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Years of Missouri Senate Republican infighting comes to a breaking point, and the loss of parking

Mike Kehoe
Caleb Rowden
Posted at 7:52 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 20:52:25-05

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A yearslong rift between a small band of defiant Missouri state senators and fellow Republicans in leadership on Tuesday reached what one lawmaker called a pivotal moment, as well as the loss of parking spaces.

Sen. Bill Eigel posted on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, that Senate leadership “put me in the furthest spot” from the Jefferson City Capitol building. He joked that walking from his new parking spot will give him a “chance to get a little more exercise.”

“It's one of those things that we see as kind of a petty, petty response,” said Eigel, a gubernatorial candidate, to reporters. “That indicates a level to which our colleagues are willing to go.”

Eigel and Sens. Rick Brattin, Denny Hoskins and Andrew Koenig also lost coveted committee chairmanships.

The lawmakers are part of a Republican faction called the Freedom Caucus.

Senate members of the caucus spent the past several weeks blocking work on the Senate floor as they pushed Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden and other leaders to more quickly advance legislation to change the state's initiative petition process.

Rowden told reporters that demoting his fellow Republicans from their committee roles and downgrading their parking spots is in response to years of noncooperation and obstruction.

“My hope is they recognize that just chaos for its own sake doesn’t really have a lot of value around here, and we can get back to the business of governing,” Rowden said. “This is a bit of a pivotal moment.”

Rowden is running for Missouri secretary of state.