KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Smart Decision Smart Decision en-us Copyright 2016, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sat, 22 Oct 2016 17:10:55 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Latest candidate committee funds released http://www.komu.com/news/latest-candidate-committee-funds-released/ http://www.komu.com/news/latest-candidate-committee-funds-released/ Smart Decision Tue, 18 Oct 2016 4:36:13 PM Zack Newman, KOMU 8 Reporter Latest candidate committee funds released

COLUMBIA — Details on the amount of money committees have raised funds for candidates across the ballot have been released. 

The October Quarter report is produced by the Missouri Ethics Commission and outlines most of the funds received and spent from July 1 to Sept. 30. 

Candidate nameCommittee nameReceived in this period (July 1st- September 30th)Spent in periodMoney on hand
KosterKoster for Missouri3,475,738.926,168,307.976,586,042.48
GreitensGreitens for Missouri4,172,318.004,699,141.042,716,601.34
STATE SENATE 19th District    
RowdenFriends of Caleb Rowden300,234.00267,644.69392,960.34
WebberCitizens for Stephen Webber396,543.00437,941.40849,030.30
Republican Josh HawleyHawley for Missouri3,279,965.81100,871.464,323,648.11
Democrat Teresa HensleyTeresa Hensley for Missouri1,105,496.76400,928.971,148,376.41
Jason KanderUnavailable, report filed with the Federal Election Commission   
Roy BluntUnavailable, report filed with the Federal Election Commission   

Money can be spent on methods to garner name recognition like TV ads, social media campaigns or billboards. However, the victorious candidate is not always the one that raised the most money. 

"You really want to see is how much money a challenger facing an incumbent might have, because it's the challenger who really has to introduce himself or herself to the voters,"said Peverill Squire, a political science professor at MU. "The incumbent is usually well enough known, so if the challenger can raise enough money to run a competitive race, then you expect a close contest."

Terry Smith, a professor of political science at Columbia College, said the destination of the money will be telling of the campaign strategy. A social media campaign could be an indicator of targeting young voters.

"This is a candidates' dream. There's usually not new money this late in the campaign," Smith said. 

Funds have been pouring in since the filing deadline. On Tuesday, the Koster for Missouri Committee received $175,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. On Monday, the committee supporting gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens got a $2.5 million dollar donation from the Republican Governors Association.

Smith said the increases at the state level can lead to decreases in funding for local elections. 

"Somebody who works in one of those campaigns is pulling his hair out because these high profile races are just taking all of the oxygen out of the fundraising for the state," he said.  

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TARGET 8 fact checks Koster's attack of Greitens' nonprofit money http://www.komu.com/news/target-8-fact-checks-koster-s-attack-of-greitens-nonprofit-money/ http://www.komu.com/news/target-8-fact-checks-koster-s-attack-of-greitens-nonprofit-money/ Smart Decision Mon, 10 Oct 2016 9:15:15 PM Christina Salonikas, KOMU 8 Reporter TARGET 8 fact checks Koster's attack of Greitens' nonprofit money

COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News's investigative team is fact checking politicans' political ad campaigns in preparation for the upcoming November 8 election. 

Target 8 looked into claims made by Chris Koster's campaign attacking Eric Greitens.

The ads attack Greitens veteran's nonprofit called The Mission Continues. It claims Greitens used money for veterans for his own political gain. The group's website states the nonprofit "empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact."

Koster is the Democratic nominee for Missouri governor, while Greitens is the Republican nominee.

Koster's campaign provided the sources for each statement referenced in multiple attack ads, and Target 8 independently checked all of the claims in the ads. Greitens' campaign declined to give an interview or comment on claims made in the ads titled "Divert" and "Money".

'Greitens used money from his veteran's charity to pay himself over $700,000': TRUE

Greitens' nonprofit The Mission Continues started in 2007.

CPA Lynn J. Graves has more than 40 years of public, corporate and governmental accounting experience, specializing in audits of public subdivisions and not-for-profit organizations.

Graves said the purpose of a 990 tax form is to give the IRS an information return about annual activities and information of a particular tax-exempt organization. 

"A tax-exempt for an organization goes through an application process at the time they are being organized. The IRS will approve or disapprove that application. And so, once that has been accepted by the IRS, the 990 is really continuing to inform the government of the activities for the year to substantiate what they originally approved in the taxes in the organization for," Graves said.

KOMU 8 analyzed The Mission Continues 990 tax forms and found salaries of administrators.

Greitens did not have an income in 2008 and 2015.

His salary from the organization varied between 2009-2013. 

According to the nonprofit's 990 tax forms, Greitens made:

  • 2009: $101,500 in compensation from the organization
  • 2010: $50,000 in compensation from the organization
  • 2011: $200,000 in compensation from the organization and an additional $3,801 in benefits, retirement and other compensation.
  • 2012: $175,000 in compensation from the organization and an additional $11,142 in benefits, retirement and other compensation.
  • 2013: $175,000 in compensation from the organization and an additional $11,507 in benefits, retirement and other compensation.
  • 2014: $24 in compensation from the organization and an additional $15,981 in benefits, retirement and other compensation.

      Total = $743,955 

Nonprofit Missouri board member Stephen Jeanetta said CEO salaries for nonprofits vary depending on the success of an organization.

"They don’t want organizations using their nonprofits to give salaries to big people. And so, the IRS typically encourages nonprofits to keep their salaries within a certain range," Jeanetta said. 

Graves said by law every exempt organization is required to disclose why administrators get paid what they do.

According to the 990 tax form from 2013, "The process for determining compensation of the organization's CEO included a review and approval by independent persons, compatibility data from various national veterans organizations, other Midwest social service organizations, and the CEO's salary history, and contemporaneous substantiation of the deliberation and decision."

Greitens not the only administrator paid by the charity

One thing the ad does not mention is in addition to Greitens getting paid, there were other people paid by the nonprofit as well.

President Spencer Kympton made $195,699 in 2013, which is $9,192 more than what Greitens made that year.

