Under fire from Missouri Democrats, the new chairman of the state GOP on Tuesday came out swinging, attacking Democrats as desperate and out of new ideas.
Ed Martin, narrowly elected on Saturday by the state Republican committee over incumbent David Cole, promised to build an accessible party built on principles and one open to GOPers of all stripes.
Martin characterized Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who's about to begin his second term, as a "bankrupt politician" who misled the state on his position on Obamacare. Nixon recently announced his support for an expansion of Medicaid, which is part of the new national health care law.
Last year, Martin was swamped by Democratic incumbent Chris Koster by 56-41 percent in the race for attorney general. In 2010, Martin lost to another incumbent, Congressman Russ Carnahan, in the race for the state's 3rd District seat.
Some analysts described Martin's chairmanship victory as a sign the state GOP was turning to the right. Cole was endorsed by the entire GOP congressional delegation.
Martin, 41, acknowledged he has to earn the respect of those GOP leaders, but said he was confident he would do so.
He also rejected Democratic attacks that he had made racist remarks about a black woman who was a nominee for the state Supreme Court and about Hispanics during his days as former Gov. Matt Blunt's chief of staff.
"It's typical of the Democratic Party," he said.