Tommy Sowers, a Democrat who has filed paperwork to run against Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in the 8th Congressional District, will be forced to step down from his teaching position at the Missouri University of Science and Technology at the end of this semester.Sowers, who announced his candidacy earlier in the week, is also in his first semester of teaching at the Rolla-based university.
"A person seeking election to a full-time office must resign or request a leave of absence as of the date of filing in the primary," said Carney. "The earliest he can file for the primary is the 23rd of February. So Mr. Sowers will not be employed at Missouri S & T after the fall semester," Carney added.
An aide to Sowers said the candidate informed the school earlier this summer about the possibility of a Congressional campaign.
"Based on University of Missouri regulations on political activity, he would not be eligible to teach once he files for the primary in 2010. The University agreed that teaching this semester was allowable, but that he would have to step down for the Spring semester," said Sowers spokesman Jonathan Feifs.
A Rolla native and 11-year Army veteran, Sowers has filed a statement of organization that will allow him to raise campaign funds. Emerson is widely viewed as a safe incumbent. In 2008, she defeated Democrat Joe Allen 71%-26%.
Even so, Sowers' first fundraising quarter, which closes on September 30th, will still be closely watched by political observers in southern Missouri.
To read more of Sowers' biography, click HERE.