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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Roorda On His Record, His Senate Race And Darren Wilson

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FIle photo | Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio
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The Politically Speaking crew continues its look at the so-called “Battle for JeffCo,” the expensive campaign for the 22nd District state Senate seat that's among the region's most competitive contests this fall.

After hosting Republican state Rep. Paul Wieland last week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum now welcome his opponent – state Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart – to the podcast.

The November winner of the 22nd District contest will represent a big chunk of Jefferson County for the next four years.

(You can listen to Wieland's podcast here.)

Roorda, a former police officer, currently serves as the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association. He was first elected to the Missouri House in 2004 and eventually served in the House's Democratic leadership. But Wieland initially derailed Roorda's bid for a fourth term in 2010 when Wieland  won the contest.

In a somewhat unusual twist as a result of redistricting, Roorda and Wieland ran in different districts in 2012. Both men won their respective seats and are now squaring off in arguably the most competitive legislative contest in Missouri this year. Both candidates have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for their campaigns, which will likely be spent on television and radio advertisements. Both state parties and their leaders also are pouring money and resources into the battle.

During the show, Roorda said:

  • His record has “been consistently conservative on social issues my entire eight years” in the legislature. Roorda voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes on a 72-hour waiting period for abortion and a bill allowing open carrying of firearms.  He’s also voted for numerous other bills that his party has used to brand Republicans as extremists.
  • The lawsuit filed by Wieland show shows that he fails to know the difference between birth control and abortion, in Roorda's opinion.  Roorda contends Wieland is “asking the courts to help him raise his kids...I have frank conversations with my daughters about birth control and abstinence. I think that should stay in our living room.”
  • When it comes to fundraising for Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson,  Roorda believes in “trial by jury, not trial by riot.” Roorda has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Wilson’s medical and likely legal expenses. He contended that he hasn’t faced much backlash from his African-American colleagues in the legislature for his role in raising money for Wilson.
  • Police officers, just like other citizens, “shouldn’t have their name dragged through the mud if they’re not charged with a crime...We just saw a police officer be tried in the court of public opinion rather than us wait for the facts of that case,” Roorda said. “I think what happened is more important than who is involved.”

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Jeff Roorda on Twitter: @roordaj

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.