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Senate’s conservative caucus disbands, calls for new leadership to “do better”

Jefferson City, Mo. — The conservative caucus, an unofficial alignment of Missouri senators that have been at the center of infighting in the Republican supermajority over the past two years, has disbanded.

The disbandment comes after caucus-supported candidates did well during the Aug. 2 primaries, specifically Jill Carter scoring a major upset over incumbent Sen. Bill White, R-Dade County, in Senate District 32. White currently serves as the assistant majority floor leader under the current majority leader Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Boone County.

Sen. Bill Eigel, R-St. Charles County, the leader of the conservative caucus, has consistently been at odds with Rowden. The disconnect between Eigel’s caucus and Rowden’s has ground the Senate to a stand-still, especially during the congressional redistricting process in spring session.

It appears that the now former caucus plans to challenge the Senate’s leadership. Eigel called for Republicans “to go fully on offense,” in a press release announcing the disbanding of the caucus.

“Going forward, there is no need for us to be defensive about passing good legislation,” Eigel said. “We are committed to forming a new leadership coalition with any Senator that is ready to prioritize the passage of major Republican policy above a desire for continued conflict.”

Eigel called for unity in the release, stating that Republicans needed to unite under a single banner to make use of their supermajority in the Senate.

The caucus has been criticized by their colleagues over the past two years for taking things to social media, often drumming up public support for themselves in the process.

“They just want Facebook clicks and don’t care about getting things done,” Sen. Mike Cierpiot, R-Jackson County, said on Mundo in the morning last week. 

Eigel addressed this in his release, instead putting the blame on the current leadership, citing “continual breaches of trust” as the reason why disagreements became more public.

Eigel framed the disbandment as an “olive branch” to the rest of the Republican caucus at the end of the release, while also taking a shot at Rowden’s leadership.

“The next leadership team must do better,” Eigel said. “We commit ourselves to supporting any Senator who will empower each member of the Senate to have their voice heard.”

The Senate will elect leadership after the General Election in November.

Featured Image: Sen. Bill Eigel speaks on the Senate floor on Sept. 15, 2021. (SENATE COMMUNICATIONS/HARRISON SWEAZEA)