KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — Political strategist Roy Temple was elected as the new Chairman of the Missouri Democratic Part today during a meeting with state Democratic leaders and supporters.
A point used during the event, in an interview and on Twitter, Temple expounds on 436 days standing between right now and the next election, adding that he plans to use that time to help gain more legislative seats in 2014.
“We’ve done a great job in getting the five out of six statewide positions, but we have an opportunity for Democrats to get legislative seats and we ought to be in the business to do that next,” Temple told The Missouri Times.
To succeed, Temple said the Party needs to continue to be well-organized, as well as well-funded.
Temple announced interest in the seat a few weeks ago when outgoing Chairman Mike Sanders said he would be stepping down in order to hone in on his reelection efforts for Jackson County Executive in 2014. According to the Associated Press’ David Lieb, he also made mention of eyeing the attorney general spot in 2016 during the meeting.
“Right now I’m completely focused on reelection in Jackson County, but certainly nobody can predict the future,” Sanders told The Missouri Times. “Think about the attorney general’s office — it truly is one of the great offices that our state has.”
Sanders called the AG office law enforcement centric, adding that law enforcement was how he started his path when then-Jackson County Prosecutor Claire McCaskill hired Sanders as part of her legal team.
“I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say the position has a lot of allure,” Sanders said. “But, three years is a long time and a lot could happen before then.”
Sitting attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster was one of the several statewide officials to extend his welcome to Temple both at the event and in a statement the Party released shortly after he was elected. Read all of the statements here.
“I’ve got a good working relationship with most of the leaders, some more longstanding than others, and there is a lot of unity and desire to work together for the good of the Missouri Democratic Party,” Temple said. “We have a good set of leaders in place to help us be successful with the Party.”
Currently a partner for the Groundswell Public Strategies team, Temple said he hopes to keep his work “very separate” from what he does with the state Democratic Party, especially as most of the work Groundswell does, he said, is out-of-state.
When Temple announced his interest in July, Temple said he didn’t want to put the cart before the proverbial horse leading up to today’s vote, despite the excitement others might have expressed via social media.
“I didn’t want to be presumptuous, and now we’re intensifying conversations with staff and laying methodical groundwork to get plans in place to be successful,” Temple said. “That work begins today.”
Jordan Overstreet, Executive Director for the House Democratic Victory Committee, extended his welcome on behalf of the HDVC, as his group and the state Party work hand-in-hand during campaign season.
“We really look forward to working with him and getting Missouri back on track to fight for the little guy and gal,” Overstreet said. “I also thank Mike Sanders for his service and putting us in a good position.”
During Sander’s chairmanship, the Democrats secured five of the six statewide offices during the 2012 elections.
Across the aisle, there was some commentary about Temple’s election, though predominantly just via social media.
“I look forward to [the] fight for smaller, more responsible government against a Democrat chairman who is long experienced consulting and lobbying for liberal candidates,” Matthew Wills, Communications Director for the Missouri Republican Party, said.
Additionally, The Missouri Times’ publisher and owner Scott Faughn had a Q&A session with Temple via Twitter. See the collection of tweets in Storify form here.
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.