Special in Senate 22?

With the appointment of Ryan McKenna to director of the Department of Labor, folks are wondering whether the governor will call a special election for Senate 22 or if it will remain vacant until the regularly scheduled election next year.

 

A few thoughts:

First, Dems think that a higher turnout benefits them in this district.  Therefore a regular election gives their candidate, Rep. Jeff Roorda, a bit more advantage.

 

Of course, a springtime special election would only be a prelude to an autumn rematch, and the benefits of a six month incumbency wouldn’t be that great.

 

Second, some question whether the governor could/would call a special election for Senate 22 without calling special elections for the three vacant House seats.  (Jason Smith went to Congress; Steve Webb resigned due to charges; Dennis Fowler resigned for an appointment).  Two of the three vacant House seats are held by Republicans.  By keeping them vacant, Governor Jay Nixon is able to reduce the Republican House majority from slightly above a veto-override majority (110) to slightly below a veto override majority (108).  That’s a pretty significant difference.

 

If the governor cherry-picked his special election calls, Republicans might raise a stink, perhaps even file a lawsuit.  The basis of such a suit would be “21.110. If the governor receives any resignation or notice of vacancy, or if he is satisfied of the death of any member of either house, during the recess, he shall, without delay, issue a writ of election to supply the vacancy.”

 

However, there’s nothing to prevent such a lawsuit now – even if the governor doesn’t call a special in Senate 22.  Though the conventional wisdom is that the courts would be loathe to order the governor to call a special election.

 

Regardless such an action might raise the public and political pressure on the governor to act.

 

Originally in December 18 MOScout.