• U.S.

A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: MISSOURI

19 minute read
TIME

MISSOURI

Population (1994): 5,278,000 (up 3.1% from 1990), 2.0% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 3,902,000; 1994 turnout, 45%

Median age: 33.5 years

Median household income: $30,190 ($2,074 below U.S. median)

Unemployment: 3.9% (1.7% below U.S. average, March 1996)

Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 44% Bush (R): 34% Perot (I): 22%

Congressional delegation: Six Democrats, five Republicans

Missouri, the birth state of Mark Twain and once the gateway to the West, the starting point of the Pony Express and the Santa Fe Trail, is a microcosm of America. Politically, it has voted for every presidential winner in the 20th century except Dwight Eisenhower. Geographically, it is the center of the country, containing elements of Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western regions. Economically, it has rich farmland, thriving suburbs, big cities and impoverished ghettos. As farm communities die in the north, retirement and tourist centers like Branson flourish in the south. And it’s a home to the great Mississippi and Missouri rivers, which have defined much of America’s identity and destiny.

WILLIAM CLAY (D) District 1 (North St. Louis; northeast St. Louis County)

BORN: April 30, 1931, St. Louis EDUCATION: St. Louis U, B.S., 1953 FAMILY: Wife, Carol Ann; three children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: Army, 1953-55 OCCUPATION: Real estate and insurance broker POLITICAL CAREER: St. Louis board of aldermen, 1959-64; U.S. House, 1968- ADDRESS: 720 Union, St. Louis 63108. Tel.: 314-361-4141

“Wild Bill” Clay was called a militant when he went to Congress 28 years ago. The first African-American legislator from Missouri, he is still an energetic Democrat: he wanted to cancel the stamp honoring Richard Nixon, and is a persistent critic of Contract with America legislation. A friend of labor and sponsor of the Family and Medical Leave Act, Clay, who survived the 1992 disclosure of 328 House bank overdrafts, still seems solid.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “[Letting states administer welfare] is a giant money-laundering scheme. It’s about writing blank checks to Governors while imposing no standards or accountability.”

DANIEL O’SULLIVAN JR. (R) District 1 BORN: Jan. 19, 1959, St. Louis EDUCATION: U of Missouri at Rolla, B.A., 1982; Washington U, M.B.A., 1988 FAMILY: Wife, Suzanne RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Business consultant POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 50061, St. Louis 63105. Tel.: 314-781-7187

An unknown running against an almost legendary incumbent, O’Sullivan is a clear underdog. Nevertheless, he beat out five other candidates to win his party’s primary, and he’s gamely offering his own business experience to the First District as a change from business as usual. O’Sullivan has a straight-arrow Republican platform–he’s for term limits, budget cutting and workfare–but to soften his hard-line fiscal policy he proposes a cushion of universal health care and reduced insurance rates for the self-employed.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The Federal Government must stop interfering with the education process. It is the responsibility of parents and churches to teach morals and values to children.”

JOAN HORN (D) District 2 (Western St. Louis County; eastern St. Charles County)

BORN: Oct. 18, 1936, St. Louis EDUCATION: U of Missouri, St. Louis, B.A., 1973, M.A., 1975 FAMILY: Husband, Terrence Jones; six children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Small-business owner; teacher POLITICAL CAREER: U.S. House, 1990-92 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1661, Manchester 63011. Tel.: 314-428-1996

Horn has waited four years to avenge her loss to Jim Talent, after redistricting drained the Second of Democrats. Though the reminted district remains Republican (Talent won the 1994 race with 67% of the vote), Horn is counting on disenchantment with the G.O.P. revolution. And after raising six children as a single mother, she is accustomed to serious challenges.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NR Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I had a sense that the mood of the country was really changing. The Republican revolution was perhaps frightening people a little bit with the drastic measures they seemed willing to take to balance the budget.”

JAMES TALENT (R) District 2

BORN: Oct. 18, 1956, St. Louis EDUCATION: Washington U, B.A., 1978; U of Chicago, J.D., 1981 FAMILY: Wife, Brenda; three children RELIGION: Presbyterian MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Missouri House, 1984-92, minority leader, 1989-92; U.S. House, 1992- ADDRESS: 1031 Executive Parkway, Suite 100, St. Louis 63141. Tel.: 314-453-0344

In two terms Talent has established himself as a leading fiscal conservative, serving as class whip in both the 103rd and 104th Congresses. During that time he has also served on three committees, including National Security, where he looks out for his district’s McDonnell Douglas Corp., which employs thousands of his constituents. An early welfare-reform proponent, in 1994 he proposed to cut off funds for unmarried mothers younger than 21.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “If we let the people keep more of their money, we will get more of what the people produce: stronger families, more jobs and greater charity.”