In 2014, when Greitens made $16,005, Kympton made $199,330.

Graves also said it is important to consider salaries in relation to the value of the nonprofit. After reviewing the tax forms, he estimated The Mission Continues to be worth around $19 million. 

"With 6 million dollars spent in salaries and compensation they generated 19 million dollars in gross revenue for the organization. So those are pretty big numbers. That’s a large organization," Grave said.

Eric Greitens' charity 'spent another $600,000 of the charity's money on image consultants': TRUE

According to IRS records, The Mission Continues hired an independent contractor, Fleishman Hillard, Inc., for PR consulting.

  • 2013: $305,382
  • 2014: $314,217

      Total = $619,599

There is nothing on the publicly available tax forms to show exactly what that money went toward. The website for Fleishman Hillard, Inc. shows it is a public relations and marketing agency that offers services including reputation management, brand marketing, and media relations. 

Jeanetta said you don't see much work with image consultants in nonprofits because "Most nonprofits are trying to make sure most of their resources they take in are being used for what people are giving them the resources to do."

KOMU 8 News asked Graves if something like this was odd to see in the tax form.

"It just depends on what they are trying to accomplish, and again they have generated a lot of contributions, so they have got to get their name out there in front of the public. They have got to get their message out, you gotta get it disseminated to the right people who are going to send you money for each charitable cause."

KOMU 8 News reached out to Greitens' campaign asking what that money was used for and never received a comment back.

'Eric used [the money] to start his political career': INCOMPLETE

KOMU 8 News reviewed Greitens' campaign contribution records and found he gave himself $50,000 to his own campaign in 2015, but KOMU 8 News cannot definitively say where that money came from. 

According to RealClearPolitics the most recent poll shows that Koster is currently leading by five points in the polls. 


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Republicans and Democrats hold debate watch parties in Columbia http://www.komu.com/news/republicans-and-democrats-hold-debate-watch-parties-in-columbia/ http://www.komu.com/news/republicans-and-democrats-hold-debate-watch-parties-in-columbia/ Smart Decision Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:36:42 PM Marissa Rubino and Amanda Henderson, KOMU 8 Reporters Republicans and Democrats hold debate watch parties in Columbia

COLUMBIA - Republicans and Democrats both held watch parties in Columbia Monday night for the first presidential debate of 2016.

Boone County Republican Watch Party

The Boone County Republican Central Committee reserved a room at D. Rowe’s Restaurant in south Columbia for their members to gather to watch the debate.

Besides plenty of Trump decorations, people brought signs supporting Roy Blunt, Fred Parry and Caleb Rowden. Rowden joined the watch party with some others from his camp.

Steve Spellman, treasurer of the Committee, said prior to the debate that he has been excited recently to see Trump acting more presidential.

"I think people are really watching that as an example to see what he would really look like if he were elected," Spellman said. 

Sara Walsh, 19th District Senate Committeewoman, was excited to see so many people come out to support Trump and the party.

"Trump is solid on our constitution and our principles," Walsh said. 

The committee has an election headquarters on North Providence Road, and was urging people on their way out to start volunteering more with the committee's office. 

Hillary Clinton Campaign Watch Party

Supporters of the Hillary Clinton campaign watched the debate in a reserved room at Shakespeare’s South. By the beginning of the debate, the room was full and people were quiet, waiting for the candidates to take the stage.

Some of the viewers went into the debate hoping to hear more about certain topics.

“I’m really hoping we get into some substance and some policy issues. Especially on foreign policy because I think that’s Hillary’s strength,” said Patricia Doss, a Hillary Clinton campaign volunteer.

There were several signs in support for Clinton throughout the room. Before the official debate began, there was chatter among those present. Once the debate started, there were cheers for Clinton and laughs for Trump.

Among the supporters was Johanna Cox. Cox brought her family with her to the debate so they could learn more about politics. The night was also an emotional one for her as she believes that she could see history in the making.

“I think this is the first time in my life where I’ve seen that a woman really can do everything. I’ve always believed it but I’ve never seen it happen. And for my daughter to grow up in this day and age, to be able to see a woman this close and hopefully become our next president, it’s amazing,” said Cox.

Many viewers stayed throughout the entire debate, eating pizza and making remarks on the comments made by both candidates.

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Hanaway concedes Republican governor race to Greitens http://www.komu.com/news/hanaway-concedes-republican-governor-race-to-greitens/ http://www.komu.com/news/hanaway-concedes-republican-governor-race-to-greitens/ Smart Decision Wed, 3 Aug 2016 1:47:21 AM Adam Pressler, KOMU 8 Reporter Hanaway concedes Republican governor race to Greitens

BRENTWOOD - Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway conceded the race to fellow Republican candidate Eric Greitens during her watch party following Tuesday's primary election in Missouri.

Supporters anxiously awaited Hanaway's arrival at her watch party. When she took the stage to speak, she conceded the race. Hanaway thanked her supporters and team members for their loyalty.

One of Hanaway's supporters was optimistic going into the watch party.

"I feel great, it's going to be a tight race but I think this party will make the right choice and pick Hanaway," Mark Nuelle said.

Nuelle said he believes Hanaway could have gotten the state back on track.

Others at the watch party said they are sad to hear the results but are still optimistic about supporting the Republican Party.

Greitens will advance to the November ballot in the general election.

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Schaefer upbeat despite Attorney General GOP loss http://www.komu.com/news/schaefer-upbeat-despite-attorney-general-gop-loss/ http://www.komu.com/news/schaefer-upbeat-despite-attorney-general-gop-loss/ Smart Decision Wed, 3 Aug 2016 1:27:25 AM Austin Hough, KOMU 8 Reporter Schaefer upbeat despite Attorney General GOP loss

FOREST PARK - GOP attorney general candidate Kurt Schaefer remained positive after losing the primary race to Josh Hawley Tuesday night.

Hawley won in convincing fashion, bringing in 64 percent of the vote. 

Schaefer credited Hawley campaign's financial advantage as a key to why he lost the race by such a wide margin.

