By Kevin Lavery, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – Missouri Republicans will elect a new party chairman Saturday in Columbia.
Businessman Doug Russell is expected to succeed resigning chairwoman Ann Wagner, who was also the former co-chair of the Republican National Committee and the incoming U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.
Last November, Wagner helped engineer the first Republican takeover of the governorship and state legislature since 1921.
She says she feels good about where the state party has come.
"I was there at the beginning when we were building back and was a lone voice often times out there, representing our values, our ideals, our interests. It's time for those elected officials that I've had the privilege of being involved in their elections to really take the leadership of this party," Wagner said.
State party consultant John Hancock says Republicans will continue to focus on voter mobilization.
"We've found that person to person politics makes a huge difference. And we've been very effective at doing that, and Doug's very much committed to that kind of role for the state GOP," Hancock said.
Much of the new chairman's time will be devoted to supporting the reelection bid of U.S. Senator Jim Talent in 2006.