St. Louis Public Radio News
1:19 pm
Fri January 3, 2003

Gephardt Bid Excites MO Democrats

St. Louis, MO – Missouri Democrats say they're excited about Congressman Dick Gephardt's plans for a second run for President in 14 years. Gephardt will reportedly announce an exploratory committee soon.

Former Senator Thomas Eagleton predicts Gephardt will win the Iowa caucuses and become the frontrunner (Gephardt ran for President in 1988 and narrowly won the Iowa caucuses that year).

Eagleton also predicts the primary will be among Gephardt, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.

GEP'S BID

An invitation obtained by The Associated Press says Gephardt will raise money for his new exploratory committee at an event being set up for the 22nd of this month.

He'll ask for donations of at least $1,000, half the maximum for presidential candidates. An exploratory committee is the traditional first step in a presidential bid.

Gephardt will bank on a strong national organization and close ties to traditional Democratic groups such as organized labor.

CHANCES OF WINNING?

National Democratic leaders, including Gephardt, have been criticized since the Republican party took control of the U.S.Senate and House.

former Missouri Lieutenant Governor Harriet Woods says Gephardt will have to define his agenda quickly to energize the Democrats. Woods calls for a healthy debate on what the party will offer in 2004.

Gephardt has represented south St. Louis City and County since 1976.