Seeking change, Missouri Democrats pick Webber as state party chairman

After their party took 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.

As chairman, Webber will serve as Missouri’s conduit to the national party at a time when Democrats have been virtually wiped out of state government. An early challenge for Webber will be defending U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and State Auditor Nicole Galloway, the only Democrats who still hold statewide office and face 2018 elections. This year, Republicans won every contested statewide office and retained their legislative supermajorities.

The party also elected Genevieve Williams as vice-chairwoman. She unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Billy Long earlier this year  for the southwest-based 7th Congressional seat. State Rep. Lauren Arthur of Kansas City was elected as party treasurer, and Rep. Clem Smith of St. Louis County was elected secretary.

All four of the new state party officials are under 40, signaling that the Missouri Democratic Party is seeking to appeal to young voters.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio, Columbia Missourian

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