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

AG Appt Talk

As Governor Mike Parson considers who should take the Attorney General job with incumbent Josh Hawley heading to DC, three names are in the mix:

·         State Treasurer Eric Schmitt, who was just elected to his job two years ago.

·         Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, also a first-time statewide officeholder elected in 2016.

·         Former two-term State Senator Kurt Schaefer, who lost to Hawley in the GOP AG primary two years ago.


I have heard – rumor talk, of course – that it’s down to Schmitt and Ashcroft at this point with a decision coming sooner rather than later.

However, there’s a case for Schaefer: experience.  Says one MOScouter: “He is the only one of the three who has personally argued scores of appellate cases and the only admitted to practice at the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, both federal court districts in Missouri as well as state courts at all levels. He served in the well-managed AG tenure of Jay Nixon. At 53, he has the maturity edge.”

But, another source, thinks “the smart money is on Schmitt. He’s earned it. And he presents the biggest primary threat to Parson. The governor should give him what he wants in exchange for Eric being his campaign chairman.”

Meanwhile, there’s not a whole lot of buzz around Ashcroft.  His official Secretary of State’s biography talks as much about Ashcroft’s engineering background as it does his qualifications as a lawyer. Still having a famous Missouri political name – and that of a former U.S. and state AG to boot – doesn’t hurt.

Finally, from a former lawmaker: “[Parson] needs to understand he can take his time on this one and he really should. This appointment is putting an imprint on a critical office that has not been well managed by Hawley because Josh had no clue, experience or inclination to manage it. If Mike appoints another statewide official, the upside is getting what we call a ‘two-fer,’ where he gets two appointments in filling that vacancy as well. The risk is, that sets up nearly the entire Republican 2020 ticket with statewide incumbents who weren’t elected to their jobs…”


And Domino Talk

If Schmitt does end up succeeding Hawley as AG, there’s the question of filling the treasurer’s spot.  I heard over a new name: Sen. Bob Onder

“Onder is smart, ambitious and can do the job but he’s also a GOP team player who feels slighted. Right now he has $300K in the bank with the ability to raise and give himself more. And after his close loss for Pro Tem he has nothing to do but organize conservative opposition to the moderates on the second floor. Appointing him Treasurer makes him an ally and gives a nod to conservatives…”


Victory for Victory?

How did Sen. Dave Schatz manage his come-from-behind Pro Tem victory?  One MOScouter says he got a boost from Victory Enterprises.  It’s not that they were twisting arms, the source says.  But they did what they could to help Schatz corral votes, and when their other clients asked them about the leadership race, they vouched for Schatz as a good guy who could handle the job.

Regardless, following last week’s leadership elections Victory Enterprises legislative reach cannot be understated. Having represented numerous House leaders (including Speaker Elijah Haahr) and members dating back to Dave Hageman leading HRCC in 2004/2006, they’ve now helped land one their clients in the top spot in the Senate.


One More Look At Missouri Vote Totals

Josh Hawley - 1,249,854       

Claire McCaskill - 1,103,461


Saundra McDowell - 1,063,775

Nicole Galloway - 1,199,346

Republican Congressional candidates - 1,322,891

Democratic Congressional candidates - 1,017,964


Republican Senate candidates – 710,940

Democratic Senate candidates – 494,965


Republican House candidates – 1,252,958

Democratic House candidates – 999,426


And CLEAN Math

CLEAN Missouri’s redistricting process will have a non-partisan demographer attempt to draw state legislative districts that have “partisan fairness” and competitiveness.  CLEAN aims to achieve partisan fairness by having the legislative districts reflect the statewide vote total from previous elections.  However, the Dems’ auditor victory won’t be in that calculation.  It’s only from the presidential, gubernatorial and US Senate races of the previous three elections.

Still, even Claire McCaskill’s 45% showing would translate into 73 House seats for Dems and 15 Senate seats.  Quite an improvement for Democrats.


And… JeffCO Gone for Dems

Not to beat a dead horse here, but JeffCo is gone for Dems.  Even with a no-money, flawed candidate, Republicans still won the auditor’s race in Jefferson County.   It seems there’s no way for Democrats to win there anymore.

Saundra McDowell     Republican      42,708 48.186%

Nicole Galloway         Democratic      39,861 44.974%


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.


Gumbel Hearts Rex

Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports on HBO has a profile of Rex Sinquefield and his obsession with chess (see it here).

There’s no mention – not a peep – about Sinquefield’s politics.  But we hear about his mother dropping him off at the orphanage in July of 1952, being raised by “tough German nuns,” how he first saw chess in the movies and was immediately smitten. He coos there’s “something amazingly beautiful about [chess], the combinations that you produce, the checkmates, the whole logic of everything is so compelling it makes the whole thing very addictive…”

Sinquefield plays – and studies – chess every day, and has about 20 games going on the internet at any time.

And he’s spent a tont of money to make St. Louis a chess Mecca.  How much money?  He doesn’t say but the implication is that it’s been as much as $30-50 million.

Where’s it gone?  Besides constructing the St. Louis Chess Club, the Chess Hall of Fame, and spending money as a patron to grandmasters, he has created broadcast quality feeds (think Monday Night Football for chess) of his chess tournaments beamed via satellite to over 200 countries.  “You got instant replay for chess, think about that…”

The result: one-quarter of all America’s grandmasters now live in St. Louis.

The segment ends with Gumbel saying, “I like this guy Rex.”


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Happy birthday to Kailey Burger.