PLANS 2010 STATE SENATE RUN
"I'll jump in and spoil things"
ON BLUNT'S RE-ELECTION CHANCES:
"50% and under"
HOPING FOR HUCKABEE WIN
"Because Blunt and Jetton are for Romney"
There's probably no juicier political interview in the Ozarks than Rep. B.J. Marsh. The maverick moderate Republican, who has been saddled with health problems and missed countless important votes in Jefferson City, likes to say he "tells it like it is."
The fact that he's term-limited in the House after 2008, means his loose lips seem even a bit looser these days.
In a wide-ranging interview Wednesday, Rep. Marsh told the KY3 Political Notebook he's almost certain he'll run for Sen. Norma Champion's District 30 Senate seat when it opens up in 2010. He has already filed official campaign papers for the run, but isn't yet settled on if he'll run as a Republican or independent.
"I'll jump in and spoil things," Marsh said with a laugh via telephone, as he makes his annual trek out to the Rose Bowl in California. "If they put up 5 ultra-conservative pro-life candidates, I'll jump in as a moderate and win the thing. If not, I'll run as an independent. Just depends what things look like."
Marsh also predicted he could see lawmakers take up the touchy issue of term-limits this year. He said there may be some movement to do away with them altogether or extend them to 18 years.
The #136th district representative also questioned the time his Republican Governor has left in office. Marsh said Matt Blunt's re-election chances are "50% and under." He cited the Medicaid cuts and the recent Scott Eckersley scandal as the main reasons.
"When I'm on a tour bus, he's not carrying over 30% of my bus," said Marsh, who runs a travel business that specializes in bus tours for seniors. "These are voters 50 and older, and he's just not very popular. They think he's hurt a lot of people."
On the 2008 presidential field, Marsh said he likes Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. In that order. He said he likes Giuliani's moderation but also admires Huckabee's candor with the media. "He just says it like it is," Marsh said.
He said he certainly would not vote for Mitt Romney, because he doesn't trust him. "In the general, I'm not passed going with Hillary. I'd vote for Hillary over Romney," Marsh said.
Still, he said he's probably vote for Giuliani or Huckabee over Clinton.
He's especially rooting for Huckabee to knock off Romney in Iowa. Why?
"Because (Matt) Blunt and (Rod) Jetton are for Romney," he replied.
The Republican establishment must despise Marsh, or maybe they roll their eyes and don't take him seriously. Marsh has been labeled as ego-centric, lazy . . . and worse by his critics. But you can bet they start to take him a bit more seriously if he follows through with his promise to shake-up the 2010 State Senate race in District 30. Independent candidacies are longshots everywhere -- but a rift in the G.O.P. slice of the pie has the potential to transform a reliably Republican district into a barnburner.