MOScout Daily Update: Schmitt Gets AG - Treas Names - Transportation Talk and more...

Transportation Talk

I figured that transportation funding talk would hibernate for at least a year or two, but…

·         Exiting Rep. Kevin Corlew in the Post-Dispatch says “assigning to road projects some of a big increase in state revenue considered likely to occur following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last June that widened the reach of state taxes on online purchases.”

·         Sen. Wayne Wallingford, in SEMissourian, says “lawmakers could consider raising the fuel tax incrementally and keep it under the Hancock Amendment threshold. A 2-cent increase in the fuel tax could generate an estimated $80 million annually.”

·         Also in SE Missourian, Rep. Rick Francis says “lawmakers should consider raising vehicle license and registration fees. Such a move would not only help fund road and bridge projects, but also make it easier to maintain license offices in rural areas.”

·         And Kathy Swan suggests, “the Legislature should consider going to voters with a transportation tax that includes a sunset provision.”

What It Means

Despite the latest tax rejection from the voters, it sounds like this issue will be in the mix again this year.  And the governor’s office is likely to be neck-deep in the discussions as it remains a priority for Parson.

MOScout Daily Update: The Rumors: Schmitt for AG? - Also Treas Announcement Today?... We'll See.....

Schmitt for AG?

The governor’s office sent out an advisory yesterday afternoon that they’d be announcing the new attorney general this morning at 9:45AM.  The strong consensus among political observers is that Treasurer Eric Schmitt will get the nod.

In Missouri political history all of the statewide offices have been used as stepping stones to higher office.  However, the AG’s office has clear advantages over the others.  For Schmitt, the elevation will yield…

·         A higher national profile.  State attorney generals generate headlines, and have garner corporate interest at a level exponentially higher than state treasurers.

·         An expanded donor pool.  With the national profile, comes new networking and fundraising opportunities.

·         An office that can build a resume of achievement.  Instead of pushing a press release about the latest linked deposit rate, you command an army of attorneys, and wrestle with titans accused of wrong-doing.

All of these new advantages will help Schmitt when he’s ready to make his new move.

 

Because of these advantages, there must be some wariness on the part of 2024 Republican gubernatorial aspirants that Schmitt’s been gifted a higher platform.  But perhaps there’s been some understanding that Schmitt will hold the AG’s office (which is not term-limited) until US Senator Roy Blunt retires, and leave LG Mike Kehoe and SOS Jay Ashcroft to figure out the gov’s mansion.

 

And Treasurer Announcement Too?

Rumors are that Parson will also announce Schmitt’s replacement at Treasurer.  If true, that’s a fast-moving second floor. 

Names in the mix for treasurer are all women.  The GOP appears to realize that a statewide slate of white men, mostly not elected to the position that they occupy could create some vulnerabilities. 

Who folks are talking about: Bev Randles (Parson’s 2016 primary opponent), Brenda Talent (currently head of the Show-Me Institute), and Sen. Jeanie Riddle.

Randles and Talent are both Team Rex.  Randles served on Sinquefield’s Missouri Club for Growth, and Sinquefield contributed an astoundingly large amount to her losing LG bid.  Talent’s Show-Me Institute is a Sinquefield creation, and still funded by him.

Talking to a lobbyist about possible treasurers and their qualifications, the deadpan reply was: “It’s treasurer.  You don’t do anything.”

 

What It Means

Schmitt is an Axiom Strategies client.  His appointment should reduce the chances of a Roe-back primary candidate.  Sinquefield is one of the triumvirate (with Humphreys and Herzog) of heavy GOP donors who could fund a big IE. 

It appears, then, that Governor Mike Parson – assuming these rumors are true (we’ll find out in a few hours) – will have largely made peace with the various Republican factions that could have complicate his 2020 re-election. 

Meanwhile

Former Sen. Jane Cunningham knows how to hold a grudge.  See it here.

 

Who Will Be The New Renegades?

The new legislative session is only about seven weeks away.  In recent times, the Senate’s supermajority has spawned sporadic renegade factions.  These groups, when effective, can gum up the body’s workings and minimize the number of bills passed.

The chief trouble-maker of the last few sessions was Sen. Rob Schaaf.  He’s term-limited and will be replaced by Sen-elect Tony Luetkemeyer.

I asked around to get a guess for who the new renegades of the Senate might be.

Folks generally don’t see a cohesive group such as was organized under the Silvey-Holsman umbrella.  Instead it will be the staunchly ideological conservatives coalescing around specific issues.  Sens. Bill Eigel and Denny Hoskin may take lead roles, joined at times by Sen. Bob Onder.

