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Missouri Senate makes right turn

For much of the last legislative session, many Capitol observers expected Senate Majority Leader Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, to succeed Charlie Shields as president pro tem.

But it was Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, who captured the now 26-member GOP caucus’ nomination Thursday morning.

“With the election on Tuesday, we as a caucus are excited about moving this state forward,” Mayer told reporters after the caucus positions were filled, “and we believe it’s a great opportunity.

“Even though the state and the nation have struggled, economically, we think it’s a good time to put forth a pro-job creation, pro-business agenda — and this caucus is committed to working as a team.” Mayer said the GOP caucus “is going to be an inclusive group.” But Engler voiced some reservations. “The more big danger is they will think they’ve been given a mandate,” he said. “People are mad at the current system. “And if Republicans don’t respond to the people, they’ll be thrown out.” He was disappointed that Mayer pledged last spring to support Engler, then later agreed to be the challenge candidate.

“We worked six, seven days a week bringing (Republican) victories and to have these people see an opportunity where they can take over — is very hard,” Engler said. “I’m not going to be vindictive and go after people.”

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