JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Members of statewide Republican leadership, including Gov.-elect Eric Greitens, have thrown their support behind former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves for the position as chair of the party.
With John Hancock leaving the post after a two-year stint as Republican party chairman, every Republican Congressman and statewide elected official has come out in support of the attorney who served the Justice Department from Sept. 2001 to Oct. 2006. Graves is currently a private practice attorney with a long history of working in Republican politics, and he is the brother of Congressman Sam Graves.
Greitens released a statement late Tuesday that outlined his support for Graves.
“Todd Graves is a conservative fighter, a proven leader in business and his community, and a native Missourian,” Greitens said. “He will make an outstanding party chair and I’m excited to work with him and his team to take Missouri in a new direction.”
Graves said he was “pleased” to receive Greitens’ endorsement.
“Traditionally the committee defers to the governor in these selections. It is a committee vote, I’m not taking anything for granted… but I’m a conservative, I’m a Republican and it’s a great time to be a conservative Republican in Jefferson City.”
Graves added that should he take the helm (a likely scenario), he would like to focus on winning the offices of State Auditor Nicole Galloway and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s for Republicans as well as consolidate support for the party in suburban areas. He would also like to emphasize minority outreach.
The governor-elect also announced his support for Kay Hoflander, Nick Meyers and Pat Thomas as vice-chair, secretary, and treasurer, respectively. This contingent is also supported by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Lt. Gov-elect Mike Parson, Attorney General-elect Josh Hawley, Secretary of State-elect Jay Ashcroft, Treasurer-elect Eric Schmitt, and every Missouri GOP Congressman.
Hancock also put his faith in Graves, saying that the attorney has “all of the tools you could possibly want in a party chairman.”
“He’s a strong leader, has tremendous political sense, has proven fundraising ability and possesses a very collaborative disposition,” Hancock said.
Graves is perhaps most known for his controversial termination after he was drawn into a fight between the offices of then-Sen. Kit Bond and his brother Congressman Graves. One of Bond’s aides attempted to convince Todd to fire his brother’s’ then-chief of staff, Jeff Roe, or Bond’s office would look for Todd’s ouster. Graves was released from his position as U.S. Attorney in 2006, when eight other U.S. Attorneys were also let go for political reasons. The 2006 scandal led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Bush Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and numerous other ranking officials within the Justice Department.
Graves also filed suits against the IRS when the tax-collecting organization allegedly targeted conservative Tea Party organizations that sought tax-exempt status.