To be the next Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party
TIME TO GET THE DONUTS?
Several top-level G.O.P. sources say these are the favored names to take over the position currently held by Jared Craighead:
1. Dave Hageman -- He ran John McCain's 2008 campaign in Missouri and can claim to have saved the only real battleground state this go-around for the G.O.P. As the former executive director of the State House Republican Campaign Committee, it's been said that "nobody knows Missouri's 163 House districts better than Dave." He's also the Missouri Executive Director of Victory Enterprises, which is a Midwest political consulting firm based out of Iowa. Some say Hageman's close ties to former Speaker Rod Jetton makes him a tad radioactive as the party tries to re-brand itself. But insiders say he has the support of Sen. Kit Bond, which could be decisive.
2. Gregg Keller -- He most recently served as "Yes On A" spokesperson for the successful ballot initiative, Proposition A, that eliminates Missouri's casino loss limits and earmarks money for public schools. But Keller also has a long political resume, doing work for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2007, Sen. Jim Talent's campaigns and the 2004 Bush-Cheney ticket. This past spring, Keller was named Vice President of Total Spectrum, a political consulting group based out of Washington, D.C. If Lloyd Smith turns out to be Chair, and he gets his personal pick for executive director, Keller would be a natural fit.
3. Caleb Jones -- As Mike Gibbons' campaign manager for his recent failed Attorney General bid, Jones might be the darkhorse candidate in the hunt. In 2004, he served as the Coalitions Director for the Bush-Cheney ticket in Missouri. He was previously a staffer for Congressman Kenny Hulshof. Jones' downside, says a source: "He's got no relationship with Lloyd." His advantage, adds the same source, "He's really likable, and both factions in this like him."
Another top Show-Me-State politico muses: "The Executive Director can be 'Joey Bag Of Donuts.' Lloyd's Chair position will become the strong, very well-paid position, and under this structure, it won't matter who the E.D. is."
The Executive Director is likely to be chosen after the G.O.P. comes to an agreement on the State Chair, which sources have told the KY3 Political Notebook, is likely to be Lloyd Smith.