"I think any time you get two lawyers, things get heated," Schaefer said. "I think the other thing, too, is we got outspent by about three to one, and when that happens, you get attacked on a lot of fronts. It's hard to respond to all of those things."

Despite the loss, Schaefer said he feels proud of the work he and his team has done.

"I'm proud of the race we race and proud of all of the people that worked hard on this campaign," Schaefer said. "I had a great time traveling the state, meeting folks, hearing their concerns and doing what I can about it. And I'll continue to do that."

Hawley will challenge Democratic nominee Teresa Hensley in the general election Nov. 8.

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Election results: Koster, Greitens win primaries, hotel tax passes http://www.komu.com/news/election-results-koster-greitens-win-primaries-hotel-tax-passes/ http://www.komu.com/news/election-results-koster-greitens-win-primaries-hotel-tax-passes/ Smart Decision Tue, 2 Aug 2016 9:58:12 PM Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director Election results: Koster, Greitens win primaries, hotel tax passes

COLUMBIA - Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens won their respective primaries for governor Tuesday night. (See our elections page for complete results.)

In the primaries for U.S. Senate, Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander won by large margins.

Columbia's Proposition 1 was approved by a two-thirds margin. It will raise the local hotel tax from 4 to 5 percent to help fund a multi-million dollar expansion of Columbia Regional Airport.

Voters also gave the green light to Boone County's Proposition F, which will extend out-of-state sales taxes on vehicle and boat purchases.

The following candidates won in other statewide primary races.

Lieutenant Governor

  • Democrat Russ Carnahan
  • Republican Mike Parsons

Attorney General

  • Democrat Jake Zimmerman
  • Republican Josh Hawley

Secretary of State

  • Democrat Robin Smith
  • Republican John (Jay) Ashcroft

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Koster declares victory in Democratic primary for governor http://www.komu.com/news/koster-declares-victory-in-democratic-primary-for-governor/ http://www.komu.com/news/koster-declares-victory-in-democratic-primary-for-governor/ Smart Decision Tue, 2 Aug 2016 9:12:00 PM Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director Koster declares victory in Democratic primary for governor

COLUMBIA - Chris Koster handily won the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday night.

"Tonight’s victory begins our general election campaign," he said in prepared remarks. "We move beyond a discussion between Democrats and begin a new discussion that welcomes all Missourians, including Independents and Republicans to this table.

Koster spoke to supporters at a watch party in Kansas City. He harshly criticized the campaigns run by various Republican candidates, calling it the "most disturbing political campaign in 50 years." He said voters should reject "the childish behavior and extreme language we have seen this campaign season."

"To everyone who is fed up with the insanity, I ask you to join me the next 100 days, and the next 4 years, to build a Missouri that will make us proud," he said.

Koster will run in the general election against the winner of the Republican primary, either Eric Greitens, John Brunner, Catherine Hanaway or Peter Kinder. He said he expects the negative ads to start right away.

"Tomorrow morning, you will see the ads against me begin, telling you what a horrible person I am," he said in his prepared remarks.

Koster suggested some of his key issues will be poor road conditions, the state of health care, school funding, discrimination against the LGBTQ community, pay equity and relations between law enforcement officers and their communities.




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Hawley wins heated Republican attorney general primary race http://www.komu.com/news/hawley-wins-heated-republican-attorney-general-primary-race/ http://www.komu.com/news/hawley-wins-heated-republican-attorney-general-primary-race/ Smart Decision Tue, 2 Aug 2016 7:59:32 PM Lauren Barnas, KOMU 8 Reporter Hawley wins heated Republican attorney general primary race

SPRINGFIELD – Attorney Josh Hawley (R-Columbia) defeated Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) by a large margin in Tuesday's primary race for Republican attorney general. Hawley will advance to the Nov. 8 general election. 

Family and friends cheered for Hawley at his watch party at Metropolitan Grill in Springfield after final news that Hawley won the race. Schaefer conceded after Hawley led by about 20 points.

"I'm excited to see the people in Missouri making their choices and opting for a conservative outsider," Hawley said. "I think the contrast in the general election is clear. It's going to be between the same old politics in Jefferson City as usual or a new approach that put the people in Missouri in their liberty first."

One Springfield resident said his decision to vote for Hawley was an easy one.

“I cast my vote for Hawley today because he stands for everything I believe in,” Springfield resident Michael Raymond said. "He really believes in restoring the constitution, which I'm all for."

Hawley said he's thankful to have a chance to promote his platform in November.

"It's an honor to get to take this message of defending the Constitution, defending the rights of Missouri," Hawley said.

Raymond said when he received the voice mail from Hawley's campaign inviting him and his wife to the watch party, he didn't hesitate to join even though he's new to the area. In addition to new supporters like Raymond, Springfield is home to many of Hawley's long-time followers.

"This is a place where I have so many friends and family," Hawley said. "My parents live here, so it's just great to see supporters from all across the state here tonight."

People at the watch party said they are excited to see what will happen in November.

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Gubernatorial candidate John Brunner hosts watch party in St. Louis http://www.komu.com/news/gubernatorial-candidate-john-brunner-hosts-watch-party-in-st-louis/ http://www.komu.com/news/gubernatorial-candidate-john-brunner-hosts-watch-party-in-st-louis/ Smart Decision Tue, 2 Aug 2016 6:22:40 PM Khaki Martin, KOMU 8 Reporter Gubernatorial candidate John Brunner hosts watch party in St. Louis

FRONTENAC - Republican gubernatorial candidate John Brunner hosted a campaign watch party at the St. Louis Hilton in Frontenac for primary election night.

The room was filled with more than one hundred Brunner supporters and family members. 

"I am very grateful, my entire family has assembled together here. 12 grandchildren have showed up, 8 and under, I am so amazed and I’m so happy that everybody’s back here for the campaign," Brunner said.

Brunner was briefly available at the location from 3 to 4 p.m. for pre-interviews with the media, before the polls closed at 7 p.m. During this window, KOMU 8 asked Brunner what his next steps would be if he lost the primary election.

