He says he worried through the entire election season, but now breathes a sigh of relief.
Rep. Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) headed up the House Republican Campaign Committee’s effort to maintain the party’s majority in the House. Republicans counted 91 members during the previous legislative session. Despite a down year for Republicans, they will enter the next session with 89.
Tilley says three keys kept Republicans from losing more ground to Democrats. He says the main reason Republicans held on to their majority in the House was the party’s candidates. Tilley says Republicans were able to recruit better candidates than Democrats, leaders in the community who could hold on to seats left vacant by a Republican incumbent. The message those candidates had played a major role as well, says Tilley. He says Republicans were able to tout good financial stewardship, because they inherited a shaky budget from the Holden Administration, set it on solid ground and built a surplus. Other factors, such as efforts to improve the economic condition of the state, helped Republican candidates as well, according to Tilley. The final factor, as Tilley sees it, is organization. He believes the HRCC was better organized than its Democratic counterpart.
Those keys might have been in place during the campaign season, but they were enough to keep Tilley from worrying, especially when Democrat Jay Nixon built a big lead in the governor’s race. Tilley says he expected to lose many more seats and perhaps even the majority when it became apparent that Nixon would defeat Republican Kenny Hulshof by nearly 20 percentage points.
The legislative session begins after the beginning of the New Year. Republicans will hold 89 seats in the chamber. Democrats will hold 74.