The wildcards are the incoming freshmen.  The guess is that Sen-elect Eric Burlison will act similar to Sens. Andrew Koenig and Ed Emery. Those senators, while willing to voice their displeasure, rarely engaged in filibusters.  This may also be true of Sen-elects. Cindy O’Laughlin and Bill White.  The group dynamics are hard to forecast, though interestingly no one mentioned Luetkemeyer, or Sen-elect Justin Brown as possible members of the renegade group.

 

Bits

The Missouri Ethics Commission fined Levi Weaver, mayor of Greenwood (Lee’s Summit), $9,587 for various violations.  See it here.

 

Elad Gross, the plucky lawyer who sued Greitens’ dark money operation, announced yesterday that he’d be running for attorney general as a Democrat.  See his website here.

 

Paul Fehler, committeeman in St. Louis City, has created some interesting maps of the 2016 House elections.  See some images here.

 

The mighty Jason Rosenbaum interview Sen-elect Cindy O’Laughlin.  Listen to it here.

 

$5K+ Contributions

SaferMO.Com - $10,000 from Express Scripts.

2018 Ballot Fund - $45,000 from MOVE Action.

House Victory Committee - $10,000 from Citizens for Crystal Quade.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Steve Hoven, J.C. Kuessner, Jack Jackson, and Melissa Panettiere.

MOScout Daily Update: AG Appt Talk - Victory for Victory - CLEAN Math - Gumbel Hearts Rex and more...

MO in Fifth Risk

Over the weekend, I had a chance to read Michael Lewis’ new book, The Fifth Risk (see it here).  It’s harrowing account of the lackadaisical Trump transition team, and the need to take governing seriously.  Missouri has several cameos in the book…

·         Former Kit Bond staffer, Brian Klippenstein of Protect the Harvest, tries to help Trump transition in Department of Agriculture.

·         The Joplin Tornado was a catalyzing event for Department of Commerce staffers to make tornado warnings more effective

·         And Ferguson is mentioned in the potential to use data concerning police-citizen interaction to improve public safety.

 

MOScout Daily Update: Dems for 2020 Gov? - Schatz, Rowden, Walsh, Walker Win Leadership Races - Walker Quits Black Caucus and more...

Who’s on Dem List for 2020?

No it’s not too early; it might even be a little late…

·         Sen. Scott Sifton has been considering a gubernatorial run. 

·         Supporters of Auditor Nicole Galloway would probably see her as first in line for that ballot spot – if she wants it.

·         Russ Carnahan, who helped House Dems in their fundraising and outreach efforts this cycle, is said to be open to a 2020 statewide run.

·         But one savvy Dem tells me that his party should be seeking a candidate from outside the political bubble, for example a woman business leader.  Such a person would be without the baggage of a “career politician.”  They’d have a business resume that plays to the Dem Party’s strength: economic issues (anti-RTW, boasting minimum wage); and they’d have a demographic profile to seize on Republican weakness with college-educated women.

MOScout Daily Update: How Galloway Won - How Wielann Won - Blunt Rumor - Razer for Senate - MO Congressional Power and much much more....

Demoralized Dems

As Missouri Democrats pick up the smashed shards of their ‘blue wave’ dream and start to piece a 2020 plan together, one of the most sobering facts they’ll have to confront is the shocking margins by which Republicans won a lot of state senate districts on Tuesday.

Consider:

·         Senate 22 was supposed to be one of the Republicans’ most vulnerable incumbents.  But Paul Wieland finished with 58%.  JeffCo essentially matched St. Charles as Sen. Bob Onder won with 59.7%. 

·         Senate 16 and Senate 18 had Democratic senators just a dozen years ago and now they seem utterly out of reach to Dems.  In Senate 16, Dems fielded a legitimate candidate who worked hard, built an organization, raised money, had a message and fit the district.  And still he was crushed by 40 points, 70% to 30%.  Similarly, Cindy O’Laughlin in Senate 18 won 70% of the vote.

And Mountainous GOP Senate Margins Elsewhere

Senate 6 (Mike Bernskoetter): 73.2% 

Senate 10 (Jeanie Riddle): 70.3%

Senate 12 (Dan Hegeman): 72.5%

Senate 20 (Eric Burlison): 73.9%

Senate 26 (Dave Schatz): 64%

Senate 28 (Sandy Crawford): 79.2%

Senate 32 (Bill White): 73.7%           

MOScout Daily Update: The Day After... Why Hawley Won? - What's Next for Roads? - "No" Counties - What Bradshaw Spent - New Leg Contact Info and more...

