Who Will Chair The Mo. G.O.P?
Multiple Republican sources tell The Notebook that the maneuvering to replace Doug Russell is well underway -- and might already be a done deal.
As expected, with a new administration coming in, Chairman Russell will step down. Two separate sources confirm that there are/(were?) 3 major finalists for top G.O.P. cop:
Lloyd Smith, Catherine Hanaway & David Cole
"Peter will get his pick," one source with close ties to the negotiations tells The Notebook. "The role of Peter Kinder as party leader was decided before the Lincoln Day Night in Springfield."
MEET THE CONTENDERS:
Lloyd Smith -- The favorite. A major political player in top G.O.P. circles for years. Smith is a longtime aide to U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, and was involved in Sen. Jim Talent's failed re-election effort. One source says Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is strongly backing Smith for the slot. If that's true, and Kinder has the power, Smith will be the pick. He's the smart money right now.
Catherine Hanaway -- The U.S. Attorney for Eastern Missouri, Hanaway still has a thirst for politics. She's the former Speaker of the House in Missouri and lost to Robin Carnahan in the 2004 Secretary of State race. Word is Sen. Kit Bond is a backer.
David Cole -- A darkhorse and likely longshot candidate from Cassville, Mo., Cole has close ties with Rep. Roy Blunt. He is the chair of the Barry County G.O.P. but more importantly, he's chair of the entire 7th Congressional District Committee. Cole's candidacy could be a barometer of Blunt's power in the party, but he probably faces the longest odds.
Tony Feather has also been mentioned as a possible contender, but one source says he's not seriously in the running. Feather is a well-wired political consultant and lobbyist. He reportedly has strong ties to Karl Rove and was political director for George W. Bush's 2000 campaign.
While a timeline for the pick is unclear, the Missouri State G.O.P Committee has to vote on the selection. Normal protocol is that the head of the party picks the person, and then that committee casts a vote of confidence.
The real question is: Who's the head of the Missouri Republican Party?
Peter Kinder or Kit Bond ?