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Wilson surprises Democrats with resignation

Former Gov. Roger Wilson (KWMU file photo)


Jefferson City, MO – Former Gov. Roger Wilson announced Saturday that he is stepping down as chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party.

The 58-year old from Columbia had been party chair since August 2004, when Claire McCaskill hand-picked him for the job after she defeated Gov. Bob Holden in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

McCaskill later lost the general election to Republican Matt Blunt but rebounded to defeat Republican U.S. Senate Jim Talent last November. Democrats also picked up seats in the Missouri House and Senate, though Republicans still control both chambers by wide margins.

Wilson announced he would not seek another two-year term as chairman during Saturday's quarterly meeting of the Democratic State Committee, said party spokesman Jack Cardetti.

Instead, Wilson said he would appoint a seven-member committee to select a new chairman, who then would have to be elected by the committee, Cardetti said.

As the party's unpaid chairman, Wilson had been traveling to political meetings and fundraisers about a couple times a week, Cardetti said.

"He didn't think he could devote the same time and energy he had over the next two-and-a-half years," Cardetti said.

Wilson served as the Boone County collector and a state senator before being elected lieutenant governor in 1992 and winning re-election four years later. He ascended to governor for about three months following the October 2000 plane crash death of Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan.


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