VOTERS GUIDE 2012: Candidates for secretary of state

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 9:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:09 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Editor's note: This story originally publishedin advance of the August primary. It has been updated to include information about the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. This article is part of the Missourian's 2012 general election voters guide. This article is part of the Missourian's 2012 general election voters guide.

WHAT'S THE JOB? Missouri’s secretary of state is the state’s custodian of records, tasked with keeping records of official acts of the governor and other official actions.

The office’s other duties include:

  • Certifying legislatively proposed statewide ballot measures and preparing ballots. The office must also certify and publish election results.
  • Regulating and enforcing the state’s securities laws as well as maintaining corporate registrations and filings.
  • Registering all businesses that wish to operate within the state.

The secretary of state must have been a U.S. citizen and a resident of the state for at least one year before being elected. The salary is $107,746.

Missouri’s Secretary of State is Democrat Robin Carnahan, who is not seeking re-election. Secretaries of state serve four-year terms and do not have term limits.

The candidates

Jason Kander (D)

Kander was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2008 from a district encompassing parts of Kansas City. While in the House, Kander served on the Budget Committee and pushed for ethics legislation setting limits on campaign finance.

Kander said he wants to be secretary of state because "every year we see more and more issues being sent to the ballot to be decided on by the voters, and we need a secretary of state who has the courage to write nonpartisan, fair ballot language."

He also added that, if elected, he would push for campaign finance reform and strive to safeguard families from financial fraud.

In 2006, Kander, an Army captain, volunteered to be deployed to Afghanistan, where he investigated those suspected of government corruption, espionage, drug trafficking and facilitating Al Qaeda and the Taliban, according to his website.

  • Personal: Married to Diana Kander.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from American University; law degree from Georgetown University.
  • Occupation: Attorney and former captain in the U.S. Army.
  • Background: Enlisted in the Army Reserve after 9/11 and served in an infantry unit before receiving his commission as a military intelligence officer; former member of Missouri National Guard; serves on the Missouri Veterans Commission.
  • Campaign website:

Shane Schoeller (R)

Schoeller was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2006, representing a southwest Missouri district north of Springfield. In 2011 he was chosen to be speaker pro tem.

He said he is running for office to "pass and implement a voter ID requirement because every vote should be protected from fraud, distortion and interference."

Schoeller also said he would write "fair and accurate" ballot summaries.

He previously worked as an administrative aide in the secretary of state's office for Matt Blunt.

  • Personal: Age 40. Married to Mendie Schoeller. They have three children.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from Southwest Baptist University, 1994.
  • Occupation: Worked for Students in Free Enterprise and was director of Government Affairs for the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield.
  • Background: Member of the National Rifle Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau.
  • Campaign website:

Cisse Spragins (L)

Spragins, a Kansas City Libertarian, did not respond to the Missourian's requests for additional information about her campaign. She filed a form with the Missouri Ethics Commission in July indicating that she would neither raise nor spend $500 for this election.



  • Personal: Age 49. Married to Sean O'Toole.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Tennessee. Spragins has a master's degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Occupation: Founder, owner and CEO of Rockwall Labs, a pest control manufacturing company.

Justin Harter (C)

Justin Harter could not be reached for comment. Requests from Constitution Party officials went unanswered. Harter has filed no campaign finance forms with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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