Hancock Steps Up Defense, Others Call for Resignation
March 12, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The chairman of the Missouri Republican Party mounted a public defense of his reputation Thursday as several state lawmakers called for his resignation over his alleged involvement in an anti-Semitic whispering campaign against a state auditor who killed himself.

GOP Chairman John Hancock said he is not resigning and has been the target of “malicious rumors” from people who believe he was telling Republican donors that former Auditor Tom Schweich, also a Republican, was Jewish.

Schweich fatally shot himself Feb. 26, a month after declaring his candidacy for governor and minutes after telling reporters he was ready to go public with allegations that Hancock had made anti-Semitic comments about him. Schweich was a Christian.

Schweich’s death has roiled Missouri politics, highlighting the intense divisions among Republicans as they head into an important 2016 election in which they will be defending a U.S. Senate seat and seeking to recapture the governor’s office from Democrats.

Former Republican U.S. Sen. John Danforth, an elder statesman and political mentor to Schweich, used his friend’s funeral eulogy earlier this month to suggest Schweich had been driven to suicide by political bullying and angst over the perceived anti-Semitic comments.

On Thursday, five Republican lawmakers called for Hancock to resign.

“If we don’t try to make a change in direction, this will haunt us in the August 2016 (primary) elections and the November 2016 elections,” said state Sen. David Pearce, of Warrensburg. “Our party is at a crossroads. We need a change at the top, and that’s why we’re asking John Hancock to resign as our chairman.”

Pearce was joined by state Sens. Mike Parson, of Bolivar, and Gary Romine, of Farmington, and state Reps. Bill White, of Joplin, and Jim Neely, of Cameron.

Hancock, meanwhile, released a list of nearly two dozen people – headed by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner- vouching for his character and integrity.

“There was no whisper campaign; there is no anti-Semitism in me; I did not do any of the things that had been alleged of me,” Hancock told The Associated Press. “My reputation has been damaged greatly in this process, and I want my reputation back.”

Hancock Wins Top GOP Spot in Missouri
February 22, 2015

(AP) — Missouri Republicans overwhelmingly elected Chesterfield consultant John Hancock on Saturday to lead the party as the GOP gears up to fight for U.S. Senate and House seats, the governorship and other statewide offices in 2016.

Hancock, who won handily despite competition from two other candidates, will take over a financially struggling party facing a primary battle for Missouri governor.

Fifty members of the Missouri Republican State Committee voted in favor of Hancock during the annual Reagan Lincoln Days conference. Nick Myers, chairman of the Newton County Republicans, won 11 votes. Seven voted for eighth congressional district Republican chairman Eddy Justice.

The 50-year-old Hancock replaces Ed Martin, who announced plans earlier this month to serve as president of the conservative interest group Eagle Forum.

Hancock has raised concerns about the party’s finances and has described them as a disaster. Treasurer Richard Peerson said with expenses from Lincoln Days the party has negative cash on hand, dipping down $77,189 in debt following expenses from the conference.

“There is much that needs to be done to fix our party and move us forward in a healthy direction,” Hancock said to committee members. “Leadership means identifying a problem and then standing up and being willing to take on the challenges.”

Hancock also stressed party unity as members begin primary battles for the Missouri governor, emphasizing cutting down on Republican in-fighting.

Missouri GOP Chief to Lead Eagle Forum
February 3, 2015

(AP) — The chairman of the Missouri Republican Party said Monday that he is leaving to take a leadership position with a conservative interest group, a move that could avert a potential battle over the direction of the state GOP.

Republican Chairman Ed Martin said he has accepted an offer to become president of the Eagle Forum, an organization founded several decades ago by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. His new position starts immediately and is full-time, so Martin said he is dropping his party re-election bid.

Martin said he is the first person other than Schlafly to be president of the group. Schlafly, 91, will remain as chairwoman and CEO.

The Missouri Republican State Committee is to meet Feb. 21 to select a chairman. Martin was being challenged by Republican consultant John Hancock, who has raised concerns about the party’s finances heading into the 2016 elections. It’s unclear whether any other candidates will come forward to run against Hancock.

Martin, 44, of St. Louis, had been chairman since defeating David Cole in a party shakeup after the 2012 elections, when Republicans gained state legislative seats but lost races for U.S. Senate, governor and other statewide offices. Martin lost a bid for attorney general that year, and he said the party brass had lost touch with rank-and-file members.

Martin said is he leaving the party in better shape.

Martin said his departure has nothing to do with the challenge from Hancock, who has described the party’s finances as a disaster. At times this past year, the party has reported just a few thousand dollars in its bank accounts, with debts nearly equaling or exceeding the available cash.

