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Opinion: Divided We Fall: The Crisis Within Missouri’s Republican Party

At the 2024 Republican state convention, certain individuals staged a coup and overthrew the Donald Trump endorsed slate of candidates. As a result of the fallout from this takeover from a small but organized group, many left in anger at the way the whole process was handled. The actions of that small group at the state convention has sped up the damage to the Missouri Republican Party. It is my hope that this damage is not permanent.

I am shocked that my colleagues, Reps. Ben Baker and Dan Stacy have been labeled by the supporters of the Missouri Freedom Caucus senate members as RINO’s. Instead of arguing substance and policy, these people attack personality with no regard for basic facts or logic. Basic facts such as the American Conservative Union lifetime score of 97 for Ben Baker and the lifetime score of 95 for Dan Stacy. All the while Missouri Freedom Caucus member Senator Hoskins is barely holding on to conservative credentials with a lifetime score of 81.

Even more egregious is the hate and vitriol directed at United States Congressman Eric Burlison, a Freedom Caucus member himself, suggesting that he is and always has been a swamp creature. The reason for this ire is his writing a letter in support of his constituent, the Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.

The senators in the Missouri Freedom Caucus have shown us that they are capable of nothing more than putting on a show, reminiscent of Kabuki theatre.

Followers of gubernatorial candidate Sen. Bill Eigel, who just so happens to be my senator, do little else with their time aside from bullying other Republicans on social media. Senator Jill Carter who up until recently was the only Missouri Freedom Caucus member in the Senate not running for re-election or election to higher office. She made the decision to leave the Missouri Freedom Caucus on May 2nd with a statement explaining her departure. Her own words showcase that the tactics they employ are contrary to the ideals of the Republican Party. She states “It has become increasingly clear that the values and priorities that some current members of the Missouri Freedom Caucus profess to champion are not reflected in conversations, behaviors or their strategy.”

The senators in the Missouri Freedom Caucus seem to be interested only in wanton destruction of our institutions. The members have shown no intention of building the majority. They have no plans to expand the scope of the Republican Party. All they care about is division and exclusion.

What have their followers done while this has been happening? They’ve been busy fighting. They’ve been busy having personality battles. Meanwhile, Democrats are gaining ground inch by inch and could very well notch their biggest victory in over a decade and overturn what we have spent generations to achieve.

Republicans nationwide have the opportunity to be seen as the big tent party. In Missouri, countless county offices have flipped from Democrat to Republican over the last two decades because the radical socialist ideals of the left are taking hold in the Democratic Party and are leaving many people behind. Nationally, elected officials are switching to the Republican Party. Notably, Vernon Jones of Georgia in 2021, and the Mayor of Dallas, Eric Johnson in 2023.

Now, with this division we risk losing the ground we have gained towards advancing our cause. Missouri Republicans need to wake up and wise up. We cannot sit idly by or else we run the risk of letting Bill Eigel and his group drive our party straight into the ground. Make no mistake, we can still work towards achieving many great conservative value policies, we just don’t need to do it while stepping on the backs of our fellow Republicans.

Go out and campaign for Republicans who have a grasp of what needs to be done and a mindset of getting it done without compromising their values. Go support Republicans who stand up and fight for you when the cameras aren’t rolling and people aren’t watching. Support Republicans who want to work with you, not against you.