Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Third Time a Charm for District #30 Dems?


With former Greene County library director Annie Busch likely opting against a candidacy, Springfield Democrats may pin their hopes on school board member Michael Hoeman to run for the District #30 State Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Norma Champion next year.

Hoeman tells The Notebook he's seriously considering a campaign for State Senate, and is talking about the idea with family, friends and potential supporters.

Hoeman has frequently been mentioned as a possible candidate in Democratic circles, but this cycle, the stars may have aligned -- partly by default.
State Rep. Sara Lampe has told party leaders she's not interested in State Senate run. She's likely to run for re-election to the House in 2010 and then feel out possible statewide options. Democratic party insiders then turned to Annie Busch, who many viewed as an attractive candidate with significant name recognition.
Busch was seen as someone who could mount a competitive challenge to Republican front runner Bob Dixon, a House member from the 139th District. But now, Democrats believe Busch is likely opting against taking the plunge, partly on the recommendation of her husband.
That leaves Hoeman, a 7-year school board member who has been active in the Chamber of Commerce and the Greene County Medical Society.
"I'm certainly aware of the history of the politics of the area. I'm not so certain the 30th District is not winnable by a Democrat if you have the right Democrat running," Hoeman said in an interview.
He said that means a candidate who is "fairly conservative" on fiscal issues, but takes "strong stands on leadership." "I think in local elections, personalities become much more important than political labels," he said.
Hoeman is not close to announcing his candidacy. That may not happen until the fall, but in his discussion with local Democratic leaders, he said he has been told Busch has decided not to run.
"No one I've talked to in the Democratic Party has mentioned any other candidate," Hoeman said.
While Dems were obviously hoping for a female to take on Dixon, Hoeman's strength is that he's known well among a bunch of key groups in the area.
"I think I could attract a lot of crossover votes among people I've known, known for years. I think I could have pretty broad support in the community," Hoeman said. "I think Bob's done a fine job in the legislature. I just don't agree with all the votes he's made," he added.
Hoeman may be encouraged to sharpen his rhetoric against Dixon if/when the time comes.
But for Greene County Democrats, who seem to struggle to cultivate and attract competitive candidates, there's some hope that the third time is the charm.

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