Missouri's 9th District, home of retiring Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof, is not what you'd usually consider a swing district. Bush defeated Kerry 59-41 here, and Hulshof hasn't faced a strong challenge since he edged former Democratic Rep. Harold Volkmer in 1996.
This is not an ordinary year for Democrats, however, and Hulshof's retirement (he's running for Governor) has spurred strong Democratic interest in the race, with State Rep. Judy Baker, former Missouri Assembly Speaker Steve Gaw, and Marion County Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode.
Seemingly nervous about yet another open-seat election, the Republicans are pulling out the big guns...and by that, I mean former Mizzou football star and Detroit Lion Brock Olivo (jeepdad has a nice diary on this).
I have nothing against former athletes seeking elected office. Many of them are highly intelligent, articulate, and have a good deal to contribute to the political discourse.
I sense that Olivo is not one of them.
First, his qualifications:
"Not only was I football player, but I also was in social studies class, and I have a passion for how this country works," Olivo said.
Social studies, eh? I majored in European history in college. You can expect my application for the EU Presidency shortly.
Seriously, social studies? Say what you will about Heath Shuler, but he had a successful career outside of football, and had been somewhat politically active prior to his Congressional run.
Olivo, on the other hand, apparently hasn't voted in his life:
Olivo, the former Mizzou football star now running for Congress, has never voted before in an election, public records show.
Reached today, Olivo confirmed that he has never cast a ballot, in Missouri or anywhere else.
"I’m a recovered apathetic," Olivo, 31, said, adding that "I am first to admit that I was wrong."
A recovered apathetic. Sounds inspiring.
He must have some kind of vision then, right? Something driving his run for Congress? Or at least a pretty strong commitment to his party and its platform?
Er...no. Not even "lower taxes, support the troops" stuff.
"I’m a Republican for now, that’s all I can say," Olivo said. "I believe in hard work. I believe in values, and my platform will surface in due time, and I’ll be glad to sit down with you and talk to you about that."
OK, so he has no platform whatsoever as of now...but, you know, he believes in hard work and he took social studies. Splendid!
Don't believe me? Check it out for yourselves:
To be honest, I kind of feel bad for the guy after watching that.
Olivo doesn't have the nomination sewn up, of course (and frankly, I'd be shocked if he got it). There are a number of Republican state representatives considering a run (and I assume they're a bit better prepared for one).
But hope springs eternal.
This is a tough, tough district, but the national Democratic party is taking it seriously. And frankly, I don't even want to speculate on what might happen in the event of a Brock Olivo nomination...
...but it will be highly risible.