Competition for Democratic floor leader
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Competition for Democratic floor leader

Date: September 10, 2008
By: Emily Coleman
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, confirmed he plans to run for Democratic floor leader if he wins his reelection campaign.

If Graham wins the race, a likely opponent would be one of the Senate's most conservative Democrats - Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Jackson County. Their choice will serve as the face of the caucus.

Callahan is a conversative Democrat who voted for last year's bill to toughen regulation of abortion facilities and voiced support for gun rights.

Current Democratic Floor Leader Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, voiced support for Callahan "What Senator Callahan brings to the Democratic party is exactly what we're all about: people who are pro-choice and pro-life, people who are against guns and for guns," Coleman said.

Coleman described Callahan as "colorful" but also one of the smartest, most analytical Missouri Democratic senators.

When asked about Chuck Graham, Coleman burst into laughter but would not comment on Graham's candidacy.

Coleman has reached the limit on her term as a Missouri senator.

"With all due respect to Maida, she won't be a member of the caucus so she won't have a vote," Graham said.

Graham had his own defense.

"I've been the number two leader for the last four years," he said. "I think I've earned the respect of my colleagues."

There is still a chance for others to declare their interest in the position.

"You never know who's going to be the new leader until there's an actual vote taken," Coleman said.