Q&A #1: Is Safe Schupp a Problem for Republicans?
Short answer: Yes. Now and in 2020.
Sen. Jill Schupp’s re-election campaign appears to be running as a smoothly as possible.
A MOScout poll (see it here) at the beginning of the summer showed Schupp besting possible Republicans opponents. In fact, despite the early barrage of Republican names being floated , none of them have materialized into an actual campaign – or even exploratory committee. Meanwhile Schupp has continued to record solid fundraising numbers quarter after quarter. And the political environment for Republicans – especially in this suburban swing districts – has deteriorated.
The New York Times describes the suburbs to be “in revolt,” attributing it to President Donald Trump’s increasing unpopularity. And MOScout base-line polls across state senate races this year illuminated Trump’s polarizing impact – helping Republicans in rural areas, but hurting them in suburban districts.
A safe Schupp re-election is very good news for Democrats. It will eliminate their only “defense” Senate race, allowing them to focus on making some magic somewhere else on the map and maybe picking up a seat.
Schupp, herself, will be able to use her substantial war-chest to help out other Democrats around the state.
And – she becomes an attractive 2020 statewide candidate for Dems… suburban mom resume with unquestionable work ethic, strong fundraiser, and a policy wonk as the kicker. Schupp’s the whole package.
Q&A #2: Is House Floor Leader Race De Facto Speaker-Elect (2021) Race?
Short answer: I just don’t know.
Answers are easy when everyone says the same thing. That didn’t happen. I got everything from “absolutely” to “no” with shades of disagreement in between.
The House has tended to have more orderly transitions in leadership than the Senate. In the Senate you see deals cut in the days before a leadership vote that change the outcome. In the House, however, things get telegraphed years in advance. Folks get on the leadership track in their first years and slowly ascend. The signals are sent through fundraising prowess, and legislative assignments.
In this respect winner of the floor leader race will be ideally positioned to become speaker in January of 2021.
But I am cautioned. It is possible that the next speaker pro tem will be a challenger for the winner of this race.
Additionally, Rep. Rob Vescovo is said to open to the idea of being a four-year floor leader.
So yes, the floor leader will be in the rarified class of folks with a claim to follow Speaker-elect Elijah Haahr as speaker, but it’s not a de facto election.
Greitens Appoints Driskill Replacement
Governor Eric Greitens appointed Marvin Jungmeyer to the State Board of Education. Jungmeyer takes the place of Joe Driskill who resigned late last week. Greitens has now appointed a majority to the board. And the expectations are that one of the first actions of the new majority will be to force the resignation of the current Missouri Education Commissioner, Margie Vandeven.
Greitens is said to want “his own person” in that role.
Another Drip on Vet Home Scandal
Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger keeps banging on the St. Louis Veterans Home scandal. Messenger is going to continue to find and print these stories until he sees action on the issue. See the latest column here.
Reeves was born in St. Louis. His family moved to Arkansas when he was 7. He joined the Army at 17, was later diagnosed with mental illness, and has been battling it most of his life. In October, Reeves signed out from the veterans home, saying he was going to see a friend. His social worker, Troy Rooks, was out of the office when Reeves left the facility… When the social worker got into work on Monday, he was flabbergasted. He had an email saying Reeves had been discharged from the home. He no longer lived there.
“There was no discharge care plan. No mention of where he would go,” Rooks says. “We didn't know if he had food, clothing or water. We cannot discharge a disabled, mentally ill veteran like that.”
Rooks says he met with the administrator of the home, Rolando Carter, who told him Reeves had requested and been granted a discharge from the home. Rooks knew Reeves was in no condition to make such a decision. The Missouri Veterans Home regulations call for a 30-day notice before such a discharge, consultation with medical staff and the social worker, details on where they will be transferred and multiple levels of review… He was shocked that Carter would discharge him from the facility without so much as a discussion with his medical team or a clue about where he would end up.
Rooks says he begged Carter to change his mind, but that he wouldn't. So the social worker went back to his office and documented the meeting and entered it into the medical records of the veterans home… The next day, Rooks was called into Carter's office and told to change the documentation he entered into the computer system. He refused. Eventually, Carter gave him the keys to the facility's van and told him to go pick up Reeves.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed calls for the resignation of head of the Veterans Commission… “Supporting our veterans isn't about wrapping oneself in the flag. It's about ensuring the men and women who've sacrificed for us receive the care they've earned. This Veterans Day, how can we say that we’re honoring veterans when so many are suffering right in front of us? Please, join me in calling on Governor Greitens to ask for the resignation of Larry Kay, head of the Veterans Commission…”
I imagine we’ll see more of this in the future.
KRCG reports that Jason Lamb, “executive director of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys has entered the race for a circuit judge… [he] will seek the Republican nomination for Circuit Judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit, comprised of Audrain, Montgomery and Warren counties, according to a release. Lamb formerly served as the Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney.” See it here.
Jolie Justus formally announced her intention to run for KC mayor. See it here.
eMailbag on MATA Influence
There are 30,000 lawyers that can vote. MATA has 1,300 members. Amazing if they control things…
eMailbag on Zahnd Case
Without commenting on whether, and how much much, discipline the MO Supreme Court should impose on Mr. Zahnd, it is refreshing that the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel has had the guts to bring such a case. Criminal defendants who face over-zealous prosecutors generally are barred from suing them, so they are usually without recourse when an avenging angel, in the person of an elected prosecutor, crosses the ethical line. Such zealots often disregard the professional norm that the prosecutors’ goal is not to win, but to see that justice is done.
Peggy McGaugh formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Peggy McGaugh) to run for House 39 as a Republican. Peggy is the mom of Joe Don McGaugh who just resigned the seat to take an appointment.
Raleigh Ritter formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Raleigh Ritter) to run for House 160 as a Republican. The current incumbent, Rep. Bill Reiboldt, is term-limited.
Jay Hahn added Missouri State University, and Missouri American Water; and deleted Missouri Foundation for Equity in Higher Education.
Michael Kelley deleted Kiel Center Partners LP.
Connect KC - $10,000 from Kansas City Live LLC.
PT-PAC - $10,000 from American Economic Renewal.
STL Citizens for Responsible Government - $10,000 from Anheuser Busch Companies.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Ash Grove Cement Company.
Happy birthdays to Chris Schappe.
Saturday: Former Reps. Dwight Scharnhorst (the big 7-0), Tom Shively and Terry Young.
Sunday: Matt Hill.