Can a candidate for a higher minimum wage, for the stem cell ballot initiative, supportive of restoring Medicaid cuts for the working disabled and revamping the license fee offices really win a northern Greene County G.O.P primary?
That's what Joe Pyles is trying to do in the 139th.
The Republican primary for the 139th legislative district includes three candidates, Shane Schoeller, Joe Pyles and Karen Roark. I couldn't find campaign websites for Schoeller or Roark, so Pyles gets the only web profile for now.
On his campaign website, Pyles tries to make the case that he's the only candidate in this race that is serious about representing the 139th. "I didn't move to the 139th to run for office or file on the last day. I am not part of any political machine," Pyles writes.
A Fair Grove resident, Pyles has served on the West Plains city council and fought in Operation Desert Storm. He's now a media consultant, so it's not surprising he has a website. He talks about bringing "political attention" to northern Greene County, by holding community meetings and town hall events. His list of issues include noting his "pro-life, anti-gun control" stands, but his positions on hot-button topics like Medicaid and stem cells do stand out above all. You certainly don't see those positions on the campaign websites of many Republicans running in southwest Missouri.
Still, he seems to reject the label of a "progressive or moderate." We gave him that label in a previous entry. And he's responded on his site. "The media tries to label Joe as a progressive, moderate. He just reminds you that he is just a human being that's offering his services to represent all parties, all views."
Pyles is attempting to reach out to moderate Republicans and even Democrats. He says he's chosen the Republican party because it best governs free enterprise, prevents government intervention and doesn't find ways to raise taxes. But Pyles promises he'll listen to Democratic ideas respectfully and work with the other side effectively.
Pyles also tries to take the populist approach when it comes to money, pledging that while he may be outraised and outspent, it won't matter. He says he has a "conservative budget" of $45,750 to spend on this race. On the donation part of the site, he recommends an $80 contribution for a primary victory . . . and a $110 contribution for a general election win.
I haven't seen any evidence of where this primary race stands, but insiders say Karen Roark will be the favorite just because of her name. That means if Pyles is able to pull off a win this primary night, it would be one of the big stories of election night.