Friday, September 29, 2017

Q&A #1:  What’s the Deal with Courtland Sykes?

Short Answer: I Have No Idea.

Yesterday I posted a link to Courtland Sykes video announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate.  See the over-the-top ridiculousness here.

But now comes word that Steve Bannon has been making calls to Missouri Republican donors talking down Attorney General Josh Hawley calling him “establishment,” and talking up Sykes.

The New York Times reports that Bannon has taken an interest in the race. (“Ed Martin, a former chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, said Mr. Bannon had also inquired about the state’s Senate race, in which the Republican establishment has rallied around Josh Hawley…”)

The suggestion that Hawley, only nine months into his first ever elected office, is now establishment infuriates his supporters.  But one wonders if Bannon’s Hawley/Sykes drama isn’t part of an attempt to simply pee in the sandbox of his recent special election rival….

Bannon Contra Roe?

CNN reports that Bannon is “trying to blackball” Jeff RoeSee it here.

Pull Quote: Fresh off his insurgent candidate's big win in Alabama, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is making clear he is seeking retribution against fellow Republican campaign operatives who work against him… Bannon is beginning that effort by trying to blackball GOP campaign strategist Jeff Roe, who worked for Sen. Luther Strange, who lost Tuesday's primary to Roy Moore. Bannon is spreading the word that he believes Roe is responsible for dirty tactics against Moore, and alleging that Roe worked with President Donald Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner to mislead Trump about the state of the race in Alabama in and around Trump's endorsement of Strange… Contacted by CNN, Roe declined to comment on Bannon's threats, but did note that his political consulting firm, Axiom, is already working for a large number of candidates on the ballot in 2018 -- more than 50.

 

Q&A #2: Is Turk-phobia Legit?

Short Answer: Yes.

I blurbed an article from KCStar’s Jason Hancock talking about the fear Republicans have of Jacob Turk’s Independence candidacy in the upcoming special election in Senate 8. (Re-read it here.)

I made a few inquiries around to Republicans yesterday and Hancock accurately described their concern.

Turk is a legit problem...significant name ID with a group of committed followers… His email list is well-cultivated, and he has regular meetings with his supporters between elections. And they will pound doors and make calls.  

 

It's a real race for certain. I think Mike Cierpiot pulls it out but these special elections are tricky. One could argue that the D base, what little there is, will show up to vote with the opportunity to steal a senate seat. The Turk army, with their cult like infatuation for him, will certainly show up to vote for their guy. Cierpiot has to fire up his traditional GOP base of party regulars and the business community so they show up to vote for him.

 

The key here is the unknown: turn-out.  As the second quote says: special elections are tricky.  The conventional wisdom is that “establishment” candidate with the traditional campaign apparatus has an advantage because their GOTV machine can pull voters to the polls on Election Day.  But one political player I spoke to yesterday was musing about the current environment as much different than usual.  The Trump Age has many more people actively following politics – whether vehemently pro-Trump or vehemently anti-Trump – and could produce much higher turn-outs in these usually sleepy elections.  Those two groups aren’t necessarily Cierpiot voters, by the way.  One imagines the hotly pro-Trump folks will be Turk-ites, while the hotly anti-Trump folks will be Dems.

 

End of Quarter…

The fundraising quarter ends this weekend.  We’re so early in the cycle, the stakes are lower than usual.  But…. here’s are the folks to be watching.

Auditor: Did David Wasinger do any fundraising because write himself a $500K check?  Does incumbent Nicole Galloway continue to stock-pile cash for November?

St. Louis County Executive: Can Steve Stenger’s challenger, Mark Mantovani, put up a substantial number with a broader base of supporters than last time?  If not, his buzz will start to fizzle.

Senate 18: Inside the building Cindy O’Laughlin is considered the front-runner to succeed Sen. Brian Munzlinger.  That’s strange since there are three state representatives in the mix (Reps. Craig Redmon, Lindell Shumake and Nate Walker).  If one of them can show a big number they might be able to break away and become the chief rival O’Laughlin.

