Missouri Democratic Party | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democratic Party

A cornfield
File Photo | Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio

A bill in the Missouri House would bring back a ban on foreign ownership of Missouri farmland.

The ban was lifted by the Missouri General Assembly in 2013, allowing foreign ownership of up to one percent of farmland in the state. But Stephen Webber, the chair of the Missouri Democratic Party, said lifting the ban has given foreign corporations too much control in Missouri’s agriculture industry.

“They’ve got the ability to bully small family farmers [and] to manipulate prices and policies,” Webber said.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, greets teens at the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment in downtown St. Louis on Feb. 9, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For Missouri Democrats, success or failure this fall will likely hinge on whether they can persuade about 300,000 area voters to drop their habit of skipping mid-term elections.

Most of those infrequent voters are believed to be  urban and suburban Democrats. And their absence at the polls in 2010 and 2014 are among the reasons why the state’s Democrats have found themselves seriously outnumbered in the Missouri Capitol.

Which helps explain why the state party set up an unusual schedule for Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who’s vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, when he flew into St. Louis earlier this month.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken speaks Saturday at the Truman Dinner in St. Louis. The Minnesota senator was the keynote speaker for the Missouri Democratic Party event.
Courtesy of the Missouri Democratic Party

With jokes and jabs, some of Missouri’s top Democrats are seeking to rally supporters dreaming of a better political future in 2018  — especially compared to the nightmare defeats the party suffered almost a year ago.

At Saturday night’s Truman Dinner, the state party’s biggest event of the year, most of the best jokes came from Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Saturday Night Live alum who’s now a national Democratic figure.

Stephen Webber, June 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies for a candid episode of the Politically Speaking podcast.

Webber is a former state representative from Columbia who was elected last year as party chairman. He took on that role after narrowly losing a state Senate race to Republican Caleb Rowden.

A statue of former U.S. House Speaker Champ Clark stands before the Pike County Courthouse. Democrats like Clark controlled most of northeast Missouri's offices for decades. Now, the GOP rules the roost.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

BOWLING GREEN, Mo. — For decades, as other parts of rural Missouri turned red, voters in northeast Missouri sent Democrats to Jefferson City and backed Democratic statewide candidates.

That changed starting in 2010, though Republicans and Democrats said the most marked shift was in November 2016, as then-candidate Donald Trump touched a nerve with residents who’d seen jobs leave and economic fortunes sour. 

Missouri Democrats gathered the weekend of March 3, 2017  in Hannibal, Mo.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. – In a political sense, Missouri Democrats gathered this weekend in enemy territory.

The party’s annual Democrat Days, held in Mark Twain’s hometown, now takes place in the midst of Republican turf.  About three-quarters of the ballots cast last fall in northeast Missouri went for now-President Donald Trump. In the Hannibal area, as in the rest of rural Missouri, no Democrat running for statewide office attracted more than one-third of the vote.

This collage includes pictures of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon from every year of his tenure.
Provided by Gov. Nixon's office and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure in the executive branch ends, he's leaving something of a paradoxical legacy.

The Democratic statewide official achieved nearly unprecedented political success for himself, even as his party lost huge areas of support in rural Missouri. After his promises to expand the state’s Medicaid program ran into intractable opposition, Nixon spent a sizable part of his tenure paring back state governmental agencies.

Rep. Stephen Webber
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Dec. 3 to reflect the results of the party's office electionsAfter taking a beating in last month’s elections, top Missouri Democrats have picked new leaders charged with bringing the party out of the political wilderness.

Members of the state Democratic committee chose outgoing state Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, to be the party's chairman. Webber served four terms in the Missouri House and narrowly lost a highly competitive state Senate race on Nov. 8 to Republican Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia.

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster became the first Democrat endorsed by the Missouri Farm Bureau for a statewide office.
File Photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Stunned by the magnitude of their Election Day losses, Missouri’s Democratic leaders are taking stock as they seek to regroup.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she’s in the midst of “a listening tour’’ to gauge where she and other party activists went wrong, and what needs to be done. But McCaskill emphasized in an interview that she doesn’t buy into the narrative that Missouri Democrats were punished at the polls for ignoring rural voters and working-class whites.

