Key Strategist on Term Limits Works in Wings

By Philip Dine Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Key Strategist on Term Limits Works in Wings


Philip Dine Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


John Thompson, a southwest Missouri political and media consultant who has helped candidates such as Roy Blunt and Mel Hancock win seats in Congress, likes to send people to Washington.

Just not for long.

Thompson, 40, has for five years been one of the key strategists behind the national campaign to limit the terms of Senate and House members. He plans much of the media strategy for the group U.S. Term Limits, as well as for Americans for Term Limits and for various state groups. U.S. Term Limits helped coordinate campaigns in nine states last fall that led to the passage of nonbinding resolutions. These urged the states' congressional delegations to limit senators to two terms and representatives to three. The measures also instructed the secretaries of state to indicate on future ballots whether incumbents had followed the resolutions' guidelines on terms served. That aspect - which could require the writing of "disregarded voters' instruction on term limits" - is being challenged in several of the states, including Missouri. U.S. Term Limits helped put together the unique tactic, which the term limit movement hopes will help propel it to eventual victory by embarrassing and defeating incumbents. "It was done before, in the matter of direct election of the Senate in 1913," Thompson said. "Oklahoma, Oregon and a number of other states put language on the ballot as to whether a person running for Senate would follow the instructions of the people. It provided the final push. "That's where we got this idea - we went back in history. Then we went around and asked the state leaders how they felt, and this was voted to be the plan." Challengers who don't sign a pledge to honor the term limit action will find that response indicated on the ballot. …

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