Skip to comments.Temple takes reins of Missouri Democrats and cracks the verbal whip at Republicans
Posted on 08/25/2013 6:54:05 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --The last time that new Missouri Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple held a key role in state politics, his party controlled the state House and Senate, as well as all but one statewide office.
Twenty years later, Democrats have held on to most of those statewide offices. But Temple acknowledges that the 2/3 majorities that Republicans have secured since then in both legislative chambers pose a problem and challenge.
Nobodys declaring that were going to take over the General Assembly in 15 minutes, said Temple on Saturday, shortly after he had been elected state Democrats new chairman by a voice vote of its state committee, gathered in the aptly named Truman Hotel in Jefferson City.
What hasnt changed over 20 years is Temples sharp tongue, on display as he ripped into Missouri Republicans during his speech and afterwards in interviews with reporters.
Among his jabs:
The chief job for Missouri Democrats, said Temple, is to be pre-emptive.
We cant let them define us, he told the party leaders. Our party shares broadly the values that Missourians hold, and can win if Democrats adequately define themselves and counter the GOPs misrepresentations. Democrats seek to make legislative gains in 2014
Temple headlined a series of speakers who pledged to do what they can in the 2014 elections to chip away at the Republicans huge edge in the General Assembly.
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel also took aim at GOP legislative leaders, contending that theyve focused on attacking Sharia Law and the United Nations while constantly kicking the middle class by cutting state programs that they rely on and acting to increase state sales taxes.
Zweifel called on state Democrats to make strategic investments to help their legislative candidates in winnable races.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democrats already announced 2016 candidate for governor, reaffirmed his pledge to raise $400,000 to aid 2014 legislative hopefuls. Koster told Democrats that he expects to have the first $100,000 in hand by Dec. 31.
But Temple and others emphasized that outgoing chairman Mike Sanders, also the Jackson County Executive, wasnt to blame for the Democratic Partys weak standing in the state Capitol.
In fact, state committee members gave Sanders a standing ovation as various Democrats noted that the Missouri Democratic Partys finances are now in stronger shape than state Republicans.
Sanders, who ran the state party since 2011, is stepping down to run for re-election next year as Jackson Countys top official. A former prosecutor, Sanders also acknowledges that hes taking a hard look at running for Missouri attorney general in 2016.
As the new state party chairman, Temple's other focus must be to recruit a strong candidate for state auditor, also on the 2014 ballot. The Republican incumbent, Tom Schweich, has amassed a large warchest. Last week, for example, he received $50,000 from Clayton businessman Sam Fox, a top GOP donor.
Temple played down any concerns, saying he was confident that Democrats would line up a strong challenger. Temple close to Carnahan family
Temple, 48, resides with his family in Lees Summit and is a partner in a political consulting firm, Groundswell Public Strategies, which he said is involved in contests in Iowa, Kansas, Florida and Pennsylvania, among others.
Temple hails from southeast Missouri and has been involved in state politics for decades. He acted as campaign manager and chief of staff for the late Gov. Mel Carnahan (1993-2000) during his tenure as a candidate and public official.
Temple was the childhood friend of Carnahans other top aide, communications chief Chris Sifford, who died in the October 2000 plane crash that also claimed Carnahan and his eldest son, Randy, who was the pilot. Temple had been assisting Carnahan's campaign for the U.S.Senate, which he won posthumously three weeks later.
Temple later ran the unsuccessful re-election campaigns of former Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo., in 2002, and then- Gov. Bob Holden in 2004. Holden lost to fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill, then the state auditor.
Temple was among the founders of the now-defunct "FiredUp Missouri" web site, a favorite of progressives, and spent several years working for political firms in Washington DC before returning to Missouri with his family less than three years ago.
Any wounds remaining between McCaskill and Temple have long healed, with McCaskill believed to be one of the drivers of the effort to install Temple as Sanders successor. Koster also has backed Temple, although Koster said Saturday that the two had not met until a few months ago.
Some Democrats privately said that Sanders chief roadblock as chairman had been similar to the challenge facing Nixon. As top public officials, both Democrats have sought not to be too harsh in their public jabs at Republicans, since they had to work with the GOP in their official posts.
Former St. Louis city Democratic Party chairman Brian Wahby, a Missouri representative on the Democratic National Committee, says Temple wont have that problem. Observed Wahby with a grin: I think Roy is going to regularly call these guys out.
Nobodys declaring that were going to take over the General Assembly in 15 minutes, said Temple on Saturday, “But we will make sure every dead voter gets counted twice so we can usherin a utopia of disarmament, illegal immigrants, and sharia law for all!”
Hopefully there’s at least on Republican in Missouri with the balls to stand up to Temple.