"If you lose, well, I haven't given that a lot of thought at this point in time. It's all about keeping the fight going, and keeping the opprotunities going. But you know the battles always go on," Brunner said. 

Brunner faced off against opponents Catherine Hanaway, Eric Greitens and Peter Kinder for the Republican nomination, in one of the most competitive republican gubernatorial races Missouri had seen in decades.

KOMU 8 declared Greitens as the winner shortly before 10 p.m.

Brunner conceded at about 9:40 p.m. A partygoer said he gave his concession speech surrounded by family onstage. In his speech, Brunner urged young voters to not be discouraged and to continue to fight for the issues they believe in.  

Brunner’s campaign manager said Brunner called Eric Greitens to congratulate him on his win.

Greitens will go on to face the democratic nominee Chris Koster in the general election on November 8. 


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Republican Eric Greitens wins crowded gubernatorial primary http://www.komu.com/news/republican-eric-greitens-wins-crowded-gubernatorial-primary/ http://www.komu.com/news/republican-eric-greitens-wins-crowded-gubernatorial-primary/ Smart Decision Tue, 2 Aug 2016 7:08:27 PM Max Diekneite, KOMU 8 Reporter Republican Eric Greitens wins crowded gubernatorial primary

CHESTERFIELD - Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens defeated three other candidates in the Republican primary for governor Tuesday night.

He won against former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and St. Louis businessman John Brunner in one of the most competitive Republican gubernatorial races in recent Missouri history.

Greitens will face Chris Koster, the Democratic candidate and current Missouri attorney general, in November's general election.

"If Chris Koster was going to fix Missouri's problems, he would have done it already," Greitens said to his watch party supporters, as he accepted the nomination.

More than 200 Greitens supporters attended his watch party in Chesterfield Tuesday night. The campaign's co-chairman, David Steelman, said Missourians are ready for a change, and Greitens is the candidate who will make it happen.

“We don’t have the opportunities in the state of Missouri as we did when I was younger, and if we’re going to get those opportunities back, we’re going to make this state what it can be, we’re going to need a conservative revolution. We’re going to need Eric Greitens,” Steelman said.

Steelman said what happened in Ferguson is one of many examples of poor leadership by current governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat. Steelman said Greitens would have handled things much differently.

“He would have gone there, he would have talked to both sides. Ferguson would not have happened if Greitens was governor,” Steelman said.

He compared Greitens to another conservative outsider who broke into the political scene first by being elected governor.

“Eric Greitens, I believe, will prove to be the most transformational governor since Ronald Reagan was elected in California. He’ll make a difference not just for Missouri, but for the whole country,” Steelman said.


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Democratic VP pick Tim Kaine has deeper ties to Mizzou http://www.komu.com/news/democratic-vp-pick-tim-kaine-has-deeper-ties-to-mizzou/ http://www.komu.com/news/democratic-vp-pick-tim-kaine-has-deeper-ties-to-mizzou/ Smart Decision Sun, 24 Jul 2016 1:37:17 PM Austin Hough, KOMU 8 Reporter Democratic VP pick Tim Kaine has deeper ties to Mizzou

COLUMBIA - Tim Kaine has always been a leader.

While as a student at the University of Missouri, he served as a Summer Welcome leader, helping the incoming freshman class learn the ins and outs of MU.

When Kaine was announced as Hillary Clinton's vice president pick Friday, one current Summer Welcome leader felt proud.

"I think regardless of what political party you're a part of, you should be happy for Tim Kaine because not only as a Summer Welcome alumni, but a Mizzou alumni in general, you should be proud," Summer Welcome student coordinator Darren Green said.

Since being a Summer Welcome leader, Kaine has been a mayor, governor, and senator in Virginia, going 8-0 in elections. Green said his Summer Welcome days may have served as a precursor to his political career.

"I think it helped Tim Kaine," Green said. "I don't know if this is the one thing that set him above everything else. But, I think the program did help."

Kaine graduated from Missouri with a bachelors degree in economics in 1979. He became the mayor of Richmond, Virginia in 1998, the governor of Virginia in 2006, and a U.S. senator in 2013. Kaine was rumored to be President Barack Obama's vice presidential pick in 2008, before Obama selected Joe Biden.

The Democratic National Convention starts Monday, July 25 in Philadelphia. Kaine is expected to speak and officially accept the nomination by Thursday.


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Columbia voters choose Treece for mayor, Skala and Thomas for council http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-voters-choose-treece-for-mayor-skala-and-thomas-for-council/ http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-voters-choose-treece-for-mayor-skala-and-thomas-for-council/ Smart Decision Tue, 5 Apr 2016 9:06:15 PM Rose Schmidt, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Columbia voters choose Treece for mayor, Skala and Thomas for council

COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News has results from Tuesday's municipal election, in which residents voted on a new mayor and city council seats.

Brian Treece defeated Skip Walther by 773 votes to become Columbia's next mayor.

In the race for Columbia Third Ward council member, Karl Skala defeated Tom Leuther. Skala received 57 percent to Leuther's 43 percent. Skala told KOMU 8 News he is happy to keep his seat and get back to work. 

"Well now it's time to roll up out sleeves and get to work," Skala said. "There are a lot of challenges ahead obviously... the litany of campaign planks, public safety and infrastructure and economic development and this whole idea about social equity."

In the Fourth Ward, Ian Thomas won the city council seat, with 66 percent of the vote. Daryl Dudley, who withdrew from the race after failing to report campaign donations, still earned 34 percent of the vote.

Two financial measures were on the ballot for the Columbia School District.

Voters said yes to an operating tax levy increase of 65 cents on every 100,000 dollars of assessed valuation for "general school operating purposes, including maintaining current programs, providing support for an increasing student enrollment and assisting in recruiting high-quality faculty."

Voters also approved a $30 million bond for "acquiring, constructing, improving, extending, repairing, remodeling, renovating, furnishing and equipping new and existing school facilities."

Jan Mees and James A. Whitt won election to the Columbia School Board.