Jefferson County = All Red

Senate 22 wasn’t close in the end.  Incumbent Sen. Paul Wieland romped to a twenty-point win over Democrat Robert Butler (58% to 38%).  But that race was just one of many data points showing Republicans have fired up their hold on the once-battleground Jefferson County.

Josh Hawley beat Claire McCaskill in JeffCo 54% to 42%.  Dennis Gannon easily defeated Jeff Roorda for Jefferson County Executive 58% to 42%.  And Republicans re-took House 97 from Democrats as well as House 118 where Ben Harris is term-limited.

Maybe

The Dems high-water mark in JeffCo for the foreseeable future will have been Jason Kander’s 44% in 2016….

MOScout Daily Update: Election Day!

What To Watch For Tonight

·         Were Democrats able to use the President Donald Trump to energize their base and bring in new voters from the suburbs?  That’ll impact the turnout and outcome of the US Senate race, but also a shift in the state legislative seats.  The conventional wisdom now is that Republicans will pick up the last remaining exurban seats this cycle, but their hold on the suburbs will start to fray.  We’ll see…

·         If voters distinguish (as the MOScout poll suggests) between Amendment 2 medical marijuana and Amendment 3 medical marijuana, some think ballot position may have a lot to do with it.  The theory is that folks in favor of MMJ will vote yes when they first encounter it, then read a little closer with the second proposal and reject the higher tax.  If that happens give the props to Amendment 2 campaigners who gamed out that scenario months ago and hurried to turn in their signatures before the competing IP.

·         The biggest earthquake could be the passage of CLEAN Missouri which would overhaul the redistricting process, BUT there’ll be litigation from opponents if it passes, AND – as I wrote last week – Republicans are already plotting a possible counter proposal to substitute it.

MOScout Daily Update: The Day Before... Why Galloway Leads - Bond on Tax "Adjustment" - GovWatch's PAC Spreadsheet - Hawley "Doesn't Want it"? - Randles for Treas? and more...

Bond’s Closing Argument on Prop D: Adjustment

There are some nice nuances to Kit Bond’s pitch for Prop D.  Listen to it here.  First, he identifies himself as former governor, instead of former Senator.  One assumes that governors are more popular than senators – especially right now in the midst of the McCaskill-Hawley fight.

Second, he doesn’t talk about a tax increase.  Nope, he says it’s been 22 years since we “adjusted” the gas tax for inflation. 

Beautiful.

MOScout Weekender: Final Poll Shows Tied US Senate Race, Galloway Widening Lead, Prop D Surging - Wasson Resigns and more...

Q: The candidates in the General Election for United States Senate are the Republican Josh Hawley, the Democrat Claire McCaskill, the Libertarian Japheth Campbell, the Green Party candidate Jo Crain, and the Independent candidate Craig O’Dear. If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?

Josh Hawley: 47%

Claire McCaskill: 47%

Japheth Campbell: 1%

Jo Crain: 1%

Craig O’Dear: 1%

Undecided: 3%

MOScout Daily Update: Oct Revenues Down - LeVota Sues Sanders - Senate Bits - New IEs and more...

October Revenues Sink

State tax receipts continued to disappoint in October.  Net general revenues collections were 6.1% lower in October 2018 than they were in October 2017.  The main culprit again was individual income tax receipts which were 6.2% below the previous year’s figure.  This appears to be residual damage from the erroneous withholding tables were which corrected by the Department of Revenue last month.

Fiscal year to date, state revenues have declined 3.87%.

MOScout Daily Update: 5 Big Takeaways from $2M in IEs - How CLEAN Will Change JCity - Turnout Watch and more...

Largest IEs

Here are the largest independent expenditures (so far) in the state legislatives races.

$187,545 - House Republican Campaign Committee Inc opposing Adrian Plank (House 47).

$179,648 - House Republican Campaign Committee Inc opposing Maren Bell Jones (House 44).

$142,984 - Missouri Senate Campaign Committee opposing Martin Rucker II (Senate 34).

$101,596 - Middle Class Missouri PAC opposing Lincoln Hough (Senate 30).

$101,500 - Majority Forward supporting Martin Rucker II (Senate 34).

$101,400 - Lincoln PAC supporting Lincoln Hough (Senate 30).

$91,308 - Missouri Club for Growth Political Action Committee supporting Tony Luetkemeyer (Senate 34).

$82,249 - Missouri Senate Conservatives Fund opposing Martin Rucker II (Senate 34).

$75,000 - House Republican Campaign Committee opposing Matt Sain (House 14).

$74,030 - Missouri Senate Campaign Committee opposing Martin Rucker II (Senate 34).

MOScout Daily Update: Pro Tem, Schmo Tem - 8 Day Reports - Richard Touts Prop D and more...

