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Missouri is ‘biggest target’ for YAL in primary elections


Group focuses solely on state legislature races

With a laser focus on nearly a dozen races, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is getting involved in Missouri’s legislative races with the biggest push to date. 

YAL, a national “pro-liberty” youth organization, has partnered with about 80 Missouri students throughout the state to knock doors and meet with voters through its PAC, Make Liberty Win. The effort is part of the group’s “Operation Win at the Door” campaign to elect legislators “who share [YAL’s] commitment to liberty.” 

YAL’s official slate of 11 candidates in Missouri is: Bishop Davidson for HD 130; Will Perry for HD 148; Bryant Wolfin for HD 116; Ryan Jones for HD 115; Chris Beyer for HD 62; Michael Davis for HD 56; Chris Sander for HD 33; Tina Goodrick for HD 9; Brian Seitz for HD 156; Jaret Holden for HD 143; and Mike Moon for SD 29. 

Alyssa Dale is a recent graduate from Lindenwood University and a native of Osage Beach. She has knocked on nearly 1,500 doors in the last three weeks. (PROVIDED)

Between the number of candidates and “deployment” of nearly 100 students, Missouri is the biggest targeted state for the group in its history, YAL President Cliff Maloney said. 

“It’s cool to see Missouri have so many people who are tired of this idea that government is the answer to every single one of our problems,” Maloney said. “If I’m a resident of Missouri, I’m excited to know there’s a new wave of up-and-coming, actually principled people who won’t let special interests and the powers that be drive policy.”

“We’re trying to build a caucus in the statehouse that will actually be conservative when it comes to the power of government,” he said. “I didn’t know that cutting taxes and getting conservative legislation through that limits government is so radical; there are a lot of bad Republicans in Missouri.” 

To receive YAL’s support, candidates complete a six-page survey, and the group decides if a he or she is sincere about “limiting the size and scope of government” and “giving power back to the people.” The focus is less on geography and more on the candidates’ principles, Maloney said. 

Missouri had the most candidates (41) turn in a survey this year than any other state.

The next facet of YAL’s plan is putting students on the ground to engage with voters. Missouri students are assigned one of the 11 races and have already knocked more than 200,000 doors in a little more than 30 days, Maloney said. 

“A lot of Republicans aren’t used to seeing young Missouri students engage with them. They aren’t used to seeing someone who is 19 [years old] at the door excited about a local Republican candidate,” Maloney said, noting many students get asked if they are campaigning for Vice President Joe Biden or U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. “These Missouri students really provide energy that a lot of Republican candidates lack.” 

YAL focuses on state legislature races — not “shiny objects” like a gubernatorial or national race. The rationale behind that, Maloney explained, is students want to be involved in races where they can be the most impactful and have “valuable conversations at the door.” 

“We are really focused on trying to rebuild the state legislatures, not just in Missouri but across America with this new wave of folks,” Maloney said. 

YAL had a presence in Missouri during the 2018 elections, albeit a much smaller one. It has supported three candidates in Missouri so far: Dirk Deaton, Tony Lovasco, and Phil Christofanelli.