Wednesday, October 07, 2009

7th District Power Rankings

This is the sixth 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) Scroll down to the bottom of the 7th District GOP committee website and you'll find a banner graphic for Sen. Jack Goodman. Notice there's not one for Sen. Gary Nodler. This may be an innocent meaningless symbol, but nonetheless one that adds to the perception of Goodman opponents that Mt. Vernon's man is the chosen one. To the faithful, Goodman is visible, working hard and holding firm. No real spark yet, but that's not yet necessary when your organization is in ship shape and gliding above the others. Look for another solid fundraising quarter for Goodman. (Slow and steady wins the race). And if he's somehow able to edge Gary Nodler in money bags, it would be a tremendous coup.

2. Billy Long -- (Stable) Based on his Tweets, Billy Long is everywhere. At the Ducks Unlimited dinner in Joplin. At the Tea Party rally on a Saturday afternoon. At the Polk County GOP meeting in Bolivar. "If there's a Republican event that's attractive, he's there," notes a supporter. "He's trying to get out and meet people. You'd be surprised that some people don't think you're serious if you're not an elected official," that supporter went on. Billy has made clear he'll have the money. (Last month, he netted Sarah Steelman fundraiser/ally Jeff Layman). Now he's trying to prove he's got the mojo. For the past few months, that's meant less dialing for dollars and more pounding the pavement. He has solidified himself as the happy outsider, happy to march to Washington just to personally tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "No." The auctioneer stays slotted second, and as the underdog, wouldn't mind being lower.

3. Gary Nodler -- (Stable) As far as fundraising goes, Nodler should own the third quarter. This will be his first full three-month run at the money pot as an official candidate. This summer and early fall, he hasn't had to balance campaigning with Senatorial duties any longer. And it could be his last full quarter as Senate Appropriations Chair. If Nodler doesn't win the third quarter, look for rival camps to seize on it as a significant letdown. Then again, aides from several camps have already warned The Notebook that it's fundraising predictions are too high. "It's brutal out there," said one of the economic environment. Still, if this stays a 3-man ran race like it's shaping up to be, Nodler will have the money, clout and campaign experience to fight the good fight.

4. Darrell Moore -- (Stable) After a solid speech in August, Moore's lack of visibility has perplexed some insiders. He was the only major candidate not in attendance at the Missouri Republican Assembly dinner featuring Joe Wilson. And while it may be unfair to judge the frequency of ones Twitter posts, Moore did have a month long gap between between Sept. 9th and Oct. 4th with no activity. Hopefully for his sake, he was raising money. (But word is he hates asking for it.) Still, if he's to break into the top tier, he'll need to put up a respectable number this quarter. Even some of Moore's supporters will acknowledge the Greene County prosecutor isn't very comfortable shaking hands and kissing babies. But that's a requirement to win this type of hands-on race. Going through the '09-'10 budget line-by-line is impressive, but pure name identification can only carry a candidate so far.

5. Jeff Wisdom -- (Stable) Tanned and back from Bahrain, you might have thought Wisdom would have capitalized on his service overseas with some type of creative welcome home event that would've caught media attention. Wisdom is an impressive individual, goes the buzz . . . And he would make a terrific candidate for state representative. Still, Wisdom has no real reason to get out of this race and still attracts a loyal slice of the Fair Tax/anti-big government conservatives that others like Long would love to snatch up. Sure, it's ripe for an outsider to win this year. But Wisdom is like the 15 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament. He's got backers, but needs a lot to go right to knock off each of the big dogs. His biggest problem, observes one young Republican? "He is surrounded by people telling him he can win."

6. Mike Moon (----) Stalking horse or real deal? It's a mystery to some. The 50-year-old Moon is the most recent entry into the 7th District fray. We do know he works at St. John's Fitness Center but resides in Lawrence County. Does that mean he siphons votes from Goodman? Too soon to tell. But he could do some creative bumper sticker slogans with that catchy name.

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