Candidates have been chosen for the special election to fill the unexpired term of Paul Fitzwater who resigned his state representative post to accept an appointment by Governor Eric Greitens to the Board of Probations and Parole.
Chris Dinkins was chosen Saturday morning to representative the Republicans in the Feb. 6 special election. She will face Jim Scaggs who was chosen by the Democrats two weeks ago.
Members of the 144th District Republican Legislative Committee met Saturday at the Reynolds County Courthouse. Twenty-eight of the 32 committee men and women who comprise the 144th District Legislative Committee were present at the meeting.
The meeting was moderated by Christy Roberts of Ellington, chairperson of the 144th District Republican Legislative Committee.
When delegates arrived, they registered and were given a lanyard to wear that designated them as a delegate. All delegates were seated in the front rows of the courtroom. Members of the audience filled the rear seats in the courtroom.
The meeting was opened with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. On hand to make sure the meeting ran smoothly were Eddy Justice of Poplar Bluff, chairperson of the 8th District Republican Committee and Eric Mansfield, a retired superintendent and author. Justice read the proposed rules for the meeting; the rules were unanimously adopted.
Nominations of candidates would not exceed one minute. No second was necessary. An individual committee member could only nominate one candidate. Four candidates were nominated: Chris Dinkins of Annapolis, Scott Shrum of Potosi, Beau Gooch of Piedmont, and Vinnie Haggett of Piedmont.
Roberts wrote the names of the candidates on cards and then randomly drew names to determine the order candidates would address the gathering. Each candidate could speak for up to five minutes. Gooch spoke first, followed by Shrum, Clubb, and Dinkins.
In order to receive the nomination, a candidate must receive a majority vote (50 percent plus one) of the members present. The system was set up for multiple votes where the candidate receiving the fewest number of votes would be eliminated and a new vote taken.
A representative from each of the four counties was assigned to be part of the team that counted votes. That team voted first, followed by the remaining 28 committee members. Dinkins received the majority on the first vote.
“I am very grateful to the members of the committee who have put their faith and trust in me to run as our candidate,” Dinkins said. “It is vital that this district continues to have a strong, conservative voice representing us in Jefferson City.”
When asked about the most important issues facing the district, Dinkins said her campaign will focus on jobs, education, and public safety.
“The riots in St. Louis have been a national embarrassment. I will always have the backs of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our families.”
“As state representative, I’ll fight to ensure our police officers have the tools they need to keep our communities safe” Dinkins said. “One of my top focuses will be creating a business-friendly environment to attract quality jobs in the region. I’ll stand up for working families and work with the Governor’s administration to bring rural broadband to our communities.”
Representative Paul Fitzwater has offered Dinkins his full support. “Chris has been a huge advocate for this district and has the experience needed to get to work on behalf of the people on Day One,” Fitzwater said. “Working families will have an advocate in Chris Dinkins, and I trust once voters meet her they will understand why she was the committee’s choice”.