PHILADELPHIA – In some ways, Hillary Clinton’s impending presidential nomination has been a long time coming for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

The Kansas City Democrat was a strong supporter of Clinton in 2008. He said he felt immense pressure to back then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama – who, of course, would go onto become America’s first black president.

Marty Murray, a candidate for 7th Ward committeeman, talks to Stacy Kistler while knocking doors in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis on June 10, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 21 with additional Mobilize Missouri endorsements. — The biggest races in August are getting all the attention. But a group of seats on the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee could prove to be just as important in the long run.

Candidates from across the city have their sights on being committeemen and committeewomen, in an effort to push for change in the party now and at future elections.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster greets attendees at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 13, 2016 with statement from Carrier, in response to Koster speech  -- Over dinner and drinks Thursday night at Busch Stadium, hundreds of Missouri Democrats exuded more optimism than they have in years.

Everyone seemed happy with Hillary Clinton as their party’s presidential nominee. But many were even happier that Donald Trump is leading the opposition.

The battle between supporters of Ted Cruz, left, and Donald Trump for Missouri's Republican delegates is not over.
Wikipedia images

Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder exemplifies Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.

Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, hopes to get elected Saturday as a delegate from the 2nd Congressional District to this summer’s Republican presidential convention. But Onder is a supporter of GOP hopeful Ted Cruz, while all the 2nd District delegates will be bound to Trump, who carried the district and Missouri during the state’s March 15 presidential primary.

“If I am chosen on Saturday to go to Cleveland, on the first ballot, I’ll be voting for Donald Trump,’’ Onder said.

President Harry Truman signed this official portrait during his first term in office. The autograph reads: To the Key Club, a great organization in a great city, St. Louis, with best wishes and happy memories. Harry S Truman
Harry S Truman Library & Museum

The Missouri Democratic Party has changed the name of its longstanding biggest event, traditionally known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, to honor instead the state’s most famous Democrat: Harry S Truman.

State Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple says the change was all about acknowledging Truman, a popular former president. But state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, who has called for the name-change for years, suspects the move also may be tied to her longstanding beef about naming the dinner after two presidents who owned slaves.

DonkeyHotey | Flickr

Embattled and accused of being irrelevant, Missouri’s two major political parties are beefing up their operations nonetheless in preparation for next year’s high-stakes elections.

That’s particularly true for the state’s Democratic Party, which already has taken on two staffers charged solely with assisting the party’s likely nominees for governor and the U.S. Senate: Chris Koster and Jason Kander.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is calling for a sharp increase in the state’s tobacco tax — now the nation’s lowest — to pay for a scholarship program to lower tuition at the state’s colleges and universities.

Roy Temple
Official photo

As expected, leaders of the Missouri Democratic State Committee have re-elected Roy Temple as state party chairman, despite the party’s poor showing last fall.

Temple faced no major opposition during Saturday’s vote, held at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson City. He is close to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and state Attorney General Chris Koster, who had supported his initial ascension to the top party post in 2013.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green was re-elected as the state party’s vice chairman.

dleafy | sxc.hu

(Updated 11:30 a.m., Mon., July 28)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has underscored her influence within the Missouri Democratic Party by writing a check for $240,000 – making her the new top donor for the party.

And wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield has donated another hefty sum to one of his favorite officeholders, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

But Sinquefield gave even more Monday to a Republican rival for Dooley's job, state Rep. Rick Stream.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

(Updated 10:50 p.m., Sat., June 7)

Seven years after leaving the Republican Party, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has in effect taken the reins of the Missouri Democratic Party. 

That point was underscored Saturday night when -- shortly before the Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner --  Koster presented the state party chairman a check for $100,000.

That's the second such six-figure donation that Koster has given the state Democratic operation in the past year -- making him the largest single donor to the state party.

Roy Temple, right, was unanimously elected Saturday as the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party. He's speaking with St. Charles County Democratic Party chairman Morton Todd.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: 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 and all but one statewide office.

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