Democrats elect new leadership in House
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Several Democratic Representatives are applauding their party’s navigation of new leadership elections after the resignation of former minority caucus chair, Rep. Steve Webb, D-St. Louis.
Following Webb’s resignation amidst accusations of campaign finance ethics violations, the minority party had a vacancy. Rep. Chris Kelly who was vice-chair of the caucus last year, sought to succeed Webb. Kelly’s move, and Rep. Judy Morgan’s resignation of her policy chair position meant Democrats needed to elect two more members of leadership.
Rep. Clem Smith of St. Louis and Rep. Gina Mitten both sought to succeed Kelly. While caucus rules technically require the vote of more than 50 percent of the entire caucus to elect new members into leadership, Democrats did not have enough votes present.
“[Rep. Smith] made a very statesman-like move and stood up and said that we should elect Gina by affirmation, and that he would be willing to step down under those circumstances,” Rep. Bob Burns said. “It was an extremely classy move and very deferential, he saw no need for a fight over a leadership position or a delay and neither did we. I really applaud his move.”
Smith declined to comment on his decision not to contest Mitten’s vote, except to say that the end result was “great for the party.”
Mitten said she wouldn’t comment on the content of caucus meetings, citing party rules, but that she was “honored” to be serving the party.
“I see my job as to assist the chair, Representative Kelly, with whatever he needs in moving the caucus forward,” Mitten said.