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Voters react to what they heard at gubernatorial debate http://www.komu.com/news/voters-react-to-what-they-heard-at-gubernatorial-debate/ http://www.komu.com/news/voters-react-to-what-they-heard-at-gubernatorial-debate/ Smart Decision Thu, 17 Mar 2016 9:53:18 PM Michael Lindquist, KOMU 8 Reporter Voters react to what they heard at gubernatorial debate

COLUMBIA - The Republican candidates for governor debated Thursday night about why each of them should be the next Missouri governor.

Jay Shelton attended the debate and said they covered everything he was interested in.

"It seems to me like they were all very similar in their opinions on conservative values and that sort of thing," Shelton said. "Their approach was a little different, but overall I was impressed."

Chris Scott also saw the debate and said they talked about some really relevant topics that matter a lot to Missouri, but focused a little too much on themselves.

"They all said good things about themselves, building themselves up," Scott said.

The gubernatorial election will be held on November 8.

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Candidates spar during GOP governor debate http://www.komu.com/news/candidates-spar-during-gop-governor-debate/ http://www.komu.com/news/candidates-spar-during-gop-governor-debate/ Smart Decision Thu, 17 Mar 2016 6:32:42 PM Taylor Stevens, KOMU 8 Reporter Candidates spar during GOP governor debate

COLUMBIA - A debate between Republican candidates for governor grew contentious at times Thursday night. (Watch the complete debate and post-debate analysis below.)

Candidates strayed away from topics several times while answering questions on topics such as bringing jobs to Missouri, funding state roads, race relations, university funding, term limits and campaign reform.

Candidates included St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and former Missouri Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway.

When asked a viewer question about minimum wage, Hanaway quickly swerved to the topic of one of Greitens's campaign donors who was accused of sexual assault in Silicon Valley. She said Greitens should have to give that money to abuse shelters for women.

In response, Greitens said Hanaway's actions were "desperate." He said decisions should be made only when the facts of the case are determined. He then went on to question Hanaway's support for concealed carry.

"She was against concealed carry in 2002. She was against concealed carry in 1999," Greitens said. "Her record on protecting your Second Amendment rights was so bad that the NRA gave her a D - a rating lower than Chris Koster."

Hanaway said the NRA endorsed her as the "best choice" last time she ran for office, and she said the concealed carry law wouldn't have happened without her. She then returned to Greitens's donor case.

"Nice diversionary tactic, Eric," Hanaway said. "But I don’t want to walk away from this issue of an abused woman that you won’t take her word for it."

Later in the debate, when asked a viewer question about marijuana legalization, Kinder returned to the accusations of Greitens's donor.

Greitens responded by bringing up Kinder's previous involvement in a strip club scandal, and said Kinder had no room to discuss "tabloid" sexual accusations.

Here are the candidates' responses to other topics throughout the debate:

Missouri jobs

Candidates first discussed their plans for bringing high-paying jobs to Missouri. Although the unemployment rate was at its lowest since June, 2001, the state's poverty level was above 15 percent. 

"We need strong leadership to take Missouri on a U-turn from the course we're on," Kinder said. "We are surrounded by tax-cutting states, and we need to get with the program."

Brunner highlighted his history with job creation in his response.

"As a CEO in Missouri to other CEO's, I gotta bring business back to this state," Brunner said. 

Hanaway and Greitens instead said it's not up to the government to create jobs.

Hanaway said "hard-working Missourians" create jobs and government regulations were "crushing" small businesses. She also said Right-to-Work would benefit Missourian workers because it would increase wages and job positions faster.

Greitens added the government must create the conditions for job growth.

"We need to simplify the tax code and make it fair for people around Missouri," Greitens said.

Missouri highways

Another topic for debate was the state of Missouri's highway system. A 17-cent-per-gallon gas tax helps fund the transportation system, but it hasn't increased in 20 years. 

Brunner said he didn't intend to increase taxes or tolls to help increase road funding, but he said Missouri roads are "so far behind," they need to be a top priority for lawmakers.

Hanaway said Missourians don't trust MoDOT to spend their tax dollars efficiently. She recommended a three-part plan for highway funding that would track spending. The measures would include MoDOT is spending the money efficiently, making sure dollars collected in the gas tax are spent on roads and bridges, and possibly shifting the taxing priorities and increasing the gas tax.

Greitens said he wouldn't raise taxes for Missourians, but the solution to highway funds wasn't "magic." 

"We have a major problem with roads and bridges here in Missouri," Greitens said. "This requires a leader who will change business as usual in Jefferson City."

Kinder said he was in favor of regional transportation districts in the state.

Race relations

Another area addressed by candidates was race relations in Missouri. The topic gained national attention after the events in both Ferguson and the November protests on the University of Missouri's campus. 

Greitens said his history as a Navy SEAL and his support of law enforcement officers could've prevented some of the results of the Fergsuon protests.

"I went out to Ferguson," Greitens said. "The great tragedy of Ferguson was having a leader who didn’t address it with calm and clarity...we could've had peace by the second night."

Kinder said the actions of Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster in Ferguson was “the worst betrayal of leadership” and a reason for failed race relations. He said unification starts with supporting law enforcement.

Hanaway also questioned the governor's leadership. 

"Nixon gave an open invitation for rioters from all over the country to come to Ferguson," Hanaway said. "Part of the problem is that he didn't have relations with that community."

Brunner said he didn't need to visit Ferguson to see what was happening.

"It’s been happening for 30 years," Brunner said. "Dealing with racism is about being engaged and caring."

Greitens, who had previously been silent on the University of Missouri protests, said the actions were a result of failed leadership. 

He said what happened on campus was about a small number of people on campus saying “today, life on campus is too tough."

"If you’re concerned with social justice then go out a do something about it," Greitens said.

UM System funding

On a similar note, candidates discussed how they would address funding for the University of Missouri if elected as governor. Lawmakers have been considering a $7.6 million cut to the university's system.

Brunner said cuts would be justified. He said taxpayers want to see more students learning and less protesting.

