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Politically Speaking: Jean Evans On How Missouri Republicans Are Gearing Up For 2020

Missouri Republican Party Excecutive Director Jean Evans
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Republican Party Excecutive Director Jean Evans

Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Jean Evans is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where she talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about the state of her party going into next year’s election cycle.

Evans served one term in the Missouri House before resigning earlier this year to take on the executive director position in the state party. She’s in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Missouri GOP, including helping organize the process to select state delegates for next year’s Republican National Convention.

Next year, Republicans will be in the position of defending five statewide offices. That task will likely include getting Gov. Mike Parson elected to a full term in office. While the GOP has performed well in rural and exurban parts of the state, Republicans have struggled recently in places like St. Louis County.

Missouri Republicans also won’t be able to count on an influx of national money next year, especially since President Donald Trump will likely easily win the state’s electoral votes. Tens of millions of dollars have flowed in Missouri the last two election cycles to influence competitive gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

Here’s what Evans talked about on the show:

  • Political parties in Missouri used to be very powerful, especially when strict campaign-donation limits to candidates meant a lot of money flowed into party campaign accounts. But Evans said that’s not the case anymore, especially since supporters of candidates for office typically set up political action committees that can take in donations of unlimited size.
  • Evans is confident that Congresswoman Ann Wagner will be in a good position for re-election, even if national Democrats decide to spend money to try to defeat the Ballwin Republican. Evans pointed out that Wagner was able to win the largely St. Louis County district in 2018, even when the party did poorly there.
  • She also discussed whether a measure that bans abortion at eight weeks of pregnancy will affect GOP chances in 2020. Evans said it’s possible that other issues will capture the attention of voters between now and November 2020.
  • Evans said Parson is well-positioned to run for a four-year term, pointing to his efforts to engage with voters in all parts of the state. She also said the governor’s willingness to work through tough issues with different legislative factions will help keep the party united going into 2020.
Politically Speaking

The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jean Evans on Twitter: @MORepEvans

Music: "Rocket Man" by Elton John

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.