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Politically Speaking: Missouri GOP chairman Graves on next week’s election

Missouri Republican Party Chairman Todd Graves joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies on the latest edition of Politically Speaking.

Both Graves and Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber taped podcasts giving their perspective on next week’s election, which will have a major impact on the state’s future political trajectory.

Graves is a partner at the Graves Garrett law firm in Kansas City. He became chairman of the Missouri Republican Party after the 2016 election cycle. 

Missouri Republican Party Chairman Todd Graves
Credit Todd Graves
Missouri Republican Party Chairman Todd Graves

A native of Tarkio, Missouri, Graves became involved in Missouri Republican politics in the 1980s. His brother, Sam Graves, has served as a state representative, state senator and now congressman. Todd Graves was elected as Platte County prosecutor in 1998 and unsuccessfully ran for state treasurer in 2000.

President George W. Bush tapped Graves in 2001 to serve as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. He served in that post until the end of 2006. After that, Graves went into private practice.

Here’s what Graves had to say during the show:

  • The Missouri Republican Party is taking part in an unprecedented “turnout and door-to-door effort.” “We’ve knocked over a million doors. I mean, literally,” he said. “We’re laser-focused on the suburban areas. I think our candidates have been laser-focused.”
  • The Republican National Committee has set up about 50 offices around the state, which Graves said is “unheard of” — even in a presidential election year. “Two years ago, we didn’t have that kind of effort,” he said.
  • He said that the GOP was able to bridge an “enthusiasm gap” after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. “I don’t think anyone can dispute that has propelled our base,” he said. “And that’s taken us to an enthusiasm level that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
  • If GOP state auditor nominee Saundra McDowell were to defeat incumbent Nicole Galloway, it would showcase that money may not actually be that important to winning statewide elections. McDowell has raised about $80,000 for her campaign thus far. Galloway has raised about $2.1 million.
  • As for the state legislature, Graves said his goal is to maintain a GOP supermajority in the House and Senate.

Webber’s podcast is scheduled to air Wednesday.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter:@jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter:@jmannies

Follow Todd Graves on Twitter:@MOGOP_Chairman

Music: “Lateralus” by Tool

Copyright 2018 St. Louis Public Radio

Since entering the world of professional journalism in 2006, Jason Rosenbaum dove head first into the world of politics, policy and even rock and roll music. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Rosenbaum spent more than four years in the Missouri State Capitol writing for the Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri Lawyers Media and the St. Louis Beacon. Since moving to St. Louis in 2010, Rosenbaum's work appeared in Missouri Lawyers Media, the St. Louis Business Journal and the Riverfront Times' music section. He also served on staff at the St. Louis Beacon as a politics reporter. Rosenbaum lives in Richmond Heights with with his wife Lauren and their two sons.
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.