Hanaway said it would be difficult to rebuild the state's flagship institution until leadership was accountable to donors and taxpayers. She said she would ensure that, "teachers will teach, scholarship athletes will play and students will attend class without 'muscle' being called in.'”

Hanaway previously said scholarship students or athletes shouldn't have the right to boycott their responsibilities if they disagree with campus policy. This was a contested topic in November when a number of the university's football players boycotted activities during the protests on campus. 

Kinder said he would fight for the university's budget. 

Term limits

The candidates also touched on term limits in the legislature. Some lawmakers had recently proposed the idea of adjusting the limits so legislators could serve longer for more continuity. The candidates all said they disagreed to a certain extent.

Kinder said he had supported term limits for Missouri government officials for decades, but he doesn't support implementing limits on officials who don't currently have them. 

Hanaway and Greitens said they support term limits for all officials.

"Diapers and politicians should be changed frequently and for the same reason," Greitens said, quoting Mark Twain.


When addressed with the question of campaign reform and political gifts, Hanaway said she "absolutely supports" a ban on all gifts from lobbyists. She received $750,000 from a single donor in her campaign, but she said she was transparent about it. She said she wanted to expose what happens behind closed doors. 

"Sunlight and transparency will clean the system," Hanaway said.

Greitens has received a large amount of his campaign funds from resources outside of Missouri. When asked how that plays into representing Missourians in his campaign, he said strong conservatives want to invest in a campaign like his, and he said he was able to make those connections within the state, as well.

Brunner was asked about his alignment with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. He said no matter how he answered, he would upset half the room.

Kinder has been criticized for hotel bills in the past. When asked about limiting the use of taxpayer money for travel expenses, he said he wrote the biggest personal check he had ever written, $53,000, to remove any taint from the scandal. 




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Missouri GOP candidates answer viewer questions in debate http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-gop-candidates-answer-viewer-questions-in-debate/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-gop-candidates-answer-viewer-questions-in-debate/ Smart Decision Thu, 17 Mar 2016 6:49:54 PM Amber Smith, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Missouri GOP candidates answer viewer questions in debate

COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News asked you what questions you would like to ask gubernatorial candidates. We also collected questions you shared with us during Facebook Live conversation. 

During the responses to a few of our viewer questions, candidates got off topic and attacked each other. Those attacks and responses are included under the candidate's answers to viewer questions.

Our first viewer-generated question to candidates was about minimum wage.

The question: "When we asked viewers what they wanted to hear about from you, minimum wage came up more than any other topic. Michelle Reed said, “The minimum wage should be a living wage.” Where do you stand on raising the minimum wage and what do you think it should be?"

Catherine Hanaway said the worst thing Missouri can do is to have different minimum wages throughout the state. She said what Missouri has to do is win the competition to have better jobs than other states.

Hanaway and Grietens squabble off-topic. 

At the end of Hanaway's answer, she changed topics to  criticize one of Eric Greitens's donors, who has been the subject of a sexual abuse scandal. Hanaway claimed a million-dollar contributor to Greitens's campaign faces allegation of sexual assault and called on Greitens to return the money. 

Eric Greitens responded to Hannawy's comments without responding to the minimum wage question and instead calling her 'desperate' and untrustworthy. Greitens then questioned her support of concealed carry saying she voted against concealed carry multiple times. 

"Her record on protecting your second amendment rights was so bad that the NRA gave her a D, a rating lower than Chris Koster," Greitens said. "Now look, we need to have strong leaders who are willing to step forward, and unfortunately Catherine is just another career politician who is desperate for office and willing to convict people in the court of public opinion."

Hanaway responded by noting the NRA's endorsement of her as the 'best choice.' She also said the sponsor of the bill said it "would not have happened without her."

Candidates returned to the topic of minimum wage. 

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said he supports the current minimum wage law in Missouri, which voters wanted. He said he likes that the Missouri's minimum wage is indexed to the inflation rate. He said, ‘it is the wrong message for government to send” to artificially raise minimum wage.

John Brunner said it is about a living wage, but said, "you get a living wage by growing the economy." He said you need a business man to get the job done.

(This video has excerpts from the question and responses.)

The second viewer-generated question was about the legalization of marijuana. 

The question: "Many of our viewers want to know where you stand on the legalization of marijuana, either for recreational use or medical use. On our Facebook page, Mike N Opal Wilson asked, 'Why is alcohol and packing firearms legal when recreational marijuana is not,'  given the potential for medical benefits and tax revenues. Tell us your view."

Brunner was the first to answer, saying he is against the legalization of marijuana. He said he is open to more research about potential medical benefits. He also said he thinks there are other ways to grow the economy that do not involve the possible tax revenues generated legalizing marijuana.

Kinder said supports legalizing medical marijuana when it is under a doctor's order for terminally ill patients. He said he is not for legalization for recreation uses. However, before his time was up, Kinder also brought up the Greitens donor mentioned during the last viewer-generated question.

Greitens responded by saying Kinder is the last person who should be talking about men in strip clubs, a reference to Kinder's admitted visits to such clubs.

Kinder answered Greitens by saying Greitens used to be a Democrat. Greitens said he grew up as a Democrat. He said he is a Republican because of his experiences running a business and serving the country.

After that exchange candidates got back to answering the viewer-generated question about marijuana. 

Hanaway said, when she was a prosecutor, she saw how drug addiction can ruin families. She said she opposed the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medical uses. However, she said she is open to learning more about it for medical purposes.  

Greitens said, “It is simple, there is no stoned path to prosperity.”

On medical marijuana he said Missouri must be a compassionate state and help children with epilepsy. 

(This video has excerpts from the question and responses.)

Another viewer-generated question was about divisive politics.

The question: "Our viewers shared many concerns about the divisive state of politics. One of the people taking our survey asked, how will you try to get Democrats and Republicans to work together?"

Greitens said leaders need to bring people together to work together. He said he has done that through humanitarian work overseas and while working as a Navy Seal.

Brunner said, at the end of the day, it starts with mutual respect. He said cooperation is about less talking and more listening.

