Terrian Williams, Joplin, and Jim Smith, Webb City, came to the Lincoln Ladies Ice Cream Social seeking clarity as they prepared to vote in the Aug. 7 primary election for national, state and county offices.

Editor’s Note: The Republican Lincoln Ladies Ice Cream Social featured candidates for state and national office as well as for county offices. This story contain profiles of the statewide and national candidates on local ballots.

Terrian Williams, Joplin, and Jim Smith, Webb City, came to the Lincoln Ladies Ice Cream Social seeking clarity as they prepared to vote in the Aug. 7 primary election for national, state and county offices.
They heard from a total of 21 people, some of whom will be on their ballots, some who will not.
But did they find that clarity?
“It clarified things in some cases, but it probably did both,” said Jim Smith. “It muddied the waters and clarified things. It's all such a complicated process and it probably did both. But that's okay. I'll pray to the holy spirit to guide me in the voting booth.”
“Yeah, it was helpful, I just wish they had longer to talk,” added Terrian Williams. “We're pro-lifers, and we were mainly looking for people like that for the state senate and all the offices to run. They all said they were pro-life, but they didn't elaborate a whole lot on it.”

Ice Cream and politics
The Jasper County Republican Lincoln Ladies have hosted this ice cream social every two years during the election cycles for decades.
This year, only a few of the state-wide candidates made the trek to Southwest Missouri — three of 11 candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, two of four people seeking the Republican nod for U.S. House from the Seventh District, and two of the four people seeking the GOP nod for Missouri Auditor.
All the candidates for the more local offices, State Senate, three state House seats, and county offices were on hand.
This year is a little different in the races for Jasper County Courthouse offices with several office-holders, including some who have served for many years, retiring.
As for the State Senate and House seats, term limits is kicking out another group of eight-year veterans, leaving openings for new blood in the 32nd District State Senate seat and 127th District, 161st District and 162nd District State House seats.
Cody Smith, who represents the 163rd State House District, which includes almost all of Carthage as well as parts of Webb City and Carl Junction, is running unopposed for the Republican nomination for reelection to his second term.

U.S. Senate
Three of 11 people on the ballot for the Republican nod for U.S. Senate were shaking hands and eating ice cream at the Jasper County Ice Cream Social.
• Austin Petersen called himself “the only Republican candidate who beats Claire McCaskill by 16 points,” in what he called an “independent, scientific poll.”
“You should know, in the race to beat her, only one Republican Senate Candidate here has run a fiscally conservative campaign, that is not Josh Hawley, that didn't throw any other members of our party under the bus, and who has posted a double digit lead over Claire McCaskill,” Petersen said. “We're all pro-life, we're all pro-constitution, but who can get the job done?”
• Kristie Nichols criticized the presumptive front-runner for the Republican nod, Attorney General Josh Hawley, for not appearing at events for Republicans during the campaign.
“We've had over 60 Republican events, we've had three U.S. Senate Candidate debates,” Nichols said. “Mr. Hawley has not been present for one Lincoln Days, so he has not bothered to show up to meet you, but I have been, like other candidates, all over the state, meeting you, greeting you. The first U.S. Senate candidate debate we had, with all parties participating, I won that with the judges and with the people. The last U.S. Senate debate we had in Springfield, they gave us five minutes to answer questions about the Constitution, and I was the only candidate that was able to answer those questions.”
• Courtland Sykes touted his service in the military, including in the intelligence arms of the service, and his service on Donald Trump's National Security Council with former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, who served for less than a month in the Trump administration before he was forced to resign.
Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about whether he accepted money from foreign governments without prior approval.
“I was there to serve with Gen. Mike Flynn, many of you may recognize that name, you may have seen that name appear in newspapers and seen him on our cable television news networks,” Sykes said. “That is the reason why I'm running. I'm running because we have operating in the United States illegally a Deep State that is shifting our elections into the hands of an autocratic cabal. It isn't the Russians, it is the Democrats and it's the RINO establishment Republicans, that is why I'm running.”
The presumptive front-runner, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, did not attend Monday's event, nor did candidates Tony Monetti, Fred Ryman, Christina Smith, Bradley Krembs, Brian C, Hagg and Peter Pfieifer.

Missouri Auditor
Two of four Republicans running for the Missouri State Auditor's Office, currently being held by Democrat Nicole Galloway, spoke to the crowd in Carthage.
• Kevin Roach said he wants to modernize the State Auditor's office, an office he says hasn't been thoroughly updated since the 1970s.
“We're doing audits today just how (former President) Gerald Ford would expect them to be done,” Roach said. “We have over 3,700 separate government entities operating in Missouri. And you know about some of them, road districts, fire districts, ambulance districts, cities, counties, and the most expensive, school districts. The state auditor, right now, audits less than 100 out of those 3,700. That means 97 percent of government does not have an independent audit looking at the finances and performance. And the fact of it is, you all pay for it.”
Roach said he walked from St. Louis to Warrensburg to pressure the University of Central Missouri to release its budget and spending information.
“I walked 193 miles, to confront the bureaucrats on campus at the University of Central Missouri, who were locking the public out of their budget,” Roach said. “I was offended by that. These budgets and the monthly expenses, they should all be online, so that not only the state auditor can scrutinize them, but you can look at them too from your home and office on demand.”
• Saundra McDowell said she's the only candidate with the experience needed to run the State Auditor's office and touted her experience as with the Missouri Attorney General's Office and Missouri Secretary of State's Office prosecuting Medicare fraud and securities fraud.
“I am the only candidate that has the exact experience of the state auditor's office,” McDowell said. “I am an attorney, I've already been prosecuting fraud with the state. I have been instrumental in bringing back over $10 million to the state under the AG's office and the Secretary of State's office and I want to bring that experience to the Auditor's Office. I am also a veteran, I was in the Air Force for eight years, six years active duty, two years in the reserves.”
She said she worked as a med-tech in the military and saw first hand the cost of freedom paid by military veterans.
“I already live in Jefferson City, my family is close by, I could literally walk to work at the auditor's office, it would take me about five minutes to get there, maybe 10 minutes in heels,” McDowell said. “I agree, we need to fire Claire, but we also need to fire Nichole, she has a lot of problems in that office, and that is the main reason I'm running for this position, it's the only position I've ever run for, the only position I've ever wanted.”

U.S. House Seventh District
Two of four candidates running for U.S. House from Southwest Missouri spoke at the event.
Event Emcee Jenny Mansfield said incumbent Billy Long sent his regrets for not being able to attend the event.
• Benjamin Holcomb criticized Long for not holding town halls or public meetings in the district for years.
“I have a quick question for you about why we are here?” Holcomb said. “When was the last time Billy Long actually worked for you? I have taken this pledge, it's called the town-hall pledge, the town-hall pledge says I will do a minimum of four town halls next year and every year I'm in office, while Billy Long has done none since 2010 when he was elected. We are human beings, we should be able to sit down with our representatives and actually have a voice, actually be able to voice our opinions on what is going on in Washington D.C., and I plan on doing that.”
• Jim Evans called himself an Eisenhower Republican, saying there was too much money and too much incivility in politics.
He said he was the outsider candidate, much like Trump except he wasn't a billionaire. He touted his background as a fifth generation Ozarker and business background, running a dairy farm and cow-calf operation in Greene County.
“I'm a Vietnam Vet, as an Army veteran, I learned something,” Evans said. “I learned discipline, and my high school teachers would tell you I needed it. Then I became a teacher, and I am now a retired teacher. And I will tell you, I'm always learning. And as a teacher, I learned how to manage mis-behaving children, and I think all of these skills are going to serve me well in Congress.”