JEFFERSON CITY - Just three hours before Tuesday's campaign filing deadline, two well-known Missourians announced their names would be absent from the 1996 ballot.
Former Secretary of State Judi Moriarty and Congressman Mel Hancock, R-Springfield, announced they will stay out of 1996 political campaigns.
Hancock said he wants to focus on his petition campaign to place on the ballot a tougher version of the Hancock tax-and-spending limit he got passed two decades ago.
Hancock had announced earlier he would not run for reelection to Congress.
He said one factor in his decision to stay out of the gubernatorial campaign was that he wanted to return to private life and spend more time with his grandchildren. He also added that it is difficult to campaign in this day and age.
"You don't campaign now by going out and telling the story and holding meetings and getting the crowd to come out and listen to you," he said. "You buy it on television."
He said he only has one agenda for the fall - to get on the ballot and approved by the voters a "real tax limitation amendment."
"My time, my money, and my effort is on this petition drive as of right now. and I'm not going to be distracted by anybody's race for office," he said.
Hancock's decision leaves State Auditor Margaret Kelly as the only well-known candidate seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Gov. Mel Carnahan for reelection.
Marc Farinella, Carnahan's campaign spokesperson, said he wasn't surprised that Hancock decided not to run for governor. Kelly can do the job for Hancock, without Hancock having to be governor, he said.
"Kelly has been a walking embodiment of Hancock II," Farinella said of another tax-limit proposal by Hancock that Missouri voters defeated a couple of years ago.
Just minutes before Hancock's announcement, Moriarty announced that she too was staying out of the 1996 campaigns and would not seek to regain her old office of secretary of state.
In 1994, Moriarty was impeached by the House and removed from office by the state Supreme Court for illegally placing her son's name on the state's legislative ballot. She also was found guilty of a misdemeanor.
"The way I was dealt with over something that was no more than a paper mistake was very harsh, was a very harsh judgment," she said.
For the past two years, Moriarty had left open the possibility of a campaign for her old job.
But the Sedalia Democrat said she finally decided not to seek reelection the night before the filing deadline.
"I just think there is a time that I am, you know, I am going to let go of this episode and rebuild my personal and political life, you know, from the future - not based on this right now. It just needs to be dropped, I think," Moriarty said.
"I'm much smarter politically, much stronger and much more aware of some of the involvement in attitudes in government," she said.