Rand Paul Tells Missouri GOP Drug Laws Need to Be Fair
February 23, 2014

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a potential presidential contender in 2016, told a gathering of Missouri Republicans on Saturday that America’s drug laws have gone “overboard” in severity and unfair application, and that it’s time to scale back penalties.

“The war on drugs has had a disproportionate effect on people of color,” Paul said. “I’m not for legalizing any of this stuff, (but) let’s try to make sure it’s fair. We’ve gone overboard on some of this stuff.”

That view, which Paul has voiced before, came during a section of his speech in which he implored the party to become more inclusive of minorities and urban dwellers.

“We need a bigger party … We need a party that looks like America,” Paul, R-Ky., told about 450 participants in the annual Lincoln Days convention of Missouri Republicans. “It’s easy to say you’re going to be that — it’s harder to actually be that.”

Paul prefaced his remarks on drugs with the warning to his audience that “we may or may not agree on this.”

But for most of the short speech, he regaled the conservative audience with well-received anecdotes about government waste and inefficiency at the hands of the Democratic presidential administration.

“I’ve got good news and bad news,” Paul said in his opening. “The good news is your government’s open. The bad news is your government’s open.” Conventioneers responded with a burst of laughter and applause.

Paul cited what he said is $1 million a minute in federal borrowing, with money wasted on unnecessary regulations, fraud and things like “a menu for Mars.”

“Your government is out of control, literally out of control,” he said. “We’ve got to get it back.”

Paul didn’t directly address his potential plans for a presidential run.

His Missouri appearance comes on the heels of what some are calling his “Sister Souljah Moment” — his repudiation last week of a racist comment by former rock star and conservative activist Ted Nugent.

In an interview, Nugent called President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” As outraged Democrats and others were quick to point out, that’s the same term used by the Nazis to describe Jews and other minorities during the Holocaust.

While some mainstream conservatives were shrugging off Nugent’s comment, Paul on Thursday sent out a forcefully critical tweet: “Ted Nugent’s derogatory description of President Obama is offensive and has no place in politics. He should apologize.”

Political analysts seized on that as another sign that Paul is trying to broaden his conservative base and reach out to moderates in preparation for a presidential run.

“By decrying Nugent, Paul proves once again that he gets it,” wrote the Washington Post’s political column The Fix.


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Missouri GOP Lincoln Days Agenda in Springfield
February 21, 2014

Friday, 21 Feb 2014

12:00 Noon Registration Opens Ballroom Coat Room

3:00 pm Silent Auction set-up Texas Room

4:00 pm Silent Auction Texas Room

4:00 pm Exhibits Ballroom Lobby

5:00 pm Reception with Peter Kinder Atrium

6:00 pm MRP Cash Bar Grand Ballroom

7:00 pm MOGOP Kick-off to Victory 2014 Grand Ballroom

9:00 pm Hospitality Suites Floors 1-7

Saturday, 22 Feb 2014

7:00 am Ed Martin Meeting Johns Q Room

7:30 am Breakfast with Sen. Blunt with Pachyderms Kansas-Oklahoma Room

8:00 am MAR Breakfast – Invitation Only Taneycomo Room

8:30 am Republican National Lawyers Association Lake of the Ozarks Room

9:00 am Registration Opens Ballroom Coat Room

9:00 am Silent Auction Texas Room

9:00 am MOGOP State Committee Meeting Nebraska Room

9:00 am ObamaCare Breakout Colorado-Illinois Room

10:30 am Common Core Breakout Colorado-Illinois Room

11:00 am Young Republican Meeting John Q Room

11:00 am Hispanic Republicans & Hood Cons Breakout Lake of the Ozarks

12:00 Noon MoFRW Luncheon Kansas-Oklahoma Room

1:00 pm College Republican Meeting Arkansas Room

1:30 pm Social Media Training John Q Room

1:30 pm Right to Work Taneycomo

2:00 pm Show Me State Series Lake of the Ozarks Room

2:00 pm Ice Cream Social with Auditor Schweich Atrium

2:30 pm Legislative Town Hall Colorado-Illinois Room

3:00 pm Missouri Republican Assembly Arkansas Room

3:30 pm Silent Auction Pick-up Texas Room

6:00 pm MAR Gold Ticket VIP Reception Convention Center Nebraska Room

6:00 pm MAR Cash Bar Grand Ballroom

7:00 pm MAR Banquet Grand Ballroom
Sen Rand Paul

9:30 pm Hospitality Suites Floors 1-7

Sunday, 23 Feb 2014

9:00 am Prayer Service Kansas Room