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Rand Paul To Headline Major Missouri Republican Gathering

via Flickr/jbouie
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

The biggest annual event for Missouri Republicans is more than two months away, but party leaders were eager to announce Monday that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will be the marquee speaker at the state GOP’s Lincoln Days festivities Feb. 21-23.

The weekend gathering, which attracts hundreds of party activists, will be held in Springfield, Mo.  The event rotates among the state’s three largest cities; last year’s Lincoln Days was in St. Louis.  The event usually attracts most of the state's major Republican officials, activists, potential candidates and donors.

Paul  is scheduled to speak at the Saturday night banquet, usually the best attended event of the weekend.

“Lincoln Days has been a celebration that has attracted some of the biggest names in national politics—and this year will be no different.  We are excited that Sen. Rand Paul will share his vision of our party’s future with Missouri’s elected Republicans, the state committee and county chairmen, as well as committed volunteers and activists,” said Ed Martin, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. 

“Sen. Paul delighted Missouri Republicans last May at the Spirit of Reagan event. Missouri Republicans are again in for a real treat.”

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., was credited with snagging Paul for Lincoln Days.

"This year’s Lincoln Days celebration will mark the 115th anniversary – and this year, we have much to celebrate including the large Republican majorities in the General Assembly. But we have a lot of work to do in 2014,” said Nick Myers, president of the Missouri Association of Republicans, which organizes the Lincoln Days event.

“We expect hundreds of conservative activists and elected officials from all across the state to join us in Springfield, and thanks to Sen. Roy Blunt's efforts, we are glad that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will be delivering the keynote address at our annual banquet.”

Paul also is close to party chairman Martin, a St. Louis lawyer.  Paul had helped Martin raise money during his unsuccessful 2012 bid for Missouri attorney general against Democratic incumbent Chris Koster.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.