This past weekend’s Defense of Liberty event was the eighth edition in a series that Paul Curtman started years ago during the Barack Obama years. Previous event included big names like Dinesh D’souza and many state officials and legislators. Grassroots and liberty-minded Republicans became quite familiar with the DOL brand prior to 2020, and that popularity culminated in Curtman’s statewide run for Auditor in 2018.
But after that, Curtman’s departure from Missouri for other professional pursuits called into question the future of the Defense of Liberty brand in Missouri. But last Friday night changed the trajectory for Defense of Liberty in a BIG BIG way. Partnering with State Senator Bill Eigel and former Senator Jim Lembke, Curtman and crew not only revived the energy of Defense of Liberty events; they blew the lid off previous events in terms of excitement, headliners, and dollars raised.
For headliners, the team landed conservative star Candace Owens, the nationally known author, activist, and conservative personality that was headlining her first event in Missouri. That type of headliner is normally reserved for statewide and federal officeholders, not former legislators and state senators. Not a single US Senate candidate—or even current statewide officeholder–has been able to harness that level of star power to date. But Curtman and Eigel got it done, apparently working through a national network that stretched from Team Owens through…well, through several national Republican networks that apparently are far more interested in the DOL message of liberty than the establishment message emanating from the current crop of Republican statewide officeholders. Republicans already running for office in 2024 that recently supported the largest tax hike in Missouri history (see: gas tax) should be eyeing what happened on Friday like they would a line of storm clouds on the horizon of a summer Missouri afternoon.
Speaking of federal officeholders, the DOL had that too. Four of the five announced US Senate candidates for Missouri attended, including both Congressman, and spoke to the assembled crowd of nearly 1,200 participants. Yes—1,200 participants. That’s about 1,000 more than most of these candidates had at their own campaign announcements. This DOL event was THAT big. And what about fundraising? Early projections show north of six figures being raised in the event, making this Defense of Liberty event the most successful fundraiser to date. That’s important—the resources could be used to continue spreading Curtman and Eigel’s popular message—and it could be used to support conservative candidates in the state…and possibly federal…elections process.
The Republican grassroots in Missouri have always had energy—now they are looking at a future where resources are pouring into that mix. Traditional and brand new Republican donors—including World Wide Technology Founder David Steward—put their assets behind the event. That’s not just a major endorsement of Candace Owens—that’s a major lift for Team Curtman and Team Eigel…and their allies. A year ago, Curtman was living in a different state. A year ago, Eigel was enduring an unusual re-election primary funded most likely by another Republican!
Just a year later, the momentum has completely shifted. Folks at the Defense of Liberty seemed very eager for a change of direction from the establishment Republican circles that already have their eyes on the campaigns of 2024 and beyond. Eigel and Curtman now appear ready and empowered to give it to them.