Congressional Challenger Jim Evans Tries Again, This Time as a Republican
A previous contender for Missouri's 7th Congressional seat is running again—this time for a different party.
Republic resident Jim Evans ran as a Democrat against Republican Congressman Billy Long in 2012 and 2014.
But this year he’s running as a Republican. Evans officially registered as a candidate last week in Jefferson City.
"I don't even consider it a switch," Evans told KSMU. "I'm an independent-minded, middle of the road person. I've spent most of my life voting Republican."
Evans said he believes his position on issues has stayed the same while the Republican party moved away from him years ago.
"Take for an example: the Republicans today are always talking about lower taxes, lower taxes, lower taxes," he said. "I think that a true value that we need to look at is efficiency."
"You have to start with making government more efficient and more effective. Otherwise, you create debt. And a value to me is to stay within a budget," Evans said.
It’s an uphill battle running as a Democrat in southwest Missouri; the numbers speak for themselves.
For example, in the 2012 State Primary, about 105,000 people in the 7th district voted for Republican candidates compared to around 14,000 people who voted for Evans, the Democratic candidate at the time. That’s about seven times as many people voting for Republicans than Democrats in the conservative district.
Evans acknowledged part of his decision was based on those numbers.
"If I want to be the perfect representative, the kind of representative that I think we need to have--then I've got to win," Evans said.
He says he believes a lot of voters in past years would have voted for him had he simply been on the Republican ticket.
"I think I had the kind of character and the kind of values and the kind of ideals that they might have liked. But they couldn't see me because I wasn't on the Republican side," Evans said.
Evans is one of four Republican candidates officially registered for Missouri’s 7th Congressional District seat. The others are Lance Norris, Benjamin Holcomb, and incumbent Billy Long.
The Democrats listed are Vince Jennings and John Farmer de la Torre.
Evans told KSMU his number one issue is "getting money out of politics."
The second main issue he's campaigning on, he said, is the dysfunction of government related to the polarization of political parties and wedge issues.
"Now our elected officials can't work with each other, and the people of this country can't even sit down to Thanksgiving dinner without yelling at each other over politics," Evans said.
He says he believes this is partly due to the "big money in politics," powerful entities that have a goal of using wedge issues to divide.
"We ought to be able to focus on problems instead of these wedge issues," Evans said.