Just two days after winning re-election to a second term, Republican Dave Schatz, Sullivan, has been selected by his peers to the second highest position in the Missouri Senate.
On Tuesday, Schatz defeated his Democratic challenger by a 64 to 35 percent margin, collecting 53,659 votes from residents of Franklin and St. Louis counties.
“The biggest thing I feel is relief,” Schatz said. “Anytime your name is on the ballot there is some concern, but we did feel confident.”
Schatz will return to the Senate for a second, and final, term.
In Franklin County, the margin of victory was slightly higher at 66 to 33 percent. Schatz collected 27,868 votes to his opponent’s 14,239.
On Thursday, Schatz was elected by the Republican caucus as the new Senate pro tempore for at least the next two years.
The phrase pro tempore is Latin “for the time being” and is the No. 2 position in the Missouri Senate.
Second only to the lieutenant governor, the pro tem presides over Senate sessions in the absence of the Senate president and ensures that members follow the body’s rules and procedures.
“It’s great to have the support of your fellow colleagues,” Schatz said. “I’m looking forward to working with the House leadership and the governor, and focusing on what we’ve got in front of us.”
Schatz was one of four state senators up for the pro tem position, including Mike Cunningham, Ed Emery and Bob Onder.
The pro tem was voted on by the senators who will be returning to Jefferson City and seven senators-elect who won office Tuesday.
His election as pro tem by the Republican caucus, which is the majority, will be voted on by the full Senate in early January after its new session begins.
Schatz said he has a good relationship with the minority leadership and he is confident about gaining the full approval of the Senate.
The Senate pro tem negotiates legislation and makes committee assignments. He is also chairman of the gubernatorial appointments.
In addition to the pro tem duties inside the Senate chamber, there are multiple duties outside, including traveling the state.
Schatz ascends to the seat after Ron Richard, who held the position, was term limited out.
Taking over the new leadership position will limit the number of bills Schatz will file, but it will raise his stature overall and with it the counties, communities and constituents he represents, including Franklin County.
Schatz originally announced his intention to run for pro tem in October 2017.
Most recently, Schatz served as chairman of the Senate transportation committee and also served on five other committees and subcommittees.
Before being elected to the Senate in 2014, Schatz served in the Missouri House of Representatives.