Local lawyer top contender for GOP post

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Within the week, Cassville attorney David Cole is expected to be elected as chairman of Missouri's Republican Party.

A special meeting of the State Republican Committee will be held this Saturday in Jefferson City to decide who will lead the GOP's election efforts for the next two years, and Cole is the leading contender for the post.

"I didn't go looking for this job," said Cole, who is a partner in the Ellis, Cupps and Cole Law Firm. "After the current chairman, Doug Russell, of Lebanon, decided he didn't want to do this again, people started talking and calling. I received some calls and encouragement, and it took off from there."

Members of the State Republican Committee will be the ones to elect Cole as chairman. The Committee is comprised of 68 individuals who are elected to represent their Senatorial District. A man and woman are elected from each district, and it will be these elected representatives who cast votes to name Russell's successor.

After Cole determined he was interested in the position and learned he had the support of the state's leading lawmakers, he wrote a letter to the Committee, asking the members for their support.

Committee members also received a letter endorsing Cole's candidacy for the state GOP chairmanship that was signed by Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Former Governor Matt Blunt, outgoing State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, U.S. Senator Kit Bond and U.S. Representatives Roy Blunt, Jo Ann Emerson, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Sam Graves and Todd Aiken.

As GOP Party Chairman, Cole would serve as a volunteer. A full-time executive director is hired to run the State Republican Party headquarters in Jefferson City, and day-to-day operations are handled by a paid staff.

"If I am elected, it's going to take some time, but I'm still going to be here practicing law," said Cole when asked how the position would affect his local law practice.

Cole is not new to politics. The one-time Barry County prosecutor and former Cassville R-IV School Board member currently serves as chairman of the 7th Congressional District GOP Committee and the Barry County Republican Committee and is also a member of the State Republican Committee representing the 29th Senatorial District.

If Cole is elected as the state chairman, he hopes to bring members of the Republican leadership together.

"I'd love to be able to build a consensus," said Cole. "No one can bring a consensus, but you can help build one, and that's what I'd like to do."

When asked to explain the role of the State GOP Chairman, Cole's answer was simple and to the point.

"The job of the State Committee is to win elections and elect Republicans," said Cole.

Cole's reason for seeking this new political challenge is also straightforward.

"It's something I care about. I wouldn't have been on the State Committee for the past 12 years if it weren't something I believe in," said Cole. "I have a passion for politics. Some people fish and some people hunt and some people do politics, I guess."

Cole, a Wheaton High School graduate, earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin and earned his law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Cole and his wife, Amy, have three children. Holly is a first-year law student at her father's alma mater, their son, Andrew, is a Cassville High School sophomore, and their youngest daughter, Emily, is an eighth grader at Cassville.

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