If Democrats interested in running for office are pro-life, Missouri Democratic Party chairman Stephen Webber says, so be it. He tells Missourinet candidate recruitment is one of his top priorities.

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber

“We’re looking for candidates that will work hard and are willing to communicate their deeply held convictions,” says Webber.

During a town hall meeting earlier this month, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said her party is recruiting pro-life Democrats. McCaskill made her comments to reporters in Ashland, in response to a Fulton woman who told the audience pro-lifers “are no longer welcome” in the Missouri Democratic Party.

In the 1980s and 1990s, many pro-life bills passed by a Democratic-controlled Missouri Legislature, which also had many pro-life Democrats then.

“We have seen pro-choice candidates win in rural communities, like Rebecca McClanahan,” says Webber. “We’ve seen Representatives like Rachel Bringer, who is a Democrat, who held very strong pro-life views and she won in rural communities.”

The state GOP Party says Democratic efforts to recruit pro-life Democrats after the Democratic National Committee ousted them is another example of conflict and confusion within the party.

In 2006, of the 163 state House seats, Webber says Democrats competed in 140 of those. In 2016, Missouri had 66 state House seats on the general election ballot that did not include a Democratic candidate.

Missouri Republicans gained all of the statewide seats on last year’s general election ticket.