JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A national PAC has filed paperwork in Missouri to begin attacks on the three Republican legislators that stopped SJR 39 from leaving the Emerging Issues Committee in April.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) started the National Organization for Marriage in Missouri PAC earlier this month, filing their statement of committee organization June 2. The National Organization for Marriage is group that has advocated for traditional marriage between one man and one woman since 2007 when it was created to support California’s Proposition 8 that effectively banned same-sex marriage in the state.
Now, the organization plans to go after Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia; Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Frankford; and Rep. Anne Zerr, R-St. Charles. In a letter to NOM supporters, the president of the organization, Brian Brown, said that Rowden, Hansen and Zerr had committed a “betrayal” of Republican values.
“We’ve been done in by three cowardly Republican legislators who voted with LGBT extremists to deny supporters of marriage protections from government persecution,” Brown wrote in April. “Because of these gutless Republicans who have betrayed Missouri values and the GOP platform, supporters of marriage will continue to be targeted by extremists for punishment whenever someone does not wish to be personally involved in ‘celebrating’ a same-sex ‘marriage.'”
Joseph Grabowski, a spokesman for the organization, said that NOM has worked to ensure that as many people as possible got to vote on such measures and that when the three representatives voted SJR 39 down, it violated that principle.
“To take it out of the hands of voters in this way we think is unconscionable,” Grabowski said. “The Republican party is supposed to be the position that represents these values. We promised our constituents in Missouri that we would be fighting to hold accountable the representatives from the Republican side that went along and voted against that measure to be put before the voters.
Since, the committee was formed, it has not yet garnered any donations over $5,000 so it is difficult to say exactly how it plans to fund its attacks. The formation of a state PAC indicates they will do some fundraising in the state.
However, it remains unclear exactly the impact this new line of attack will have on the three Republicans. Hansen is running unopposed for his third term in the House. Rowden has no primary in his Senate race against Democratic Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, but the fact that he voted as he did may already keep some of the more socially conservative Republicans away from the polls.
Zerr has the toughest fight of the three given her primary against small business owner Bill Eigel, endorsed by Rep. Mike Parkinson, and Wentzville Municipal Judge Michael Carter. As a pro-labor Republican that voted against SJR 39, she has gone against her party willingly on three major bills – right-to-work, paycheck protection, and SJR39 – in the past year.