Missouri Democrats gather at Lake of the Ozarks for state convention
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan exhorted hundreds of Missouri Democrats gathered for their state convention Saturday to use "your compassion, your devotion, your commitment" to counter what she predicted would be unprecedented outside spending by conservative groups bent on defeating the state's top Democrats.
"We can beat the money with our passion. We can beat the money with our candidates," said Carnahan, who is not seeking re-election this fall. "But not if we're complacent."
Carnahan asserted that the national media is painting an inaccurate portrait of Americans' concerns, and of President Barack Obama.
"We've got a president standing for conviction ... putting people ahead of politics at every turn," Carnahan said.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., was missing the convention. She explained in a video aired in the hall that her mother just got out of the hospital and "is not doing so well right now."
Her mother, Betty Anne McCaskill, is featured in a powerful new McCaskill ad running statewide that cites the senator's efforts to help veterans and protect their benefits.
As the Beacon reported earlier:
Hundreds of Missouri Democrats are gathering at the Lake of the Ozarks this weekend to elect the final slate of delegates for the national presidential convention in Charlotte, N.C., this September and to rev up for the coming elections.
Gov. Jay Nixon is slated to lead a litany of statewide and regional officials and candidates who will address the state convention Saturday at the Lodge of the Four Seasons resort.
Many of the activists and delegates also are gathering for a party Friday night.
(Start of update) Saturday morning, delegates signed in while candidates milled among them. John Maxwell of St. Louis, a delegate from the 3rd District, said he was optimistic that Democrats will do well in the fall, once most voters began tuning in to the facts behind the parties' dueling messages.
"The Republican lines are 'cons,' " Maxwell said. "I think it will be a landslide for Obama in the fall."
The three best-known candidates for lieutenant governor -- state Rep. Sara Lampe, former state Auditor Susan Montee and former state Rep. Judy Baker -- were distributing stickers and fliers before Saturday's proceedings, while mingling with delegates as they registered. (End of update)
Democrats aren’t expecting much controversy at Saturday's gathering, unlike the Republican state convention last weekend in Springfield, Mo., where a battle over delegates ensued between the supporters of likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney and insurgent Ron Paul, a congressman from Texas.
Rather, said state Democratic Party chairman Mike Sanders, “This convention is about Democrats standing united behind our president, governor, U.S. senator and our statewide officials. We head toward the fall election with momentum, energy and unity."
Democrats hold the majority of statewide offices in Missouri, but most expect to face strong Republican challenges in November. Missouri Republicans hold huge majorities in the General Assembly and are trying to dominate statewide offices as they did in the 1980s.
State Republicans are trying to link Nixon and other Missouri Democrats to President Barack Obama, who is not expected to carry Missouri in November -- and who isn't expected to do much public campaigning in the state.
Nixon and many other statewide Democrats have, in turn, touted their own record and not talked much about Obama.
Some of the latest polls have been particularly disheartening for allies of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who is shown in tight contests -- or trailing -- all three of her major Republican rivals: former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin and St. Louis businessman John Brunner.
St. Louis Democratic Party chairman Brian Wahby, who is a member of the Democratic National Committee, said he was confident McCaskill will get stronger as more voters pay attention to the contest and her record.
"I think the electorate is really fluid right now," he said. "We don't even know who her (Republican) opponent will be yet."
At Saturday's state convention, members will elect 19 at-large delegates and seven alternates to the national convention. The Missouri delegation also includes 58 national convention delegates elected at the congressional-caucus meetings in April, 13 pledged delegates and 12 unpledged delegates.
During Saturday’s proceedings, the convention also will select four Missouri members to the Democratic National Committee and 10 presidential electors. The electors participate in the Electoral College that actually chooses the president.