ST. LOUIS   •   Shane Schoeller, the former Missouri state representative who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state last year, has been tapped as executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.

“Shane is a passionate and articulate messenger for the Republican Party,” state GOP Chairman Ed Martin said in an emailed announcement this morning. “He knows politics and understands the state, and he will bring to the Party an invaluable knowledge of the General Assembly. With Shane’s leadership, I am confident that we will achieve success in 2014 and beyond.”

In the statement, Schoeller, 41, vowed to build on the party's majorities in the state legislature and in its congressional delegation, and to “restore Republican leadership in Missouri's statewide offices.”

“We must effectively communicate to all Missourians that our best days are ahead by electing Republicans committed to economic growth and prosperity for our state, and our nation,” Schoeller said in the statement.

Statewide office is where Missouri Republicans stumbled last year. The party's only victory was keeping incumbent GOP Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder in his seat. Schoeller narrowly lost to Democrat Jason Kander for the seat vacated by former Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Schoeller's ascension means two top party positions are now held by defeated 2012 candidates for statewide office. Martin ran for attorney general and lost by a wide margin to Democratic incumbent Chris Koster.

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Kevin McDermott is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.