April 28th, 2004--- Educator Jeff Smith's campaign for Congress in Missouri's 3rd District picked up momentum Tuesday night when the Jefferson Township Democratic Club endorsed his campaign. The Jefferson Township Club is the biggest in the state of Missouri. They will canvass Jefferson Township for its endorsed candidates and provide Smith's campaign with even more energy and volunteers.
"The Jefferson Township Democratic club wanted a candidate with the vision to lead us into the future and the tenacity to fight and win against George W. Bush, John Ashcroft and the right-wingers in Congress. They found it in my candidacy," Smith said. "I may not have the highest name recognition yet, but this endorsement reflects the way that Democrats respond to my message."
The Jefferson Township endorsement was the first in a series of endorsements that will come as Smith introduces himself to Democrats of the 3rd District. Smith's supporters shared his enthusiasm. "Jeff Smith is the most exciting candidate I've seen in the 3rd District. He is the clear choice for progressive Democrats," Anne Wilding of Webster Groves said after the meeting. "Jeff has the vision, intelligence, experience and principles to make a difference in Washington. His enthusiastic supporters made themselves heard at the Jefferson Township Democratic Club meeting," Wilding added.
Although the endorsement was strongly contested by other candidates, Smith was able to prevail. He noted that his supporters at the meeting responded to his message that politicians must make choices with an eye on the long term good of the country and showed that a first time candidate can win elections against establishment candidates.
Smith added, "The energy at the Jefferson Township Committee meeting was electric. Democrats are hungry for a candidate they can believe in. I think the grassroots energy we felt Tuesday night is the same energy that will carry me to victory on August 3rd."
Smith said his campaign was gaining tremendous momentum, noting in addition to his grassroots momentum he has raised over $250,000 since beginning fundraising six months ago. Smith has more cash on hand after just six months ($181,000) than all but one of his opponents, Russ Carnahan, who has been raising money for 15 months.
Smith's experience uniquely qualifies him to serve in a House of Representatives composed of 177 lawyers with an average age of 54. Smith, 30, has distinguished himself as an award-winning teacher of political science and public policy at Washington University and UM-St. Louis, as co-founder (with Susan Uchitelle and Sarah Smith) of The Confluence Academies, a group of acclaimed public charter schools in the City of St. Louis, and as a longtime youth basketball coach. Though this is his first run for office, Smith has been involved in several local and national Democratic campaigns, including a stint as Deputy Political Director for Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential campaign.