Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Conservative Group Seeks to Mobilize Voters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Conservative Group Seeks to Mobilize Voters

Article excerpt

PAT ROBERTSON'S Christian Coalition is coming to Missouri, one of the few states where the religious, conservative group lacks a presence.

The founder of the Missouri group is Jan Klarich of west St. Louis County, one of the state's most powerful Republicans.

The goal, she said, will be to influence state and local elections by mobilizing thousands of conservative churchgoers who share the coalition's views on various issues, from abortion and education to "anything that deals with morality."

Politicians will pay attention to the coalition's concerns, Klarich said, "if you can get these people out of the pews and into the political arena."

The coalition will not endorse candidates, she said, but will distribute "scorecards" outlining candidates' views.

But Gene Bushmann, chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, called the Christian Coalition a vehicle for "right-wing Republicans."

Bushmann contended that a Missouri chapter would have little influence on most state voters, who he said are "rational and reasonable thinkers who generally shy aware from rigid, fundamentalist groups."

Klarich maintained that the Christian Coalition's views reflect those of most Missourians. Liberal politicians and groups are the ones out of touch, she said.

Robertson, the TV evangelist, founded the Christian Coalition in 1989. It claims 450,000 members in 42 state groups and 870 local chapters around the country.

Missouri has two local chapters, both in the St. Louis area. One, with close to 100 members, is in St. Charles County. The second, with about 20 members, is in Jefferson County.

Tony Hammond, executive director of the state GOP, said his party welcomes a state chapter of the Christian Coalition and supports Klarich's involvement.

Klarich, a member of the state GOP executive committee, is the elected committeewoman for West County's Queeny Township. Her son is state Rep. David Klarich, R-west St. Louis County.

Sandra Lindsay, who operates a hospice in Clinton, Mo., near Kansas City, heads fund raising and the organizing of local chapters for the new group. …

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