Schlafly still packs a punch

The woman Pat Buchanan once dubbed ???the First Lady of Conservatism??? weighed in strongly Wednesday afternoon for Missouri???s Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder in his bid for the Republican nomination in the Show-Me State???s 8th District.

???Peter has never backed down from a fight,??? Phyllis Schlafly wrote in a strongly-worded letter of endorsement for the Cape Girardau man, who is vying for the seat recently vacated by veteran Republican Rep. JoAnn Emerson. ???He has been at the forefront of the conservative movement in Missouri, from sponsoring, passing and overriding the Governor’s veto of Missouri’s first ban on partial-birth abortion, to raising private money to file a constitutional challenge against ObamaCare ??? which he led on the national stage.???

The blessings of Eagle Forum President Schlafly, herself a Missouri resident, are likely to boost Kinder???s chances this Saturday when a group of just over 80 Republican district committee members selects a nominee to succeed Emerson in a special election later this year.

A dozen Republicans are vying for the nomination, among them Kinder, former state Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith, House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith, and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who has lost races for governor and U.S. senator.

???It???s the closest thing you get to covering the College of Cardinals electing a pope — without a Cardinal Ratzinger as the obvious contender to win,??? joked one veteran political reporter, noting the small number of people selecting the nominee in the 8th District and the behind-closed-door nature of the selection process.

Few of the committee members are giving out clues as to who they will vote for. Balloting will continue until one candidate gets a majority of the votes, with the lowest vote-getter eliminated on each successive ballot. Some who have handicapped the race have said that Kinder and Smith are the two front runners???if for no other reason than both have reportedly met or spoken to all of the committee members.

The committee is universally described as ???very conservative.??? If that is accurate, then Kinder did indeed get a major boost from his endorsement by Schlafly.