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New Mo. Democratic Chairman Gearing Up for a Fight

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Roy Temple admits he took on a challenge with the job, but he says the party is looking forward, focusing on gaining momentum for next year's election.
What you've seen in the general assembly recently with the newly-elected group of Republicans is anything but conservative.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The new Missouri Democratic Party chair paid Springfield supporters a visit Thursday evening.

Roy Temple admits he took on a challenge with the job, but he says the party is looking forward, focusing on gaining momentum for next year's election. He says Democrats in southern Missouri are gearing up for a fight.

"It's a challenging time, but there's also a lot of opportunity in that challenge," Temple told the crowd at Phelps Grove Park.

He also recognizes major growth in the Republican Party in this area.

"Part of it, frankly, is the responsibility of Democrats. We have to run good campaigns and we have to hold Republicans accountable and so part of my job is to do the things we need to do to make sure voters know what their options are."

The fate of House Bill 253, a GOP-supported tax measure, is up in the air following a veto by Governor Nixon. Temple believes Republicans will have a hard time overturning that veto, and that the measure will help swing conservative voters away.

"What you've seen in the general assembly recently with the newly-elected group of Republicans is anything but conservative. They are running a very radical experiment in tax policy."

Democrats are looking ahead to next year's congressional election. All eight of Missouri's house seats are up for grabs. Some say the party is facing an uphill battle because there are still districts in southern Missouri without a Democratic candidate for next year's election.

Art Kessler, the Greene County Democratic Party chairman, isn't worried. "I think it takes the right candidate, the right time and the right situation to maybe run on the Democratic ticket, but we're always on the lookout for those kind of individuals," he says.

Temple acknowledges that candidates running against strong incumbent Republicans are up for a challenge. He says it will take full party support for anyone to sign up.

"I think it is helpful to them if they believe there are tools available to them that can assist them and aid them in being more effective rather than seeing the party as an anchor that they have to drag around."

The only two U.S. congressional districts represented by Democrats in Missouri are 1 and 5, which encompass St. Louis and Kansas City.

Temple was chosen as his party's chairman in Missouri in late August. He succeeded Mike Sander who stepped down after two years on the post.
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