RICHARD GEPHARDT (D) District 3 (South St. Louis; southeast St. Louis County; Jefferson and Ste. Genevieve counties)

BORN: Jan. 31, 1941, St. Louis EDUCATION: Northwestern U, B.S., 1962; U of Michigan, J.D., 1965 FAMILY: Wife, Jane; three children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: Air National Guard, 1965-71 OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: St. Louis board of aldermen, 1971-76; U.S. House 1976-; candidate for President, 1988 ADDRESS: 7135 Watson Road, Suite 107, St. Louis 63119. Tel.: 314-961-1111

The former majority leader, now minority leader, Gephardt is the most powerful Democrat in the House and once again a subject for Presidential oddsmakers. But not taking his front-runner status for granted, he has campaigned hard, emphasizing the Democrats’ Families First agenda, and by midsummer, even against an inexperienced opponent, had raised more than a million dollars for his campaign.

THE ISSUES Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion YES Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “My goal at this time is to win re-election in the Third District and to win the House back.”

DEBORAH WHEELEHAN (R) District 3

BORN: March 20, 1954, St. Louis EDUCATION: Southwest High School, diploma, 1972 FAMILY: Divorced; three children RELIGION: Raised Southern Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Office manager POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 270463, St. Louis 63127. Tel.: 314-487-8199

Wheelehan’s challenge: to convince voters that Dick Gephardt, a 10-term incumbent, is the wrong man for the job. And she has had to do it with a war chest less than half as big as his. But for Wheelehan, who won her primary by a mere 24 votes, amazing things can happen, especially, she believes, if she can get her message out. She’s against abortion, affirmative action and gun control–and for term limits and “returning government to the people.”

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “As a woman, I recognize various minorities have been discriminated against in the past, but do not believe affirmative action to be the solution. I am proud to be a woman, but I ask for your support based on my qualifications, not my gender.”

BILL PHELPS (R) District 4 (West central–Kansas City suburbs; Jefferson City)

BORN: April 5, 1934, Nevada EDUCATION: U of Missouri at Columbia, A.B., 1956, J.D., 1959 FAMILY: Wife, Joanne Ronchetto RELIGION: Episcopalian MILITARY: Army Reserve, 1956-59 OCCUPATION: Lawyer; public affairs executive POLITICAL CAREER: Missouri House, 1960-72; Missouri lieutenant governor, 1972-80; sought Republican nomination for Governor, 1980 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1568, Blue Springs 64013. Tel.: 816-220-2455

Calling himself “Full-time Phelps” because of the enthusiasm and energy he says he would bring to the House, Phelps has come home to Missouri, after working in Texas for 15 years. The first Republican elected Missouri lieutenant governor in 44 years, Phelps still has name recognition, but it’s hard for him to pin a charge of “tax and spend” on Skelton, who co-sponsored the balanced-budget amendment six times.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “To me, Ike has become a professional politician. He’s out of touch and it’s time for him to go.”

IKE SKELTON (D) District 4

BORN: Dec. 20, 1931, Lexington EDUCATION: Wentworth Military Academy, A.A., 1951; U of Missouri, A.B., 1953, LL.B., 1956 FAMILY: Wife, Susan Anding; three children RELIGION: Christian Church MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Lafayette County prosecuting attorney, 1957-60; Missouri special assistant attorney general, 1961-63; Missouri Senate, 1970-76; U.S. House, 1976- ADDRESS: P.O. Box A, Harrisonville 64701. Tel.: 816-380-3455

The last time Skelton lost even one county in his district was during the Reagan landslide of 1984. But Skelton won that race, and has won every one since with at least 62% of the vote. A deficit hawk with a knack for winning defense dollars, he successfully fought to bring the Army Engineer Center to Fort Leonard Wood.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES* Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Voters in the district know me…I’ve been here. Where’s [Bill Phelps] been? He’s a certified Texan.”

PENNY BENNETT (R) District 5 (Kansas City and eastern suburbs; Independence)

BORN: Jan. 17, 1949, Coffeyville, Kans. EDUCATION: Emporia State U, B.S., 1971 FAMILY: Widowed; two children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Teacher, sales manager POLITICAL CAREER: Independence city council, 1991-95 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 22410, Kansas City 64113. Tel.: 816-921-4940.

When Allen Hutchinson dropped out of this race days before the filing deadline, the Missouri G.O.P. appointed Bennett to run. A mother of two, she lost both her father and husband within 10 days during her 1990 city-council campaign: she survived the trauma and won the election. Bennett says her 18 years as a teacher, her time as a single mother and her experience in local government have prepared her for the U.S. House.

