The Republican primary race to represent a new legislative district takes shape with an incumbent, a challenger, and a darkhorse. The new 123rd Missouri House of Representatives district will be contested in the 2012 elections.

The Republican primary race to represent a new legislative district takes shape with an incumbent, a challenger, and a darkhorse. The new 123rd Missouri House of Representatives district will be contested in the 2012 elections.
The district will be made up of the southern half of Camden County and northern and eastern Laclede County. It will include Camdenton, Linn Creek, Macks Creek, Stoutland, Richland, Eldridge, half of Lebanon, and a large rural portion of Laclede County.
The new districts split Lebanon in half and broke up a budding 4-way race for a House seat that Rep. Darrell Pollock, R-Lebanon, currently holds in the 146th district. Pollock will serve his eighth and final session in the House in 2012, but term limits will stop him from running in the new 123rd district.
Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, will serve her second session in the House in 2012. Franklin defeated Joe Roeger and Bernie Mowinski in the 2010 Republican primary, then defeated former Camden County Sheriff John Page to win the 155th district. Franklin will have to campaign in Laclede County in effort to win reelection.
None of the three candidates are 100 percent confirmed to run. They will make their election decisions during the filing period which runs from Feb. 28 to Mar. 27, 2012.

The incumbent: Rep. Diane Franklin
Occupation: business manager, Lake Area Clinic
Residence: Camdenton

Franklin made it clear that she has not yet officially declared herself a candidate to represent the 123rd district.
The redistricting process split Franklin's current 155th district in half. If reelected to office, she would not longer represent voters in Osage Beach, Lake Ozark, Climax Springs, and others in the remainder of the northern half of Camden County.
The now-sophomore legislator says the new districts should give the lake area more say in Jefferson City.
"It will be good for the lake because they will have access to more representation," Franklin said.
Some Laclede County voters may be unfamiliar with Franklin. She empathized with Lebanon residents who saw their city split down Jefferson Ave. on the new state House district map.
"I know it's disheartening for the folks in Laclede County and Lebanon to be divided like that. I understand that they're going to be somewhat resistant," Franklin said.
An official campaign announcement from Rep. Franklin won't come until 2012. However, her campaign finance committee remains active and has been submitting its required reports to the Missouri Ethics Commission throughout 2011.

The challenger: Todd Isaac "Ike" Skelton
Occupation: business owner, locksmithing
Residence: Lebanon

No, not that Ike Skelton.
That Ike Skelton served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 2010 as a member of the Democratic Party. This Ike Skelton identifies himself as a Republican and owns a locksmith shop in Lebanon.
Skelton declared candidacy last summer for the 146th district. On Dec. 8, he confirmed his decision to run for office in the new 123rd district.
"I am excited to continue my efforts to earn the responsibility of serving the citizens of Laclede County, and now to include my friends in Camden County, in Missouri's legislature," Skelton said.
Skelton writes on his campaign website that he wishes to gain office in order to promote and inflict change in the way state government runs.
"I've reached the conclusion that the best way for me to promote greater liberty, help control government spending, and restore sanity in regulation is to get more deeply involved in the lawmaking process," Skelton said.
Skelton lives approximately a block inside the boundary of the new 123rd district, which includes the portion of Lebanon north of Jefferson Ave.

The darkhorse: Chase Waggoner
Occupation: legislative assistant/volunteer firefighter
Residence: Lebanon

Waggoner declared candidacy for the former 146th district in July. He served two terms as a Lebanon alderman, having been first elected to office at the age of 23.
Now 28, Waggoner aspires to serve in Jefferson City, but his plans took a massive hit when the redistricting process cut Lebanon down its major business artery.
Waggoner lives on North Adams Street in Lebanon, just a block from Jefferson Ave and the border of the 123rd district.
"I'm about 300 feet from the line. That does cut out about half of the people who I expected to me my core constituency, my family and close friends," Waggoner said.
The potential darkhorse doesn't like the idea of running against a seated incumbent, even with new districts altering Franklin's election campaign plans. Waggoner says he specifically waited to run in 2012 to allow term limits to remove Pollock from the primary picture. He doesn't plan to officially declare his intent to run or not to run until the filing period