Kinder said he has a track record of showing up in minority communities. He said he is willing to work with anyone of good will.

Hanaway said she has worked with Democrats before. She said she persuaded Democrats to back conceal-and-carry legislation. She said she created an Urban Affairs Committee and put a Democrat as the head of the committee, even though Republicans were the majority. 

(This video has excerpts from the question and responses.)

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#CoMoGovDebate Live Blog http://www.komu.com/news/comogovdebate-live-blog/ http://www.komu.com/news/comogovdebate-live-blog/ Smart Decision Thu, 17 Mar 2016 6:34:30 PM Katie Grunik and Tyler Hastedt, KOMU 8 Digital Producers #CoMoGovDebate Live Blog

COLUMBIA - Four Missouri GOP candidates for governor gathered at the Missouri Theatre Thursday for the #CoMoGovDebate to discuss topics like Missouri jobs, highways, race relations, UM System funding, term limits and campaigning. 

Candidates included St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and former Speaker of the House Catherine Hannaway.

Let us know what your thoughts throughout the debate by using #CoMoGovDebate. Be sure to join us live on Facebook starting at 8:30 p.m. for a post-debate live session where you can weigh in on what you'd like us to fact check.

Below is a live-blog of the #CoMoGovDebate. All tweet appear in reverse chronological order.





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KOMU 8 News viewers weigh in on marijuana, wages, taxes, roads and more http://www.komu.com/news/komu-8-news-viewers-weigh-in-on-marijuana-wages-taxes-roads-and-more/ http://www.komu.com/news/komu-8-news-viewers-weigh-in-on-marijuana-wages-taxes-roads-and-more/ Smart Decision Mon, 29 Feb 2016 7:54:07 PM Rose Schmidt, KOMU 8 Digital Producer KOMU 8 News viewers weigh in on marijuana, wages, taxes, roads and more

COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News asked you to tell us your thoughts on key local and state election issues, as well as what questions you would like to ask the gubernatorial candidates. 

We've also hosted Facebook Live conversations where you've shared more opinions with us. We've collected the results and comments.

Legalization of marijuana for medical and personal use

Almost 60 percent of survey responders agreed in some capacity that marijuana should be legalized for personal use, with sales being taxed. The number was slightly higher for medical use, at about 68 percent, with taxes specifically going toward care of military veterans.

Quite a few Facebook commenters advocated for the legalization of marijuana.

"Missourians deserve a choice on how to legalize cannabis in 2016. The MCRPA 2016-013 is common sense, evidence-based policy that will bring healing to millions of people and an industrial revolution thru hemp to our economy," Laura Harrison commented, referring to the Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act.

The results show about 26 percent disagree with marijuana legalization for personal use, but only 15 percent disagree with legalization for medical use.

Twelve people told us they wanted candidates to address the legalization of marijuana during the election cycle.

Facebook user Mike N Opal Wilson said he would ask the candidates, "Why is alcohol and packing firearms legal ..when recreational marijuana is not legal?"

Minimum wage increase

Of those surveyed, 47 percent believed the minimum wage should go up to $9 now and $15 by 2023.

"I also agree minimum wage should be more, i payed $475 for a very tiny 2 bedroom house and we never had enough for other expenses," Facebook user Sarah Jane Schudel said.

Forty-two percent of the survey respondents disagreed in some capcity with raising the minimum wage.

Facebook user Benjamin Thomas said minimum wage should not be raised because it would lead to other prices rising. 

"What needs to be focused on is making our dollar worth something again. It's the result of inflation, the reason why everything is so expensive is because our dollar isn't worth as much as it once was. There isn't enough gold backing it, and way too many bills in circulation," Thomas commented.

When asked what questions viewers would like to ask candidates, one man who works full time and identifies as a Democrat said, "Why are you all so corrupted by money and why do you work so little, yet make more than many, yet wont raise the minimum wage , yet you raise your own pay?"

Voter ID

Nearly a quarter of our survey respondents listed Voter ID as their number one concern. 57 percent said they think a voter should have to show a government-approved photo ID to vote in an election.

About 29 percent disagreed with the statement.

One man who identified as 60 or older said he wanted to see voter ID brought up in the election cycle, and a woman in her 50s said she wanted local and statewide candidates to focus on "the protection of rights of voters."

Cigarette tax for road repairs

The viewer survey asked whether people agreed or disagreed with the statement "Cigarette smokers should pay more state tax to fund road repairs."

Forty-seven percent disagreed, while 38 percent agreed.

More than 20 survey respondents wanted candidates to address road or bridge repair, or infrastructure of some kind. Some specifically mentioned infrastructure on Interstate 70.

If given the chance to ask candidates questions, one woman who identifies as Republican said she would ask, "What adjustments would you suggest be made to the budget to ensure the inspection and safety modifications to Missouri's infrastructure?"
A Democratic woman said she would ask, "Why, when it is so obvious that we need funding for education and infrastructure are legislatures continuing to cut taxes?"

Campaign contributions
Thirty percent of survey takers listed campaign contrubutions as their top priority, more than any other issue. About 83 percent said they agreed in some capacity that campaign contributions should be limited.

Seven percent disagreed.

One employed woman in her 50s who identifies as an Independent said, given the opportunity, she would ask the candidates, "Who has given you the most in campaign contributions and why do you think they gave you that much?"

Another survey respondent would want to ask gubernatorial candidates, "How do you justify all that's spent on political campaigns that could go directly to helping the poor?"

Other issues

Another hot-button issue for survey respondents was refugees or illegal immigrants in the state.

A woman in her 50s who identifies as a Republican said she would like to ask the gubernatorial candidates, "How are you going to keep Syrian refugees out of the US? They don't want to assimilate to obey our laws."