Senate 34: Rep. Nick Marshall starts this race in the pole position with the highest name ID, but at some point he needs to show he can fundraise or he’ll get rolled.

 

State Bids Out Security Guard Services

The state is bidding out its security guard services contracts.  From the RFP: The security guard services series of contracts had approximately $268,000.00 in spend during Fiscal Year 2015, approximately $1,430,000.00 in spend during Fiscal Year 2016, and approximately $1,379,000.00 Fiscal Year 2017. The current contracts for security guard services expire March 31, 2018…. The contractor shall provide unarmed and armed security guard services (hereinafter referred to as security guard services) for any requesting state agency of the State of Missouri (hereinafter referred to as the state agency), in accordance with the provisions and requirements stated herein, in accordance with the instructions provided by the state agency, and in a manner that is satisfactory and acceptable to the state agency…

It looks like the current providers are: Guardian Security Company, Guardsman Security & Investigation Inc., Homeland Security Protective Service, and Twin City Security, Inc.

 

Revenues Follow-Up

There may be a few anomalies for why revenues are looking so dismal this month.  One is that a tax filing deadline took place earlier than usual helping the number August number at the expense of this month’s numbers.   Another is that the Department of Revenue is switching computer systems, so they are processing sales tax payments at a slower-than-normal pace.

It’s unclear to me how much of an impact these two factors have been and how much is general weakness in the revenue numbers.  Hopefully, we’ll get some clarity when OA releases the monthly revenue numbers next week.

 

Etheridge for MMJ

Melissa Etheridge is helping fundraise for New Approach. She’s agreed to play a fundraising concert next year. From her email…

> Subject: Medical Cannabis and Me

>

> Because I am a musician, people often assume that I must indulge in the fast-paced

life that often comes with playing on the road. But they would be wrong. Coming up

in the business in the 1980's, I saw plenty of drugs, but it never really appealed

to me. I'm not even much of a drinker.

>

> But when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, I found that there was one substance

that helped me through: Cannabis…

 

Bits

The Twenty-Second Circuit Judicial Commission announced the panel of three nominees for the circuit judge vacancy in St. Louis city created by the retirement of Judge Philip D. Heagney. Those nominated by the commission are: Judge Timothy J. Boyer, Judge Nicole Colbert-Botchway, and Clinton Wright.

 

Word is… Rex Sinquefield hosted George P. Bush at his house this week.  Who is P?  He’s the son of Jeb’s and the Texas land commissioner.  I imagine he’s happy doing that will probably never run for any other higher office….

 

eMailbag: Pro Tem Race

The pro-tem’s race harkens back to the Senate Floor Leader race in 2008. Romine and Onder are essentially Rupp and Nodler. Schatz is positioned like Engler was. If Schatz gets past the first ballot, he will be pro-tem. If that doesn’t happen, the caucus could have a stark choice between Romine and Onder.

Because this is the pro-tem race, Democrats get to vote on the floor so it will be interesting to see if Romine doesn’t come out of the caucus with the position, if he and his supporters would seek Democratic votes. There was not the appetite to do that in the Engler-Mayer race, but this is a completely different Senate.

 

eMailbag on Martin

Isn’t Ed Martin born and raised in New Jersey (the Swamp)? Educated in Massachusetts?... He is a piece of work.

 

New Committees

Citizens For A Safer St. Louis was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is Clare Gates.

 

Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Reps. Kevin Engler, Elaine Gannon & Mike Henderson Golf – St. Francis Country Club – Farmington.

Saturday

Rep. Bryan Spencer Turkey Shoot – VFW, Hwy. Z – Wentzville – 1PM.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Republican Leadership PAC - $30,000 from Health Systems Inc.

House Republican Campaign Committee - $15,000 from Ameren Missouri.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Brad Jones, Erin Brower, and Rich Magee.

Saturday: Rep. Dave Muntzel and Chris Benjamin.

Sunday: Sen. Sandy Crawford, Tom Irwin, Matt Potter, Steve Kraske, Kristy Manning, and Andy Arnold.