Republican Party officials plan to choose their nominee for the vacant congressional seat in the Eighth Congressional District this weekend and the Democrats expect to choose their nominee the following weekend.

Under Missouri law, Republican and Democratic party committees nominate candidates for a special election when vacancies occur in Congress. Both of the committees’ meetings are open to the public.

The GOP committee will vote at a meeting starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at The Landing, 106 Olive St., in Van Buren. Among the candidates who have expressed interest in the seat are former Congressman Wendell Bailey, State Sen. Dan Brown of Rolla, Jason Crowell, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Scott Lipke, Bob Parker, Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith of Salem, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party Lloyd Smith, Rolla native and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, Clint Tracy and John Tyrell.

The Democratics will vote at a meeting that is set to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16., at 2750 Westward Blvd. in Poplar Bluff. The Democrats interviewed candidates Todd Mahn, Linda Black and Dr. Jack Rushin, who lost to Jo Ann Emerson in the November general election, as well as the wife of Markel Fitchpatrick, Ramona, who spoke on her husband's behalf during a forum Jan. 27, but made no decision.

The Democratic and Republican nominees will then have until March 30 to file their candidacy with the secretary of state.

Independent candidates must also submit their petitions at this point. Local election authorities then have at least 10 days but no more than 40 days to process those independent candidate petitions.

A special election to fill the seat will take place Tuesday, June 4, in the district which takes in a large portion of southern Missouri.

Emerson, who formerly held the seat, officially resigned Jan. 22 to become the president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.