"They Need To Stay Out Of The Primaries"
Former State House member Chuck Wooten tells The Notebook he's backing Billy Long's bid for Congress and warns his party's apparatus to stay out of pending G.O.P. primaries.
"A lot of it depends on what the party does and how they get involved," said former Rep. Wooten, when asked about Long's chances at winning the 7th District GOP primary in 2010. "I think maybe they learned a lesson about getting involved, after that Governor's race. A lot of people will get mad if the party gets involved again."
Wooten is one of the listed hosts on an invitation for an open house in support of Long's candidacy this Thursday.
"I'm going to work for Billy. He's a good friend and I think he'll make a good Congressman," Wooten told The Notebook Monday. "I think we need a businessman."
"I know Jack real well," Wooten said, referring to State Sen. Jack Goodman, also a candidate. "He's a good man. But I'm going to be with Billy. He's well-known all over the district, I think he's got a chance," he went on, before noting how much GOP party leaders get involved will have an impact.
ON THE U.S. SENATE RACE:
Wooten said he wasn't sure who he'd support in a Roy Blunt vs. Sarah Steelman primary match-up. But hinted that Steelman would be a more formidable opponent than some might assume.
"I don't know. People are pretty well mad right now with the establishment in power," Wooten said. "But it's two years away and a lot can happen. They might promise her something else to keep her out, but I'll tell you, if she runs, she'll run good in this area. She's got her followers here and it won't be a runaway," Wooten went on.
Wooten said no matter what happens, he hopes the leaders of his party and the State Committee stay neutral. "When the party comes out and takes a side, it divides us all at once. They need to stay out of the primaries."