Battle lines are being drawn; strategy is in play as Democrats in the Missouri House insist they are serious about taking back the majority from Republicans.
House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D-Independence) plans on being House Speaker next year. To do that, Democrats must gain 11 seats in the November election. LeVota says internal polls indicate it will be a Democratic year and he believes the issues are with the Democrats, but he says winning the House hinges on one thing: recruiting the right candidates. LeVota believes Democrats have done that, attracting the right candidates to win representative races across the state.
LeVota says the plan doesn’t rely on riding the coattails of presidential candidate Barack Obama or gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon. LeVota flatly states that any candidate who relies on coattails will lose. He says Republicans know that as well and won’t be counting on coattails from John McCain or Kenny Hulshof either.
The numbers favor Democrats, says LeVota. Democrats have candidates in 136 of the 163 representative races. Republicans have fielded 116 candidates. LeVota counts 50 secure Democratic seats and only 27 Republican. Of the contested open seats, 18 were held by Republicans forced out by term limits with only five held by Democrats.
There are 90 Republicans and 70 Democrats in the House currently with three vacancies. Republicans won the majority in the House in the 2002 elections.