Yesterday Speaker Todd Richardson announced he wouldn’t be running for auditor after all. Richardson told supporters that his heart isn’t in the race, and he would prefer to focus on his final legislative session.
This is a big shock for Republicans. Richardson had frozen out the field and is sitting on a $294,248 campaign account.
One Republican operative told me that Dems should be “very happy” with this announcement. Dems are happy. Richardson is a sharp politician with few negatives. And – more importantly – without Richardson, it looks like Republicans will have a primary.
No one was quick to assert themselves as candidates. Still the two most mentioned names… Rep. Paul Curtman who could pivot from his long-shot U.S. Senate campaign, and Sen. Mike Kehoe, the Senate Majority Floor Leader.
However there are a bunch of scenarios being floated…. Other names: Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, the respected House Budget Chair; David Wasinger, whose name seems to get mentioned in every cycle; Rep. Marsha Haefner (see Curtman above); Sen. Bob Dixon who flirted with a gubernatorial campaign briefly; and Sen. Bob Onder who has ambitions beyond the state senate. One person even threw out a dark horse: Tony Luetkemeyer. It’s an intriguing suggestion. His last name might boast his name ID, he has no voting record, showed good fundraising skills in his one quarter since announcing for Senate 34, and, perhaps most important… would put an ally of the governor in the auditor’s office.
Although Kehoe would be considered the front-runner of these names based on his fundraising capacity, some folks think Kehoe is a flawed candidate based on his support for a transportation tax. Missouri Republican primary voters are a staunch no-new-taxes bunch. It could be a real problem for Kehoe in a hot primary.
And… Wait For It…
Here’s the name I really didn’t expect to hear…. Former Sen. Kurt Schaefer. One source says he’s going to take a look at it. Schaefer brings the experience of running (and raising money) for a statewide office before. Plus the fantasy novelist in me would love to see Schaefer and Josh Hawley running together at the top of the GOP ticket.
What It Means
This development is a net positive for Dems, but despite every wiggle along the way that politicos teeter and titter at… the auditor’s race will largely follow in the wake of the monster U.S. Senate race. As goes Claire McCaskill next year, so goes Nicole Galloway.
Richardson Passing, Not Exiting
For those thinking a few moves ahead… One scenario is that Richardson spends his final year in Jefferson City as a good loyal soldier, helping Governor Eric Greitens push through his agenda. And… if Hawley becomes a U.S. Senator, Richardson is at the top of the list when Greitens appoints a new attorney general.
Crowell To MHDC
Governor Eric Greitens said he was appointing former Sen. Jason Crowell to the Missouri Housing Development Commission. It’s an influential board responsible for approving tax credits – of which Crowell was vocally critical during his time in office. Crowell was also on the governor’s tax credit commission which recommended ending the low-income housing tax credit and replacing it with a loan program.
As a senator, Crowell became an expert in the Senate rules and then unabashedly weaponized them in the service of his political agenda. Will he do the same on the commission?
Scooplette: Arnold to MO Chamber
The Missouri Chamber has hired Justin Arnold as their new general counsel. Arnold was previously with Maune, Raichle, Hartley, French, & Mudd, LLC in St. Louis.
Today: Parson Presser
The lieutenant governor’s office traditionally advocates for seniors’ issues. According to the press advisory LG Mike Parson will do that this morning when he holds a press conference (11AM) “to urge the Missouri Legislature to call themselves into special session to find an alternative funding source to restore the cuts made to Missouri seniors and veterans.” The release says that the “Lieutenant Governor will also ask the Missouri Senate to call themselves into special session concerning Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal and not to impede the process of having disciplinary action taken against her….”
Governing Magazine says there are 3,524 Dreamers who registered with the DACA program. See it here.
The St. Louis Business Journal reports that the CATO Institute estimates that deporting the Dreamers “in Missouri, the budget cost would be $126 million, and the economic cost would be $451.5 million, for a total cost of $577 million” from 2018 to 2028. See it here.
And Senator Claire McCaskill is fundraising off the issue… “I want to be very clear about what President Trump's decision to get rid of DACA really means: It means 800,000 young Americans who were brought to this country through no fault of their own would be kicked out of the only home many of them have ever known. We would lose nearly a million students, workers and servicewomen and men who contribute to our country in so many ways….”
The St. Louis American reports that St. Louis social justice shock jock Lizz Brown has died. See the article here.
Pull Quote: She was a passionate defender of the rights of the oppressed and forgotten. As an activist and organizer in St. Louis, Brown led thousands of students to engage in the only successful shutdown/occupation of the Mayor’s Office, an occupation that led to a student-negotiated settlement.
Growth and Investment For Missouri PAC was formed. Its treasurer is Mark Milton.
From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:
Rep. Shamed Dogan Reception – MAC West, 1777 Des Peres Rd. – Town & Country- 5:30PM.
Hillary Shields (Dem candidate in Senate 8 special) Campaign Kick Off BBQ - 513 SE Miller St, Lee's Summit – 5:30PM.
Zach Brunnert and Richard McIntosh added Southern Food Systems.
Tom Dempsey added First Rule Media, and Grow Missouri.
Cheryl Dozier added 4me4we LLC.
Cynthia Gamble and Kathryn Gamble added Maxim Healthcare Services Inc.
Bridget Sharpe deleted Professional Beauty Association.
Happy birthdays to former Reps. Sheila Solon and Kathlyn Fares.
To Alex Eaton and his wife Katie, who welcomed baby Fitzgerald “Fitz" Thomas Eaton weighing 7lbs 7oz. A Catalyst tipster says that Fitz has a great head of hair like his dad.