JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — During this past week, it was announced that Jordan Overstreet, the former executive director for the Missouri Southwest Democrats is the new executive director for the House Democratic Victory Committee, a campaign committee for Missouri House Democrats.
Overstreet, 28, will head up the committee through the 2014 election cycle as state Democrats continue to fight an uphill battle in regaining seats during a time of an historic Republican majority in the Missouri legislature.
The 2012 election cycle was strange for Democrats in Missouri. The state went to Republican Mitt Romney, but Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon easily won reelection — along with four other statewide seats — despite the party being predominantly defeated in the General Assembly races.
“What we are doing on the statewide level is clearly working,” Overstreet said. “We need to extend that success to down ballot races and we need to dedicate the resources and knowledge we have to gain seats in the legislature. We need to rewrite the playbook.”
Recruitment is key, Overstreet said, to make headway in the General Assembly. The primary goal is a simple one: earn enough seats to sustain a veto. Overstreet said Democrats would be looking closely at competitive districts and trying to find individuals with institutional support within the community.
“We look at a district to see what businesses and universities are there, what are the large parts of the local community and economy,” Overstreet said. “If someone has a good community name and shares our principles, we go from there and we approach them about the opportunity.”
Overstreet said he believes that Democratic losses in recent elections are not a reflection of a rejection of Democratic policies, but a failure to properly demonstrate the need for the party’s representation in the legislature.
“We’re a big tent and I think we’ve struggled in this state with our identity since losing the majority,” he said.
Overstreet, who graduated from Missouri State in 2011 with a degree in political science and a minor in communications, has campaign experience, having worked for Scott Eckersley’s congressional race, as well as working for Springfield Rep. Charlie Norr and former state Rep. Sara Lampe.
As executive director of the Southwest Democrats, Overstreet focused on registering new voters in a historically Republican district and worked with a coalition on collecting ballot initiative signatures for minimum wage increases and payday loan reform.
Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, D-Kansas City, Chair of the HDVC, said he is excited to have Overstreet join.
“Jordan bring years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to this position,” LaFaver said in a statement to The Missouri Times. “He is the right person at the right time to help us build our new campaign organization.”
Overstreet official begins his duties as executive director on Monday, July 8.