Leeper and Smith square off

Leeper and Smith square off

Sen. Leeper in another three way race

Senator Bob Leeper is once again defending his seat in a three way race. Four years ago, Leeper was challenged by Republican Neil Archer and Democrat Carroll Hubbard. He squeaked out a victory over second place finisher Hubbard.

This election, Leeper is challenged by Democrat Rex Smith and Republican Mike East.  Of the two hopefuls, only Smith appears to present a serious challenge. A former member of the General Assembly and a wealthy businessman, Smith has the support and assistance of the state Democratic establishment. East appears to have little support or assistance from the GOP. He was not at St. John’s on Saturday.

Leeper was obviously irked by Smith’s referring to his changing parties from Democrat to Republican to Independent. He listed the number of donations that Smith had made to Republicans over the past ten years. Although an independent, when Leeper announced a Smith donation to a Republican, he would say, “that’s a good one.” Donations to Democratic candidates were announced without comment.  Leeper caucuses with the GOP in the Senate and has three committee chairmanships handed out by Majority Leader David Williams, including the Senate Budget Committee.

Smith didn’t address Leeper’s litany of donations. He concentrated on his job creations in the past, citing over 250,000 paychecks his companies have written to employees. He told the crowd that Leeper had not created jobs and he asked what the incumbent has done with his chairmanships that helped his constituents.