Missouri Republicans express optimism about their chances in November as a large and enthusiastic crowd mingles with candidates at the St. Charles Convention Center.
State party officials say more than 850 people have registered for the annual kick-off to the campaign season, a record. A rally for United States Senate candidate, southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt, kicked off the festivities.
Republicans heard from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty during the banquet last year. Tonight, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who also served as U.S. Senator, governor and state attorney general, will speak to the crowd. Missouri Republicans honor Senator Bond, who is retiring from public office, tonight as well.