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Government, Politics & Issues

Another Republican considers bid for 2nd District congressional seat

This article firt appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 9, 2012 - Dr. Randy Jotte, a physician and Republican from Webster Groves, announced today that he may jump into the 2nd District contest for Congress -- making him the third prominent Republican to do so.

Although his candidacy is not definite, Jotte already has a campaign website up and running.

Jotte is an emergency-room physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He is a former Webster Groves city councilman and narrowly lost bids for state representative in 2008 and for the St. Louis County Council in 2010. 

A St. Louis native, he was a Fulbright scholar and obtained his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

Jotte said in a statement this morning that he recognizes that he'd face "a 'David vs. Goliath' kind of challenge" because of the candidacy of Ann Wagner, a former U.S. ambassador and state party chair from Ballwin who has the backing of top Republicans -- many of whom have provided her with their bucks as well.

Also running is St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin, who narrowly lost a 3rd District bid for Congress in 2010 and is a tea party favorite.

But Jotte contends that he offers a different focus, implying that he may seek to appeal to Republican moderates. Both Martin and Wagner are social conservatives.

"I believe Missourians are hungry for an independent voice, the kind of leadership from statesmen who made America the leader of the free world," Jotte said. "The two candidates are fine individuals and good citizens. However, we need to hear solutions, not rhetoric. America desperately needs independent thinkers who will lead instead of politicians who only tell us what we want to hear."

Jotte's chief campaign issue is health care, which he says is a "looming disaster'' in the United States. "Attempts at health-care reform haven't really panned out like anyone expected," he said. "We need a fresh approach."

Jotte said he plans to attend a candidate forum Tuesday night in Tesson Ferry township that is expected to feature Wagner and Martin.

Jotte's possible entry into the 2nd District contest could make things more interesting for Democrats, as well as Republicans. So far, no major Democrat has announced for the seat, which now is held by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, who isn't running for re-election because he is running for the U.S. Senate instead.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, has been encouraged to consider a 2nd District candidacy since his district was obliterated by the General Assembly during redistricting last spring. But instead Carnahan appears to be looking at the 1st District, held by fellow Demcrat William Lacy Clay, if a lawsuit challenging the new congressional map doesn't succeed. The state Supreme Court is to hear the suit on Thursday.

St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas has said he may run for the 2nd District. 

Filing for all the candidates begins Feb. 28 in Jefferson City.

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