THE ISSUES Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “What people earn belongs to them first. Families can use their income with better discretion than can the government.”

KAREN MCCARTHY (D) District 5

BORN: March 18, 1947, Haverhill, Mass. EDUCATION: U of Kansas, B.S., 1969, M.B.A., 1986; U of Missouri, Kansas City, M.A., 1976 FAMILY: Divorced RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Teacher POLITICAL CAREER: Missouri House, 1977-95; U.S. House, 1994- ADDRESS: 9237 Ward Parkway, Suite 204, Kansas City 64111. Tel.: 816-842-4545

A frugal Democrat from a working-class district, McCarthy wants a balanced budget and no deficit. Spending $179,332 less than the average member of Congress, she was ranked one of the House’s most frugal members this year by the National Taxpayers Union. McCarthy’s Republican challenger dropped out of the race in August, but the G.O.P. lost no time in appointing another.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NO NAFTA NR Welfare NO* Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Every time I go out that door in the evening and walk across to vote and that dome is lighted, I get goose bumps. I think, ‘I work there,’ and it’s very awesome.”

JEFF BAILEY (R) District 6 (Northwest–St. Joseph)

BORN: Sept. 14, 1956, Chillicothe EDUCATION: U.S. Air Force Academy, 1975-76; U of Missouri, 1976-82 FAMILY: Wife, Evonna; four children RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: Air Force, 1974-76 OCCUPATION: Railroad-car repairman; investment banker POLITICAL CAREER: Sought Democratic nomination for U.S. House, 1992; sought Republican nomination for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 10790, Kansas City 64188. Tel.: 816-468-0953

Bailey, whose back was injured in a 1992 railroad accident, is using some of his settlement money to pay for political commercials. An independent thinker, he promises to replace the moribund Social Security system with a plan requiring workers 45 and under to save 15% of their income in an ira. Once they and their spouses are deceased, he says, the unspent money will help pay the national debt.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The Social Security System is going to go broke. That is a fact that we all agree on. We disagree as to when. I am making entitlement reform my main issue.”

PAT DANNER (D) District 6

BORN: Jan. 13, 1934, Louisville, Ky. EDUCATION: Northeast Missouri State U, B.A., 1972 FAMILY: Husband, Markt Meyer; four children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Congressional aide; federal official POLITICAL CAREER: Missouri Senate, 1983-93; U.S. House, 1992- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 143, Smithville 64089. Tel.: 816-545-4188

Danner made a bold entrance into Congress by unseating 16-year incumbent Tom Coleman in 1992. Two years later, she claimed two-thirds of the vote during the year of Republican political upheaval. A moderate to conservative Democrat, she voted against the ban on assault weapons, opposed lifting the ban on gays in the military, sponsored legislation for term limits and drafted the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which passed both houses this summer.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I do represent Democrats, but I also represent Republicans, Independents, those who aren’t registered to vote and those who are too young to vote.”

RUTH BAMBERGER (D) District 7 (Southwest–Springfield; Joplin)

BORN: Aug. 18, 1937, Newport, Ky. EDUCATION: Spalding College, B.S., 1966; Ohio State U, M.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1973 FAMILY: Single RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Professor; teacher POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 4149, Springfield 65808. Tel.: 417-886-6122

With Mel Hancock’s retirement, the Seventh is up for grabs this year, but Bamberger is the underdog in this solidly Republican district. With years of serving on county boards and task forces and having taught political science to college students for 26 years, she won a six-way primary with 53% of the vote. A longtime Democrat, she staunchly supports labor unions and workers’ interests. But even a Website may not bring enough of the right recognition for a political upset.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I am campaigning on behalf of the family of the student who has to pay the high costs of a distant Congress, not the big-money interests in Washington that seek to increase its distance. We all have had enough.”

ROY BLUNT (R) District 7

BORN: Jan. 10, 1950, Niangua EDUCATION: Southwest Baptist U, B.S., 1970; Southwest Missouri State U, M.A., 1972 FAMILY: Wife, Roseann; three children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: University president; teacher POLITICAL CAREER: Greene County clerk, 1972-84; Missouri Secretary of State, 1985-93 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 278, Strafford 65757. Tel.: 417-863-6868

Blunt, a fifth-generation southwest Missourian, lost his 1992 bid for Governor in a bitterly negative campaign. Not repeating that mistake, he centered this year’s primary campaign on Christian character and family virtues–supported by a healthy campaign fund. The conservative Blunt hopes to eliminate “million-dollar pensions” for members of Congress, and believes government should return more decisions to state and local levels.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare NR Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I think people clearly believe we’re at a very important moment in the history of the country. The era of Big Government should come to an end.”