Follow-Up on GOP Optimism: The Turn-Out Game

Republican optimism hinges on voter enthusiasm.  The MOScout polls on the US Senate race show both Josh Hawley and Claire McCaskill having consolidated their partisan voter base.  And while there’s some tug-of-war in the numbers among the non-partisan voters, election predictions are largely based on turn-out predictions at this point.  Who will show up to vote?

MOScout Daily Update: MOGOP Grows Optimistic - Marrs Passes - National Pols Coming and more...

Driving the Day: Kehoe Stumps SW MO for Prop D

Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe will zip through Southwest Missouri today pitching Prop D. It starts at noon…

What It Means

This is simply unprecedented.  Maybe never has Missouri seen a governor and lieutenant governor throw all their political capital behind a tax increase.  Either caution, or ambition, or both, have prevented such a full-throttled, unabashed effort to sell the idea to Missouri voters.  Pols have worried that such actions would result in being tagged as “big taxers” in their next campaign.  Parson and Kehoe are showing no such fear.

MOScout Weekender: New MOScout Poll Shows Hawley, Galloway Opening Leads

Who Won the Week?

Mike Parson – As he continues to make his sales pitch for Prop D, the authenticity factor works in his favor.  Folks can tell it not about politics; he believes in the policy.

Josh Hawley – Appears to be opening a lead in the latest MOScout Poll.  Republicans have complained over the past year about a sometimes lackluster campaign from Hawley, but he might be peaking at just the right time….

Nicole Galloway – Separating her race from the US Senate race, Galloway has taken a ten-point lead.  Time to start reviewing demographer resumes?...

Elijah Haahr – Receives accolades for the first big decision of his speakership, choosing Dana Rademan Miller as the next House Clerk in a deliberate process with bi-partisan support.

MOScout Daily Update: Haahr's First Decision - Richardson's Big Question - JeffCo Not Locked Down? - CLEAN Vulnerable? and more...

Haahr’s First Decision

One insider looks at Speaker-Designate Elijah Haahr’s first decision – the installation of Dana Rademan Miller as new House Clerk – and sees good omens for the type of leadership he’ll bring to the speaker’s office.  Among the hallmarks…

·         A deliberate process.

·         The absence of cronyism.

·         The inclusion of the minority party to build consensus.

·         Settling on a well-qualified candidate.

·         Smooth roll-out.

MOScout Daily Update: The Talk.... No Lags in 2020, Auditor's Race Tied to Senate, Corlew Vulnerable and more...

Follow-Up on MOScout Forecast

MOScout readers have no shortage of opinions.  I love it.  I gobble up the feedback.  I’m going to try to be better in the coming year of actually replying.

In this case, I was surprised to hear two repetitive comments about my forecast – coming from a variety of folks across the spectrum.

First, the +3 Dems forecast in the House, and break-even in Senate are baked into the conventional wisdom.  Some folks think it may be a seat or two higher or lower in the House, and some folks think Dems might get a seat in the Senate.  But no one is pounding the table that Dems will end up with a +8 night in the House.  There is no expectation of a wave night, hurtling unsuspecting incumbents out of Jeff City….

MOScout Daily Update: MOScout Final Forecast - $$$ into GOP Sen Campaign Committee - Cody Smith Hits $100K in Giving and more...

GOP’s State Senate Campaign Committee Loads Up

A bunch of checks came into the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee yesterday. Nearly $200K, plus another $100K into a friendly PAC, Missouri Senate Conservatives Fund from Herzog Contracting Corp.

An insider tells me that there will be more checks in the coming days.  Republicans are reloading for the final round.  And they doubt that Dems will show similar strength, giving them the closing edge in the potentially close races of Senate 22 and Senate 34.

Dems and GOP both spent heavily earlier in the year in the battle over Senate 17 (Silvey retiring; Arthur won) which Dems flipped.  But the cost is that Dems – as the minority party – have had a harder time rebuilding their war-chest.  And their candidates have generally displayed lackluster fundraising.  The result has been an asymmetry of resources which is one reason why Dems won’t get any new Senate seats in two weeks in Missouri.

MOScout Daily Update: Haahr Takes Over - New Ads - O'Dear Get Monetti and more...

New Ads

In Senate 34, Democrat Martin Rucker recalls his days playing football, touches on an ethcs complaint against Tony Luetkemeyer, and finishes with the tagline “I’m fighting for change because our families deserve someone who will always have their backs.”  See it here.

 

And Prop D is out with their latest commercial.  They hitting the inflation angle on this one, saying that MODoT has 60% less buying power over the last 22 years as the gas tax has stayed stagnant while prices have risen. See it here