"As an elected official, it's somewhat risky."
None of Springfield's Republican state representatives are publicly endorsing a candidate for president, now just over a month before Missouri's February 5th primary.
Rep. Jim Viebrock of the #134th legislative district puts it this way: "As an elected official it's somewhat risky to publicly endorse, because you don't know. The next thing out of their mouth might be really, really bad," he said.
Viebrock said he has a personal policy not to endorse, even in local races. "I've very cautious about endorsing in any primary." But he acknowledged that part of the problem in the Republican race for president is that there is no clear frontrunner to get behind.
"Among friends we talk about it, but I'm not ready to make a public commitment. It's pretty scattered really. I'm kind of curious to watch and see who comes through," Viebrock said.
Rep. Charlie Denison (#135th) said he has not yet made up his mind on an endorsement. In a brief phone interview, Denison said, "I'm going to kind of wait and see what the fallout of it all is."
In an interview Friday, Rep. Shane Schoeller (#139th) said he is privately leaning towards a candidate, but is not ready to say who. "I've decided in this particular race that you are not going to get a candidate that has every quality that you would look for," he said.
Rep. Bob Dixon's (#140th) office said Dixon was unavailable for comment due to a family emergency. A spokeswoman for Senator Norma Champion said the senator was unreachable and taking time off until after the holiday.
Rep. B.J. Marsh has been the most open about his choices -- favoring Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani -- but even the blunt Marsh said he hasn't settled.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Sara Lampe talks glowingly about the top three Democrats, but offers no hint of a preference. Rep. Charlie Norr has told the KY3 Political Notebook he favors John Edwards.