JO ANN EMERSON (R, I) District 8 (Southeast–Cape Girardeau)

BORN: Sept. 16, 1950, Washington EDUCATION: Ohio Wesleyan U, B.A., 1972 FAMILY: Widowed; four children RELIGION: Presbyterian MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Public affairs executive; lobbyist POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: 400 Broadway, Room 326, Cape Girardeau 63701. Tel.: 573-335-0033

Running as an “Emercrat,” Bill Emerson had been the first Republican to carry the Eighth District in 50 years. Lung cancer took the eight-term Congressman’s life this year, and his widow is the G.O.P. nominee in a “special election” to finish his term, which officially ends in January. However, in a bizarre electoral twist, she is also running–as an Independent, on the same day–to win the seat for the next term.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I run now to continue the Bill Emerson tradition of public service, but I run as Jo Ann Emerson. Ready and happy to let voters judge me on my own ideas and merits.”

EMILY FIREBAUGH (D) District 8

BORN: Sept. 8, 1941, Cape Girardeau EDUCATION: Southeast Missouri State U, B.S., 1963 FAMILY: Husband, Robert; one child, one stepchild RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Timber-company owner; newspaper publisher; teacher POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 676, Farmington 63640. Tel.: 573-760-8800

Firebaugh is running against not one, but two Republican conservatives–but not in the same election. She is the Democratic candidate in both the special election to finish Bill Emerson’s term and the general election to fill the open seat in the new term. To get some name recognition against the better-known Jo Ann Emerson, Firebaugh traveled to every county in the district. And thanks to the fluke of having two putative G.O.P. opponents, she may split the conservative vote wide enough to win.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The last thing we should be doing is cutting Medicare, student loans and environmental protection.”

RICHARD KLINE (R) District 8

BORN: Nov. 19, 1939; location NR EDUCATION: NR FAMILY: Wife, Lucille; four children RELIGION: Christian MILITARY: Coast Guard, 1958-80 OCCUPATION: Military officer POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: General Delivery, Gipsy 63750. Tel.: 573-495-2302

A true underdog, Kline is not only an unknown political entity, he’s not even on the ballot in the first election for this seat, a special election to complete Bill Emerson’s term. Adding insult to electoral injury, the state’s two G.O.P. Senators have endorsed Emerson’s widow. Still, this prickly individualist, who refuses to divulge his birthplace and educational history because they “are not required by the Constitution,” has built a platform around Christianity, a flat tax and prayer, which he will surely need in the second (general) election.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I spent $1,012.13 on the primary campaign. In my victory speech I said, ‘With or without [Republican Party] help, God and I will win the election.'”

KENNY HULSHOF (R) District 9 (Northeast–Columbia)

BORN: May 22, 1958, Sikeston EDUCATION: U of Missouri, B.S., 1980; U of Mississippi, J.D., 1983 FAMILY: Wife, Renee Lynn Howell RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Public defender; prosecutor; state Assistant Attorney General POLITICAL CAREER: Sought Republican nomination for Boone County prosecutor, 1992; Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1621, Columbia 65205. Tel.: 573-443-3683

As in the case of fellow Missourian Harry Truman, newspapers reported (after the primary) that Hulshof had lost his election; and as with Truman, they were wrong. In the end, Hulshof won the nomination by 168 votes, confirming his expertise in close finishes–he lost to incumbent Harold Volkmer by 5% in 1994. But with Volkmer’s support dwindling in the past two elections, Hulshof could wake up on Nov. 6 to find out…Dewey won again.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “What a difference a morning makes.”

HAROLD VOLKMER (D) District 9

BORN: April 4, 1931, Jefferson City EDUCATION: U of Missouri, LL.B., 1955 FAMILY: Widower; three children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: Army, 1955-57 OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Missouri Assistant Attorney General, 1955; Marion County prosecuting attorney, 1960-66; Missouri House, 1966-76; U.S. House, 1976- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 991, Hannibal 63401. Tel.: 573-221-0373

This 20-year incumbent has earned a reputation as one of the more boisterous and argumentative Democrats in the House. He has engaged in many floor fights, and in the 104th Congress served on the “floor patrol,” the party’s first line of defense against G.O.P. proposals. Volkmer does break ranks with a majority of Democrats on gun control: he voted to repeal the ban on assault weapons, and at the 1996 Democratic Convention he walked out on Sarah Brady’s anti-gun speech.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I don’t agree with Sarah Brady that only the police and military should have guns.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com