JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Bob Holden's office says Holden plans to name a GOP replacement to the House and Senate redistricting commissions sometime this week.
This announcement comes after a week of partisan bickering.
Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder accused Holden of using the vacancy to buy Kinder's vote on his transportation plan, after a closed meeting between Holden, Kinder, and House Minority Leader Catherine Hanaway.
"I am deeply dismayed that Gov. Holden has suggested to me that he would fill the vacancy if I supported his transportation package," Kinder said in a written statement.
The governor's office denies the accusation and Rep. Hanaway, R-Warson Woods, refused to confirm or deny Kinder's statement.
"Gov. Holden always intended to fill the position," said Jerry Nachtigal, Holden's communications director. "He plans to appoint someone early this week, either from the Republican list or someone of his own choosing."
The controversy stems from Holden's appointment of Rep. Mark Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, to both the House and Senate commissions in March. Richardson stepped down from the commissions on April 2, citing the possibility that his appointment would force him to give up his legislative seat.
The constitutional "emolument of office" prohibits state representatives from receiving more than one paycheck from the state. Members of the commission receive a $15 per day compensation.
Richardson's name was one of 18 submitted by Republicans. His name was on the list because under legislative term limits, he will be prohibited from running for re-election in 2002. Under Missouri's constitution, a redistricting commission member cannot seek a seat in the chamber the commission redistricted.
Richardson left a vacancy on both commissions and Missouri Republicans say they want to see the position filled quickly.
"Our interest, of course, is to make sure that Republicans are fully represented on the commissions, which they are not today," said John Hancock, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.
"We are awaiting one additional appointment both for the House and for Senate commissions. and hopefully, if the governor acts in good faith we will be able to proceed in a fashion that will represent the people of Missouri well."
The Republican Party has filed a lawsuit against the governor alleging that the commissions are not complete at this time and that the they must be complete for the redistricting to go forward.
"We are suggesting for a remedy that the governor go back to the list that we submitted and select the replacement for Mark Richardson," said Hancock.
Last week the Republicans added Catherine Lange, a prosecuting attorney in Cuba, Mo., to their list of candidates.
In an opinion released Thursday, Attorney General Jay Nixon said that Holden could appoint any Republican he wanted, but that the appointee must be confirmed by the Senate.
"I think the governor has a few names of his own in mind, but I don't think he's ready to release them quite yet," said Nachtigal.
The commissions are both temporarily being headed by Democrats, but Hancock expects that permanent chairs will be elected at the next commission meetings on May 19.