Education was an issue twelve respondents said they wanted candidates to address during the 2016 election: particularly regarding increased funding for education.
Facebook user Judy Cain said she'd like to see lawmakers address bullying. 
"We are just not protecting our kids enough. The schools are just not doing enough or some don't care.," Cain commented.
A survey respondent in her 40s who works full time and identifies as an Independent would like to ask candidates, "How are you going to make college (and tech schools, or basically any post-high school programs) more affordable for people?"
A man 60 or older wanted to know, "How are tax dollars spent in public school systems?"
Other issues that received notable attention from respondents were problems with the University of Missouri, health care, funding for Planned Parenthood, women's rights and gender issues, the environment, public safety, gun laws, veterans' care, welfare, and ethics reform.

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Viewer survey: Share your thoughts on key election issues http://www.komu.com/news/viewer-survey-share-your-thoughts-on-key-election-issues/ http://www.komu.com/news/viewer-survey-share-your-thoughts-on-key-election-issues/ Smart Decision Mon, 15 Feb 2016 10:37:27 PM Rose Schmidt, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Viewer survey: Share your thoughts on key election issues

COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News wants to know what matters to you most this election season. Are the candidates talking about issues you care about? How do you feel about proposed laws on everything from marijuana legalization and the minimum wage to cigarete taxes and voter ID?

Our next Town Square segment will share your views with our audience. And some of your remarks may be used in the KOMU 8/Chamber of Commerce gubernatorial debates.

Please take our brief and anonymous survey. You will have the option to leave your contact information if you want to be interviewed by one of our reporters.

Create your own user feedback survey


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KOMU 8, MU, and Chamber of Commerce to host gubernatorial debates http://www.komu.com/news/komu-8-mu-and-chamber-of-commerce-to-host-gubernatorial-debates/ http://www.komu.com/news/komu-8-mu-and-chamber-of-commerce-to-host-gubernatorial-debates/ Smart Decision Thu, 28 Jan 2016 11:52:40 AM Katie Pylipow and Yili Liu, KOMU 8 Digital Producers KOMU 8, MU, and Chamber of Commerce to host gubernatorial debates

COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 will host a collaborative effort with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the University of Missouri to produce a series of gubernatorial debates.

The first debate will be 90 minutes starting at 7 p.m., March 17 at the Missouri Theatre. Republican candidates John Brunner, Eric Greitens, Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder are all scheduled to participate.

The debate is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

KOMU 8 News anchors Brittany Pieper and Jim Riek will moderate the times debate. It will be aired live on KOMU 8 News.

KOMU 8 General Manager Marty Siddall said:

“KOMU 8 is honored to host the debate and broadcast it statewide as part of our Smart Decision 2016 coverage. This debate will spark meaningful conversations and provide lively discussions important to all Missourians as they consider who will be their next Governor.”

The second debate will be a general election debate and will be scheduled in either September or October. That debate will feature both the Democrat and Republican nominees.

Students from the MU School of Journalism and the Truman School of Public Affairs will also be involved in the debate.

MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said:

“We are proud to host these important debates at the state’s flagship institution, and we look forward to providing valuable experiences for our students. This opportunity will allow our students to have direct involvement in the democratic process."

If you have questions you'd like us to ask the candidates, leave them in the comments below or post them to our Facebook page.

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Rick Perry suspends 2016 presidential campaign in Missouri http://www.komu.com/news/rick-perry-suspends-2016-presidential-campaign-in-missouri/ http://www.komu.com/news/rick-perry-suspends-2016-presidential-campaign-in-missouri/ Smart Decision Fri, 11 Sep 2015 4:25:58 PM Rose Schmidt & Andrea Gonzales, KOMU 8 Reporters Rick Perry suspends 2016 presidential campaign in Missouri

ST. LOUIS - Rick Perry suspended his 2016 presidential campaign at an event Friday, just days before the GOP debate.

"Some things have come and become very clear to me. That is why, today, I'm suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States," the former Texas governor said.


Two other Republican presidential candidates, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee, also spoke at the Eagle Council Convention at the Marriott Hotel near the St. Louis Airport.


The most recent CNN/ORC poll released in late August puts Carson in second place, behind Donald Trump, with 19%. Huckabee came in at 5%, while Perry was at less than 3%, according to the poll. 

Huckabee said if elected president in 2016, he plans to give Perry a position.

Carson spoke first at the event. The former neurosurgeon said he was doing so well in the polls because the American people feel as though they can't with the direction America is going. 



An attendee of the event, Fred Boch, had a similar view about how the public feels about traditional candidates with political backgrounds.

"I'm not implying that non-politicians may be the end result, where we end up," Boch said. "But I think the public is fed up with establishment in terms of things being done the same way all the time."

Carson slammed the Affordable Care Act, suggesting it be replaced with a health savings account that starts when a person is born and ends when a person dies.

"We've got plenty of money to take care of the problems," Carson said.

Carson also talked about a high veteran suicide rate and said the VA system is "in chaos." Regarding immigration, Carson said the U.S. has an illegal immigration problem but proposed a solution.

"We have to seal our borders from the people," Carson said.

Regarding social issues, Carson said he wants to protect the rights of Americans who believe the same things as him.

"I believe in traditional marriage, and I don't believe in killing babies," Carson said.

Huckabee was the last to speak, talking about a variety of issues in his speech. But he first joked he would not be dropping out of the race like Perry did.



The former Arkansas governor said it is not the role of the Supreme Court of the United States to make laws, referencing the recent decisions to uphold the Affordable Care Act and legalize same-sex marriage.

Regarding Syrian refugees, Huckabee said it is the role of the U.S. to send assistance, but said Saudi Arabia should host the refugees.

In a statement from Homer Page, the chairperson for the Boone County Democratic Party, he says that in most cases, Carson, Perry and Huckabee are people who really do not understand the U.S. Constitution.

He added that all three candidates confused people about what it really means to live in a democracy by the constitution and not by religious ideology.

Organizers of the Eagle Council conference invited 12 political candidates; half of them confirmed they'd be there.

Boch said the number of candidates doesn't make him weary of the future election.

"I'm impressed by several," Boch said. "We have some good candidates in our party, so I'm looking forward to just learn more about them and hear from them."

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum are slated to speak at the convention on Saturday. 

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated with the latest information.)


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