Missourians React to Gephardt Choice

January 3, 2003
Posted at: 9:10 p.m. CDT

KENNETT, Mo. -- Southeast Missourians say that despite Rep. Dick Gephardt beng one of their own, he needs to prove to them that he is qualified for the White House.

Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Gephardt will be holding a fund-raising dinner on January 22 to kick off a presidential exploratory committee. The forming of a committee is typically the starting-off point for a possible run for the presidency.

Jim Marcus said he would "not necessarily" vote for Gephardt should he decide to run for president.

"It depends on who runs against him. Their record and all that," Marcus said.

Gephardt first signaled he was considering a run for president when he stepped down from his position as House Minority Leader following the November mid-term elections. In his role as the Democratic leader, Gephardt had been working to recapture the House for the Democrats after the party lost control in 1994.

"It is time for me personally to take a different direction, to look at the country's challenge from a different perspective," Gephardt said when he left his leadership position.

Kennett native Lionel Edwards says it would make him proud to have a Missouri native in the White House.

"I love Missouri, Edwards said. "This is the 'Show-Me-State.' Anybody from Missouri I would like to see as president."

While traditionally a candidate does get the support of his home state, Gephardt may want to keep in mind what happened to Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. Gore lost his home state of Tennessee.

Gephardt's decision adds his name to three others that have moved to throw their hats in the ring. He joins Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. It is expected that former vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman and current Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle will announce their intention to run for the 2004 nomination.