The day after a contentious primary fight is always the most awkward. That is magnified in the 7th Congressional District today because only one person can win an election. In this case, that means seven others lost. Billy Long won the primary with 36.5% of the 7th District's Republican vote, leaving 63.5% of that district's Republicans casting their ballots for one of the other choices.
This afternoon at 1:45 p.m., Southwest Missouri Republicans will be holding at rally at 1433 S. Glenstone in Springfield, the site of the new Greene County GOP Headquarters. This rally will undoubtedly feature Billy Long. But just how enthusiastic will the 63.5% of voters who didn't vote for Long be?
I agree that many of will line up behind him. There is always a certain percentage of people who will fall in line with a candidate, regardless of their views, because of the party affiliation. In this race, however, there seems to be more unhappiness with the nominee than I have seen in years. Normally those people who are really unhappy would just stay home on election day, but last night the Democrats nominated a less than liberal candidate and the Libertarians have an outspoken advocate on their side. Additionally, it appears that if enough signatures are verified, Dean Moore will be running as an Independent.
This race remains Longs to lose. He has name recognition and a message that is obviously registering with many in the area. Southwest Missouri is also one of the biggest Republican strongholds in the United States. What remains to be seen, however, is what happens with the undercurrent of unhappiness with last night's results. The confetti and rush of adrenaline from last night's victory will soon be gone. Then comes the real test -- winning in the general election.