One of the most talked-about issues so far during Missouri’s regular legislative session is whether Governor Jay Nixon has the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor if Peter Kinder becomes the new Congressman for the state’s 8th District.
When asked by reporters Thursday, Nixon said he believes he has the authority to do so, based on precedent – in 2000, Governor Roger Wilson appointed Joe Maxwell to begin serving immediately as Lt. Governor less than two months before his elected term was set to begin.
House Speaker Pro-tem Jason Smith disagrees. He says current law requires a special election for Lt. Governor, but admits it’s unclear as to how it’s to be carried out:
“State Rep, State Senate, Lt. Governor, it’s like the Recorder of Deeds of St. Louis County, and (county) sheriffs…that’s what the law provides, but it does not provide on how to enforce those special elections (for Lt. Governor), unlike those other sections," Smith said.
Smith is sponsoring legislation that would allow special elections for all vacated statewide offices, but would schedule them in November to coincide with other races.
Smith is also seeking to replace southeast Missouri Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, along with Lt. Governor Kinder, fellow State House Member Todd Richardson, GOP Executive Director Lloyd Smith, former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, former Congressman Wendell Bailey, and former State Senator Jason Crowell.