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In uncertain times for the Missouri Senate, the Republicans elect conservative leader

November 10, 2000
By: Laetitia Thompson
State Capital Bureau

This is Laetitia Thompson for Missouri Capitol Caucus.

As the nation grapples with deciding who will become the next president, the Missouri senate found itself facing a similiar problem.

Following the election, the Senate split evenly, 17 to 17, between Democrats and Republicans.

But it might not stay that way for long.

Three senators won other political seats in Congress and within the state government, which means they will have to leave the chamber by early January.

The timing of their departure could give the Republicans at least temporary control of the Senate for the first time in 53 years.

In the wake of such a close election, Democrat governor-elect Bob Holden gave a speech asking for bipartisanship in the legislature.

But as Holden's spoke, Republican senators chose one of their most conservative members to lead their charge.

Cape Giradeau Senator Peter Kinder is not a middle of the road kind of guy, but says he will try to get along with the Democrats.

Actuality:kinder3
RunTime: 14 sec
OutCue: "incoming administration."
FILLWe will proceed confidently but also in a manner of sincere cooperation with the opposing party and the governor elect's incoming administration.

St. Louis Senator Betty Sims, a much more moderate Republican, says Kinder's leadership sends a definate message to the Democrats.

Actuality:sims
RunTime:
OutCue:
Contents: This is not to say were out and shooting our guns. That is not what we'll do and that message is very clear. We are here, but we are not backing off either, we are here, we are the elected leadership of the party, and we want to wokr with the elected leadership of the Democratic party.

Kinder says he will probably try to take control of the Senate if given the opportunity and that has the Democrats scrambling.

Even if the Republicans take control of the Senate temporarily, Democrats could lose key posts... like the leadership of the senate chamber, committee chairs, and even appointment confirmations made by the new governor.

Its a logistical and tactical mess that's keeping the Democrats from electing new leaderhip...something Kinder says must happen before he will make a move.

Actuality:
RunTime:
OutCue:
Contents: We can't really commence that discussion until we get their leaders' names. The ball is in their court now. They know who they're doing business with.

The Democrats are expected to elect their leadership within the next week.

From Jefferson City, I'm Laetitia Thompson.