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Politically Speaking: Wieland On His Race Against Roorda — And His Contraception Lawsuit

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s mid-term election season is in full swing. And that means it’s time to interview the candidates in some of the state’s most competitive electoral contests. 

State Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to discuss his bid for the 22nd District state Senate seat. Wieland is running against state Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, for the open Jefferson County-based seat.

(Roorda is slated to appear on next week’s episode of Politically Speaking.)

After a brief stint in the Missouri House in the 1990s, Wieland burst back onto the political scene in 2010 when he challenged Roorda — who at the time was vying for his fourth and final term in the General Assembly’s lower chamber. Wieland prevailed, marking a major political shift in a county that Missouri Democrats dominated for decades.

Roorda and Wieland both successfully ran for different House seats in 2012. But they placed themselves on a collision course when they both announced for the 22nd District seat, which Democrat Ryan McKenna represented from 2006 to 2013. Because a Democratic candidate didn’t file to oppose state Auditor Tom Schweich, the so-called “Battle for JeffCo” may be the most competitive state legislative contest of the 2014 cycle.

During the show, Wieland said:

  • His campaign is focusing primarily on economic issues, such as the need to bolster Jefferson County's port along the Mississippi River. Wieland said many of the county's residents haven't rebounded from the 2008 recession and from the closing of the Chrysler auto plant in Fenton. Many autoworkers lived in nearby Jefferson County.
  • He believes he best fits the county's political leanings. "I've always been conservative in nature, on economic and social issues." He says Roorda is simply "mostly conservative."
  • He continues to be opposed to right-to-work and other proposals aimed at curbing union clout.
  • He is confident that his suit against the Affordable Care Act's provisions requiring insurers to cover contraception will be successful. Wieland and his wife, who are staunch Catholics, say they don't want such coverage available for their three daughters. The family is insured under the state of Missouri's insurance covering state employees.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Paul Wieland on Twitter: @WielandNow

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.