Saturday, September 05, 2009

7th District Power Rankings

This is the fifth installment of The Notebook's monthly survey of the 7th Congressional District field and each candidate's chances of winning the GOP nomination in 2010.
The higher the candidate's ranking, the more likely he/she is positioned to win the nomination at this point and time -- and be put on the path to replace Roy Blunt in the U.S. House.

For last month's rankings click HERE

1. Jack Goodman -- (Stable) For those of you volatility hounds, this is a snoozer. Goodman remains numero uno, because after a fair amount of reportage, The Notebook found there wasn't enough compelling evidence to drop the Mount Vernon Senator, despite increasing talk about his mediocre performances in public settings. "The guy is weak in social settings," writes one Republican. But he does have a ground game in place that's shoring up establishment support in counties across the district. Predictably, they love him in the counties he represents: "He's a gentleman for the people. He's for all types of people, the rich, the poor and the in between," gushes Barry County GOP vice-chair Barbara White. "Jack's the only one paying attention to us," says Stone County GOP vice-chair Connie Johnson. "I'm not hearing anybody talk about anyone else," says Lawrence County GOP vice-chair Sherri George. "But if they're not for Jack, I probably don't hang out with them," she chuckles. Goodman's been griping he hasn't been getting a fair shake with the press -- but see the pattern here? Women love him. I bet he polls better with them. His looks, his lighter touch. But for the men out there -- and the angry and tired -- he'll still have to answer that essential question: What real reason do I have to get excited and vote for you. Or as Sarah Steelman would say, "another white guy in a suit."

2. Billy Long -- (Stable) Long was one of the big winners at the Patriots in the Park rally, and his Tweets give an impression of an active, aggressive campaign with growing momentum. His biggest compliment in August came when Goodman took a shot at him in public, suggesting 7th District voters need more than just a jokester who's dependent on advisers. GOPers say tension is building between the Long and Goodman camps and that the two men are noticeably not shaking hands at events together. Goodman has heard the footsteps as Long has toned his political muscle this summer -- his repertoire, his fundraising, his retail politics. But the fast-talking and tweeting auctioneer still seems a bit foreign to some. When The Notebook asked Lawrence County GOP chair James Young what he thought of Long's candidacy, he replied, "From what I hear, I don't know people feel he has the political expertise to accomplish a lot." But others notice he's becoming a threat. "I've been impressed by the amount of money he's raised," said Taney County GOP Chair Buddy Roberts. "For a no-name in the political arena, somebody out there is listening to him." Ironically enough, I think the Long camp is content to hear both of those statements. The most important thing Long has to do over the next several months is build a district-wide grassroots organization to rival Goodman's.

3. Gary Nodler -- (Stable) Nodler rounds out the big three, and his allies think it's absurd the Power Rankings place him behind BOTH Goodman and Long. The Joplin Senator has been spending a good chunk of time in Greene County, and his team seems confident that Jasper will safely fall in line. He also has some high-dollar fundraisers lined up, which should make his next quarterly finance report stand out. But the main arguments for Nodler's success continue to be fundraising and geography and not personal likability. "I have never felt Gary was that big of a threat because of his lack of popularity," says Lawrence County GOP vice-chair Sherri George, an open Goodman supporter. "Sometimes I wonder how Gary continues to be re-elected. You never hear anybody say positive things about him," adds George. Ouch. (Calls to Jasper & Newton County chairs were not returned.) "I'm not sure how many people know of him," says Christian County GOP chair Ed Merritt. "I'd say Jack and Billy are probably the two frontrunners," Merritt said. To be sure, Nodler has his slice of the establishment pie. But over the entire district, it doesn't appear to be larger than Goodman's.

4. Darrell Moore -- (Stable) The Greene County prosecutor has already shown signs of improvement in his stump speech, as he was able to rally the conservative Patriot Day crowd. But in a Notebook survey of county chairs and other insiders, Moore's name came up more often in counties west of Greene than Long's did. Chalk that up to Moore's powerful name ID. Wonder when the other candidates start complaining about Moore's free TV time as prosecutor? Either way, Moore's largest obstacle remains constant: how to break into the top three.

5. Jeff Wisdom -- (Up 1) Despite his close ties to Vincent David Jericho, it's tough to be overseas and compete with the big dogs. Still, Wisdom's eloquence helps him every time he's able to get in front of an audience. "I'm impressed by by a young individual who wants to make a change," says Taney County GOP chair Buddy Roberts. Wisdom has been telling his supporters that he can beat the others in a debate. But he's got to be here to debate. His campaign tells the Notebook that Wisdom will return to Springfield next week and be ready to go.

6. Sarah Steelman -- (Down 1) I'm thinking 2012. You?

7. The 'Other' Candidate -- (----)There's all this chatter that a new candidate is about to jump in the race. Does anyone out there believe another candidate -- besides Steelman -- could jump in this late and make a credible case for victory?

1 comment:

Alfalfa said...

And the ranking criteria includes?