JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Ed Martin, the Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, will not seek another term in the post, and will become President of the conservative group Eagle Forum.
“I have been honored and humbled this weekend to learn that the Board of Eagle Forum and Phyllis Schlafly have asked me to be President of this amazing organization,” Martin said in a statement. “After a great deal of prayer, I have accepted the post. This means that my time as Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party must come to an end. I have been privileged to lead our party these last two years, and I am excited by the new challenge I face.”
Missouri Republican Party officials confirmed just minutes before a statement was released that Martin was not stepping down, but was instead simply choosing not to seek another two years as the head of the state party.
Eagle Forum was founded by Phyllis Schlafly and includes the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund as well as the Eagle Forum PAC. The group describes itself as a “conservative, pro-family values,” and has largely focused on social issues since it’s founding in 1972.
“Ed Martin is a great conservative and his skill set fits him perfectly to be president of Eagle Forum,” said James Harris of the J. Harris Company, a consulting firm.
Martin’s move came today after he called a conference call with the statewide Republican Party committee to inform them of his decision. Martin was also facing a challenge for the top slot from one of Missouri’s best-known Republican political consultants, John Hancock.
Hancock, who served as Executive Director of the MRP for six years, is one of the state’s foremost consultants and strategists for conservative candidates.
“I think [Martin] can be a very effective face for the Eagle Forum,” Hancock told The Missouri Times. “I think Ed Martin is a good man and I think he has a great deal to offer the conservative movement in Missouri and beyond.”
Hancock is expected to be officially selected by the statewide committee at their regular meeting at Lincoln Days on February 21. He said his eyes were fixed closely on the 2016 statewide races, which he said should be the primary focus of the state party.
“We came out of a cycle in which the House and Senate campaign committees did a phenomenal job at increasing their caucus sizes,” Hancock said. “The state party is the committee for the statewide ticket. We need the resources and talent to help that ticket succeed.”
Hancock said he’s met with more than half of the committee members in person in the last two months to pitch what he calls an “aggressive” grassroots plan for 2016.
“Suffice it to say, I believe it will be the largest and most impactful grassroots effort in the history of the state Republican Party,” Hancock said.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.