movement meeting, which are held Saturdays at noon at Kaldi’s Coffee in Columbia . His want to maintain a reasonable conversation concerning Missouri’s needs and representation in Washington impressed me.

Jeff is rightfully upset that the Democrats had no one to be at least a placeholder on the November ticket. As much in jest as seriousness, he asked, “What if I would run for 9th District as a write-in candidate?” We discussed the need to meet state and federal election laws, and how to register as a write-in candidate. We spoke of campaign committees, donations, record keeping and campaigning.

A few days later, I received a message for Jeff. “I registered to be a write-in candidate. Am I crazy?”

Yes, he is. However, one has to be a “few bricks short” to challenge the traditional established routes to a congressional seat. As a write-in, Reed starts at the bottom of an unusually high and smooth marble wall to climb for even a glimmer of name recognition.

In a time where being the “outsider” is considered an advantage, Reed meets that category to a “T.” He is from working stock in Moberly. Like everyone else in the 9th District, Reed works from whenever to whatever in good times and bad. He certainly is not a multi-millionaire, as are many of the neo-cons in the running for various elected positions. This is truly a grassroots effort.

Reed currently has no committee. His website is in the works and has no method of collecting donations, though he does have a possible treasurer for the campaign. Yet, these are not deterrents, just challenges to overcome.

Reed acknowledges that the current health care law is not perfect but is better than having nothing. As most Missourians, he does not like the mandates.

When asked about the repeal and rewrite of the 14th Amendment, Reed called it a “red meat issue,” one designed to take the public’s eyes and ears away from the real issues.

Education is high on his list, supporting the U.S. and Missouri departments of education. Education means more business in Missouri. More business means more jobs. More jobs mean a better economy.

Missouri’s unfortunate occasional title of “Meth Capital” is disturbing to Reed, who believes that encouraging better law enforcement tactics with funding to local and state enforcement agencies based on risk assessment and success.

We talked about a number of other issues, TARP, offshore drilling, and Afghanistan among others. His knowledge is the same as most of us, based on what we read in the papers, on the Internet and see on television. Reed knows he has a lot of work to do.

Jeff Reed has thrown his hat into the ring and is intending to send a message to the citizens of the 9th District; you do have another choice. One who is not a suit representing big business or lobbyists. One who is truly an outsider and knows what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck. He is one of us, not one of them.

Of course, he has one advantage. Jeff Reed is easy to remember and to spell.

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at and New York Journal of Books.


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