POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The Democrats gathered in Poplar Bluff Saturday to choose their candidate for Missouri's 8th District congressional seat. And that candidate was State Rep. Steve Hodges from East Prairie.
The event started at 1 p.m. at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Poplar Bluff.
Rep. Linda Black and Dr. Jack Rushin have dropped out of race. Rep. Steve Hodges was then added.
There are 67 voting members present for the Democrat committee members. A candidate needs 34 to win nomination.
The Democratic candidates are Todd Mahn, Markel Fitchpatrick and Steve Hodges.
Todd Mahn is up first to speak. Mahn is the first candidate to declare. His opening remarks focused on jobs and job creation.
Markel Fitchpatrick spoke next. He is from Blodgett, Mo. His wife spoke for him last time. Fitchpatrick is the former mayor of Blodgett. He closed with importance of buying American.
The final candidate to give opening statements was State Rep. Steve Hodges. He is the newest candidate to run.
There was a question and answer session before the voting began. The first question was, where candidates stand in reference to fiscal cliff?
Mahn goes back to jobs and how important they are in reference to the fiscal cliff question.
Fitchpatrick and Hodges both talk about working together to get results on something like the fiscal cliff.
The second question was, where do candidates stand on road and infrastructure improvements? Mahn said, "We have the workers ready to go."
Rep. Hodges said that Congress needs to consider a realistic plan to improve roads and infrastructures.
The third question was how the candidates feel about school vouchers.
Mahn said he's not for school vouchers. He also points out he considers himself a conservative Democrat.
Fitchpatrick says he does not support school vouchers. He feels learning a skill or trade to provide for your family is very important.
Hodges said simply no school vouchers. He called it a logistical nightmare.
The next question was, do you support the farm bill? Mahn says he does but it needs more long-term answers. Mahn pointed out the 8th District is poorest District in the state of Missouri.
Fitchpatrick said farmers are the backbone of 8th District. He stressed the important of protecting them. He wants the bill passed.
Hodges says the agriculture bill is very important to 8th District and the country. He pointed out cattle production is down.
The next question was, what policies should be put in place to balance the budget?
Mahn used the example of President Clinton to balance the budget. He also said he hopes to get Clinton to help on the campaign trail.
Fitchpatrick says foreign manufacturers need high tariffs to level the playing field for American companies.
Hodges says biggest way to solve the budget crisis is job placement. "If you have people working, they will take that money and spend it," Hodges said.
All candidates were then formally nominated by members of the committee. The candidates then gave their closing remarks before the voting.
Mahn said the national spotlight will be on this race.
Fitchpatrick listed off everything he believes in which includes, pro-life, strong military, against bailouts and buying American.
Hodges then thanked the other candidates and said he is running because he wants to give back to the people.
Voting then began.
First round results: Fitchpatrick two votes, Mahn 27 votes and Hodges 39 votes.
The GOP has already chosen their candidate.
Republicans last Saturday went with 32-year-old Jason Smith, the current speaker pro tem of the Missouri House.
A special election will be held on June 4 to decide who goes to Washington.
Todd Tumminia is covering the event live. You can follow him on Twitter @ToddTumminia.