PERSPECTIVE: Victorious GOP elects new Senate leadership
Monday, November 8, 2010
For two decades I observed the political elections as either a candidate or officeholder. Those days are over.
The 2010 election cycle has ended and it was a watershed year for Republican candidates.
When I first ran for the Legislature in 1990 the House was occupied by 106 Democrat members and 57 Republicans. In the Senate there were 22 Democrats compared to 12 Republicans.
Following Tuesday’s election the numbers are virtually reversed. The House now has 106 Republicans and 57 Democrats while in the Senate there are 26 Republicans compared to 8 Democrats.
Members of both chambers met in the days following the election to select their leaders for the coming term. Although senators serve four-year terms, leadership elections are held every two years as the terms are staggered.
For the first time in recent memory, there was a contested election for the top leadership position in the Senate, president pro tem. By tradition, the previous term’s majority floor leader ascends to this slot.
This year a policy difference within the Republican membership led to a competitive race between Sen. Kevin Engler, RFarmington, and Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter.
Although results of the secret ballot are not announced, the vote is believed to have been very close. When it was over the Republicans had named Mayer as the new president pro tem. Of the two candidates, Mayer is considered to be more conservative.
Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, won the race for majority floor leader. In this position he will control which bills receive debate and how much time is devoted to each piece of legislation.
Other senators elected to leadership positions include Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, Jack Goodman, R-Mt. Vernon, and Sen.-elect Mike Parson, R-Bolivar. Parson was newly elected to the Senate but had previously served in a leadership capacity as a member of the House of Representatives.
Senators also chose office space for the coming term on the basis of seniority. The office we have had the honor to occupy for the previous six years was chosen by Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield. I am sure she will enjoy working within its confines as much as we did.
I wish all incoming and returning legislators the very best as the business of governing peacefully transitions from one General Assembly to the next.
As usual, I can be reached at State Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101 or 573-751-2076, or carl_vogel@senate. mo.gov for your questions, comments, or advice.
State Sen. Carl Vogel, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri’s 6th District.