Ashcroft's Challengers Express Pointed Views

By Jo Mannies Post-Dispatch Political Correspondent | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 16, 1994 | Go to article overview

Ashcroft's Challengers Express Pointed Views


Jo Mannies Post-Dispatch Political Correspondent, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


One candidate calls for an end to all income and property taxes while another hopeful blames many of the nation's problems on child abuse and poorly trained doctors. A third proposes that an AIDS test be required for a marriage license while a fourth says the United States needs to drop a few atomic bombs to keep world order.

Former Gov. John Ashcroft's four opponents for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination generally cite such views to bolster their contention that he's not conservative enough for Missouri.

Even so, none of the four appears to be planning full-scale campaign attacks against Ashcroft before the Aug. 2 primary. So far, the four haven't spent much and have campaigned little.

"I've been offered money to attack him, but I won't do it," says Joseph A. Schwan of south St. Louis, a retired federal employee.

By adopting low-key campaigns, most of the contenders concede they're making it easier for widely known Ashcroft to win the nomination.

"He had too much of a head start, and I don't have any money," said candidate Doug Jones of Springfield. "It would just be pointless for me to raise money."

The Republican candidates are, in order of appearance on the ballot:

Schwan, who has run for Congress six times.

Ashcroft, the former governor and attorney general.

Ronald G. Halstead, a farmer in Eunice.

Joyce Lea of Kansas City, who has yet to make a public appearance.

Jones, who works at a Bass Pro Shop in Springfield.

Halstead, who has turned his car into his campaign office, seems to be the most active. He often appears at candidate forums around the state and is distributing some campaign literature. Jones and Schwan are seen little, and no one has reported seeing Lea at all.

But while their campaigning may be subdued, the four candidates' views are anything but. Following is a glance at each candidate. JOSEPH A. SCHWAN

Schwan, 78, says it's time that the United States exert its military superiority to end some of the chaos in the world.

"I'm proposing that we wipe out a population that is wrong in their morals and in what they're doing, or challenging the U.S,. by dropping an atom bomb on them," he said. "We have different sizes of bombs. They're just like a gun. Whatever the population, send over the right atom bomb and wipe them out."

Schwan is a real estate broker and a retired Army procurement officer who has run for the U.S. House six times, against Reps. William L. Clay, D-St. Louis, and Richard A. Gephardt, D-St. Louis County.

He wants the United States to get out of the United Nations, and he calls for a return to public hangings to deter crime. He opposes the so-called "three strikes and you're out" proposal to keep violent criminals in prison, saying it's too soft. "I say, `Three strikes and you're dead.' "

Schwan favors some firearm restrictions. He says all guns sold in the United States should be registered, catalogued and numbered. He suggests that every American be required to buy health insurance but that it be tax-deductible. Federal and state governments should provide the insurance for those who can't pay their own. He wants to protect Social Security at all costs and advocates eliminating all other pensions.

The economy, Schwan says, does just fine if it's left alone.

As far as political support goes, Schwan said, "I get 100 calls a day."

He added that he may make a few campaign trips in the final weeks to outstate Missouri. He says he avoids most candidate forums because "they're not debates. Somebody just asks a few questions. There's no real debates on the issues. It's a shame that we can't go back to the old days of the debates." RONALD G. HALSTEAD

Halstead, the farmer, calls for the elimination of income and property taxes. He wants to replace them with national and state sales taxes, saying that taxing people on what they buy instead of what they earn or own is more fair.

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