Missouri Democrats name new staff leaders

Monday, April 21, 2014 | 4:55 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Democratic Party announced a pair of new leaders Monday as it heads into a 2014 election with a goal of putting a dent in the large state legislative majorities enjoyed by Republicans.

The party's finance director, Crystal Brinkley, will assume the duties of executive director starting April 28.

Kristen Self, a Democratic campaign worker from Indiana, will start that same day as the campaign director for Missouri Democrats.

Democrats are a roughly 2-to-1 minority to Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate, where they have been out of power for more than a decade. No one is suggesting Democrats can win back a majority this year, but party Chairman Roy Temple has made it a goal to cut into that gap bit by bit.

"We didn't end up in our current situation overnight, and we're not going to rectify the situation overnight, but there are obvious ways in which we believe we can make progress," Temple said.

Earlier this year, Democrats consolidated their efforts by shutting down their separate House and Senate campaign committees. Each of those committees transferred about $100,000 to the state Democratic Party in February.

Brinkley had joined the state party in October after serving in Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's administration. The role of executive director had been vacant since February, when Joe Duffy left to run Democrats' coordinated campaign efforts in Iowa.

Among other things, Brinkley previously served as the volunteer coordinator for the presidential campaign of former U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri and traveled to various states for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

Self has served as the campaign director for Indiana House Democrats, who lost their slim majority in the 2010 elections and now are at a greater than 2-to-1 disadvantage to Republicans.

The Missouri Republican Party also has undergone recent staff changes. Matt Wills took over as the GOP executive director earlier this month after serving as the party's communications director. He replaced Shane Schoeller, who stepped down to run for Greene County clerk.

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