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Courtney Cole (D), the Democratic Party candidate in the 121st Legislative District who is challenging incumbent Denny Hoskins (r-noun, verb, CPA), received recognition from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) as one of their top twenty essential state legislative races in the country:

Missouri House District 121– Courtney Cole

Status: Republican Incumbent

Why this Race Matters: Incumbent Republican Denny Hoskins, who won his first election by just 122 votes in 2008, ran for office as a fiscally-conservative CPA, until local media discovered he had $20,000 in unpaid taxes. After that news came out, Hoskins got in a fight on the House floor. This is unquestionably House Democrats’ best pickup opportunity, the first of several pickups they’ll need to close the GOP advantage.

“…he had $20,000 in unpaid taxes…”

We knew that.

“…Hoskins got in a fight on the House floor…”

We knew that, too.

DLCC Announces Essential Races Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27, 2010

[….]

DLCC Announces Essential Races

List of Critical Races to be Augmented by Grassroots Initiative

Today, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Michael Sargeant unveiled the Essential Races program, a list of crucial state legislative races across the country that will be added to and voted on by grassroots activists nationwide.

“These Essential Races are the key contests for Democratic state legislative control this fall,” said Sargeant. “However, thousands of Democrats are running professionalized, localized campaigns for state legislature in competitive races across the country.”

The DLCC revealed the first 20 candidates in the Essential Races program today; an additional 20 will be announced next week.

The DLCC will also be accepting nominations from grassroots activists around the country for an additional 10 Essential Races. Nominations may be submitted at http://www.dlcc.org/2010Races. Grassroots Essential Races results will be announced on October 13.

With over 6,000 state legislative races on November ballots across the country, state legislative races seldom get the attention even of sophisticated political observers. Individual districts are rarely polled publicly. The Essential Races program helps identify the few races that will be most significant in 2010. At just 40 candidates, the Essential Races list constitutes only a fraction of the competitive state legislative campaigns this year. In 2008, more than 160 state legislative races were decided by 200 votes or fewer. A complete list of races to watch this fall would run into the hundreds.

“This list of Essential Races represents a relative handful of races deserving of special attention,” explained Sargeant. “Some are races we anticipate to be the most competitive in their states. Others are bellwethers for similar districts elsewhere. Still others are examples of key races in critical redistricting battlegrounds.”

The inaugural list of Essential Races contains contests from the states of Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, to name only a few.

###

[emphasis added]

The DLCC “works to win state legislative seats and chambers for Democrats.” The DLCC is not affiliated with the Democratic National Committee nor the Democratic Leadership Council.

It’s obvious that the 121st Legislative District race is on the national radar, even more so, given that the DLCC’s Board of Directors does not have a member from Missouri:

The DLCC is governed by a Board of 22 Democratic state legislative leaders who represent the interests of all Democratic state legislative candidates nationally. Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal is the Chair of the Board. The Chair, along with the other Board members, advocates the interest of Democratic state legislators to other national organizations and ensures that state legislative leaders are involved with DLCC in chambers where it is active.

Executive Board

DLCC Chair

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, Iowa

DLCC Vice Chair

Senate President Sylvia Larsen, New Hampshire

DLCC Treasurer

Representative Mike Gerber, Pennsylvania

DLCC Secretary

Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minnesota

DLCC Finance Chair

House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, Virginia

DLCC Chairman Emeritus

Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., Maryland

Board of Directors

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, California

Speaker of the House Pat Bauer, Indiana

Senator Sean Burrage, Oklahoma

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, Washington

Senate President Richard Codey, New Jersey

Representative Garnet Coleman, Texas

Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, Wisconsin

House Majority Leader Ken Guin, Alabama

Senator Wally Horn, Iowa

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, Nevada

Speaker of the House Dave Hunt, Oregon

Senator Christine Kaufmann, Montana

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, Virginia

Senate President Brandon Shaffer, Colorado

Representative Mimi Stewart, New Mexico

Representative Mike Turner, Tennessee

Very interesting.

And, of course, Representative Denny Hoskins (r) continues to step in it in the district.