Twice before, Turk has challenged Cleaver for his seat from Missouri’s 5th Congressional District, and twice before he has been beaten.
But the political landscape of 2010 is vastly different than it was just two years ago. Antipathy to established politicians is running high.
And with 2010 promising to be a very good year for Republicans, Turk sees no reason why his third crack at the Democratic incumbent won’t indeed prove to come with that proverbial third-time charm.
“It’s looking great for us,” Turk said.
Though he’s still behind, a recent poll commissioned by Turk’s campaign suggests he might do better this time. The poll of 500 likely voters showed Turk trailing Cleaver by nine percentage points. In 2008, he lost to Cleaver by 28 percentage points.
Joining Turk in seeking Cleaver’s seat are two third-party candidates: Libertarian Randall “Randy” Langkraehr of Warrensburg and Dave Lay of Blue Springs from the Constitution Party.
Cleaver, a Methodist minister first elected to Congress in 2004, is the only one of the four candidates to have held elective office, having previously served on the Kansas City Council and as the city’s first African-American mayor.
Though Cleaver could not be reached for comment for this story, many of the issues he has supported in recent years are issues that Turk opposes.
Health care reform, for instance, a measure that Cleaver supported, should be rescinded, according to Turk.
Turk is also opposed to much of the stimulus spending championed by Democrats, including Cleaver, in recent years.
A centerpiece of Cleaver’s recent agenda is the Green Impact Zone in Kansas City, using federal stimulus funds to begin reviving a section of the urban core.
Roads, sewers, utilities and other infrastructure already are being built or overhauled with federal, state and local funds, and Cleaver recently announced that the zone had won a $4.5 million grant from stimulus funds to weatherize 600 homes.