JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Today, Mike Sanders, Chairman of the Missouri State Democratic Party, announced his intentions to step down at the next state committee meeting August 24.
Sanders, currently in his second term as Jackson County Executive, was selected as Chairman in 2011 and helped navigate the party to win five of six statewide races in 2012. Additionally, Sanders was credited by fellow Democrats for helping the state party get out of debt and raise significant money for statewide candidates.
Joe Duffy, Executive Director of the Missouri Democratic Party, said Sanders is a large reason the party is in such “good financial shape.”
“He’s a large part of why we currently have more cash on hand than the Republican Party in this state,” Duffy said. “And that’s very important for campaigning. The next Chair of the party will need to be able to access those resources as well.”
Jordan Overstreet, the Executive Director of the House Democratic Victory Committee, a campaign committee aimed at re-taking House seats for the Party, said he and the HDVC, along with state Democratic representatives, were “extremely grateful” for the work Sanders did.
“For us, we want to have an open-door policy with whoever follows [Sanders],” Overstreet said. “And we’re looking for someone who can build on those successes statewide and help that translate into victories for the House.”
Overstreet’s primary goal in the coming election is to win enough seats in the House to sustain a veto — something he said would “absolutely” happen if Sanders’ methods could be duplicated in the legislative races.
Widely speculated as the frontrunner for the chairmanship spot is Roy Temple, a former senior advisor for Mel Carnahan and a longtime Democratic operative in the state. Temple has taken meetings with several Democrats as of late and told The Missouri Times in a statement that he was interested in the position.
“I would like to congratulate Mike on a successful term as chairman,” Temple said. “I am interested in the position and look forward to over the next few days discussing it with others in the party.”
The next chairman will be selected at the Aug. 24 meeting by the state committee, which consists of 68 total members — but currently has four vacancies — each of whom gets a single vote. The vote will be held during the same time that Missouri Democrats are holding a their annual summer caucus in St. Louis.