Special election called by Governor

Governor Eric Greitens has called a special election for Feb. 6, 2018 to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Paul Fitzwater, state representative from the 144th Legislative District that includes Iron County. Fitzwater resigned to accept the Governor’s appointment to the State Board of Probation and Parole.

The task of nominating respective Democrat and Republican candidates for the special election falls to each party’s 144th Legislative District Committee. The district includes the counties of Iron, Washington, Reynolds, and Wayne.

According to a letter sent to the committees by Secretary of State John R. “Jay” Ashcroft outlined the procedure for the nominations, beginning with a call by the committee chairman of a meeting no later than two weeks after being notified of the vacancy.

The Democrat 144th Legislative District Committee was called into a meeting at the Ironton Courthouse on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 3 by Chairman Jim Scaggs. Scaggs had called for the meeting several weeks ago, he said, so the committee could begin preparations should the special election be called.

“I thought about this long and hard as we prepared for this special election, and I decided a couple of days ago that I would resign as the chair of the Legislative District; that is why the information was sent to Sue (Committee Vice-Chair Sue Jarvis) and not me.

“If I decided to seek the nomination (for Fitzwater’s former seat), I thought it would be better if I were not the chair.”

The Democrats voted to accept Scagg’s resignation and elected Jordan McLaurin of Ironton as the new chair. (Other officers elected or releected included Sue Jarvis of Belgrade, vice-chair; Shelley Bishop of Belleview, secretary; and Ralph Trask of Belleview, treasurer.

Iron County Republican Committee Chair Tony Harbison said Thursday (Oct. 5) that the Republican 144th District Committee had not yet set a meeting date.

The deadline for filing the certificate of nomination naming the party’s candidate with the office of the Secretary of State is Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

Anyone who may be interested in submitting their name as a candidate for the office should contact their party’s committee.

The candidate elected on Feb. 6, 2018 will serve the remainder of former Rep. Fitzwater’s term.

That person will also need to file for the position for the 2018 Primary and General Elections should they wish to continue serving in that capacity.

 

Following the meeting on Tuesday, the Democrats issued the following statement:

“The Democratic Committee representing the 144th Legislative District will meet Thursday, October 12, at 6 p.m. in the Commissioner's Meeting Room at the Iron County Courthouse for the purpose of nominating a candidate for the upcoming special election to the Missouri House of Representatives for the seat vacated by Representative Paul Fitzwater. The meeting is open to the public and all constituents of the 144th Legislative District, as well as any potential candidates.”