Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Today’s Big Rumor: Kraus to Trump Administration

The rumor making the rounds yesterday is that Sen. Will Kraus will be receiving an appointment to President Donald Trump’s administration.  It’s thought that it would have something to do with Veteran Affairs.

This rumor made the rounds a few months ago, but now it’s back – and folks are talking about it confidently – and saying it could have very soon.

Kraus is term limited, but his resignation could expedite the scramble to see who replaces him.

If the rumor is true and an appointment is imminent, one theory is that Governor Eric Greitens would immediately call a special election for the vacancy.  That special election would be November.

Choosing the Republican nominee for a special election would fall to the committeepeople in that legislative district.  One Republican who’s been watching this unfold says that Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot was working on this scenario months ago, and has a very strong position with the committeemen and women.

The Next Domino

Clearly I’m projecting a lot on the basis of a rumor, but….

If Kraus gets the appointment, Greitens calls a quick special election, and Cierpiot wins that special, then the House will have to decide if they want to let Assistant Floor Leader Kevin Austin handle the duties of floor leader for the next legislative session, or if they want to push up the Floor Leader race.  Austin is trusted by the caucus so that might be the path of least resistance.  Otherwise look for some furious campaigning between Reps. Kirk Mathews, Rocky Miller and Rob Vescovo as the timeline of their floor leader race gets crunched.


Deal or No Deal?

Sen. Andrew Koenig moved to bring the House Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 5 to the floor yesterday as the Senate reconvened to finish the governor’s second special session.

Democrats denounced the move and Sen. Scott Sifton offered a substitute amendment to ask the House to recede from their position and accept the Senate position.

Democrats said that to take up the House version, as Koenig moved, was a betrayal of a deal they had struck with the Senate Republican leadership.

The Republican answer boiled down to “things change.”

More than PQs, or the governor’s non-profit giving out personal cell phone numbers, this decision could have the most detrimental impact on next session.  If folks don’t keep their end of a bargain when a deal is struck, the legislative process will stop working.

After debate, Koenig withdrew his underlying motion.

The Senate convenes today at Noon.



What’s Hawley Waiting On?

Eli Yokley tweets that Josh Hawley’s hesitation in formally declaring himself a candidate for US Senate is emboldening others to test the waters and could result in a crowded Republican primary.  See it here.

Could Hawley be getting cold feet because he’s concerned about the political environment he’d be facing in 2018?  Yesterday’s Gallup poll has Trump job performance in Missouri falling below 50%.  It’s now 49% approve versus 46% disapprove.  See it here.  The first six months of a presidency is usually their “honeymoon” period after which their popularity fades.

It must give Hawley and Treasurer Eric Schmitt pause knowing they could be attaching their wagon to a president whose numbers could be underwater six months from now.


Sweeney: No CDFY $$$ Against MJ IP

Dr. Joy Sweeney writes in to clarify the Council for Drug Free Youth “is not the organization challenging the [marijuana initiative petitions], that would be KMKS (Keeping Missouri Kids Safe) which is a statewide coalition not affiliated with CDFY.”


Rumorville: Arthur to Ante Up

Word is that Caleb Arthur in Senate 30 will be putting in a six-figure down payment into his campaign.  This puts some pressure on his opponent Rep. Kevin Austin to rev up his fundraising effort.  Austin’s July Quarterly Report showed on $5,169.  Just like Cindy O’Laughlin in Senate 18, Arthur’s money together with an “outsider” message, could prove a powerful combination.


One MOScout tipster sent me a link to a 2016 contribution from Arthur to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersSee it here.  That may take some explaining in a Republican primary….


Farm Bureau Staffing Changes

Press release: Several staff changes will occur at Missouri Farm Bureau (MFB) in the next few days and weeks in its public affairs and legislative departments. After 31 years with MFB, Estil Fretwell, Director of Public Affairs, will retire in September… Eric Bohl will assume the position of Director of Public Affairs upon Fretwell’s retirement… Spencer Tuma will become the Director of National Legislative Affairs beginning August 1.  She is currently a Field Representative for Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler… Jill Fansler, legislative specialist, has accepted new responsibilities which include becoming Director of the Missouri Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.


Help Wanted

Rep. Donna Baringer seeks Intern.  “Internship Opportunity in the 82nd district (Southwest St. Louis city) with the State Representative. Tasks may include (but are not limited to) attending special events, researching legislation, assisting with social media. Hours are flexible to accommodate students' schedule. Could lead to paid position during 2018 legislative session…”


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Rep. Sandy Crawford Reception – Metropolitan Grill – Springfield – 5:30PM


Lobbyists Registrations

Jewell Patek added BASF Corporation; and deleted Sprint Nextel, and Carbon Cycle Energy LLC.

Kerry Messer deleted Families for Home Education.


$5K+ Contributions

SMARTKC - $5,600 from Citizens for Responsible Government.

House Republican Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Fitzpatrick for House.

House Republican Campaign Committee - $10,000 from RSLC-Missouri PAC.

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America Political Account - $10,000 from American Family Mutual Insurance Co.



Happy birthdays to Jay Atkins, and St. Louis Alderwoman Megan-Ellyia Green.