On Saturday, the Missouri Republican State Committee voted to elect Ed Martin as chairman. Martin will replace Cassville attorney David Cole, who held the position for the last four years.
"I look forward to working with the members of the state committee, our volunteers, activists and donors as we take our conservative message to Missourians from across the state and from all walks of life," said Martin. "Working together, I know we will protect what we have built and strengthen our Party in preparation for 2014 and beyond."
The Republican State Committee elected Martin as chairman in a 34-32 vote during the second round of balloting.
Jane Cunningham, of Chesterfield, also sought the chairmanship. She decided not to run for re-election to the state Senate this year after redistricting abolished her seat and placed her into the same district as a fellow GOP senator who will be up for election in 2014.
Martin has served as chief of staff to Governor Matt Blunt and chairman of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. Last year, he was the Republican nominee for attorney general.
Cole, a partner in Ellis, Cupps and Cole Law Firm in Cassville, began serving as chairman of the state committee in 2009. He replaced Doug Russell, of Lebanon.
During Cole's tenure as chairman, Missouri Republicans claimed large majorities in the state Legislature and veto-proof supermajorities during the last election. The GOP was less successful in races for statewide offices.
Prior to serving as Missouri Republican Party chairman, Cole served as Barry County prosecutor, a member of the Cassville R-4 School Board, chairman of the 7th Congressional District GOP Committee and the Barry County Republican Committee and a member of the State Republican Committee representing the 29th Senatorial District.
A Wheaton High School graduate, Cole 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.
The leader of the Missouri Republican Party is elected by the state committee, which is comprised of individuals elected to represent their senatorial districts. A man and a woman are elected from each district.
The GOP Party chairman serves 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.
On Jan. 5, Trish Vincent was also elected to serve as vice chairwoman, and Pat Thomas was elected as secretary. Richard Peerson earned the most votes for the position of treasurer.