Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Q&A #1: Who’ll Be Running the Show?

House Floor Leader

The early line had Rep. Rob Vescovo ahead of Rep. Kirk Mathews.  The most often repeated comment I hear from folks was how Vescovo is “out-working” Mathews.  He was all over the state, at every event, constantly working it.  Now though comes the counter-movement.  No one disputes Vescovo outworking Mathews, but has he worked smart?  One plugged in observer thinks Vescovo’s over-worked it, creating a mini-backlash.  He’d put the race at 50-50 right now.  Mostly because Mathews has started working in earnest recently and he has one very strong asset: no one says a bad word about him. He’s well-liked across the board.

As one lobbyist writes… Proof of a good guy: Kirk Mathews. 1) shares Chesterfield fundraiser with Mike Cierpoit, 2) serenades his wife with James Taylor's "How Sweet It Is to be love d by you" at event accompanied by Mike Michaelson, 3) sends out handwritten thank you notes to each donor within the week.

What It Means: With the usual House line of succession, the winner of this floor leader race will become heir apparent to be Speaker January 2021. 

 

Senate Pro Tem race

We now have a spirited three-way race between Sens. Bon Onder, Gary Romine and Dave Schatz.

Folks I’ve spoken to think that Onder is wounded by his association with the current leadership of Ron Richard and Mike Kehoe.  One chuckled, “Right now I think Romine has more votes than Onder.”  Another put Schatz in the front-runner position due to Onder’s “baggage,” explaining that folks will be naturally inclined to seek a change in leadership after the Ron Richard years.

Romine will start with the coalition I refer to as the “rebels” but most think it’ll be hard for him to add enough votes to get to a majority of the caucus.

And Schatz is coming up to fill the void left by these two candidates.

My own early spreadsheet, guessing how votes will fall, has Onder in the lead.  But from my conversation with others, I am in the minority believing this.

It’s early in this race, and we have a big wildcard which will be played next summer… the August primary determining who will replace the termed senators (Sens. Dan Brown, Bob Dixon, Kehoe, Richard, Rob Schaaf, and Jay Wasson), and how they will vote.

Senate Floor Leader

We’re traveling deep into the woods of speculation here.  That’s because it’s possibly you get a deal among the three candidates for Pro Tem.  (I’m making this up, but something like Romine throws his support one direction for mutual support for Floor Leader giving the “rebels” a powerful position).

But here are three names being mentioned: Sens. Bill Eigel, Denny Hoskins, and Caleb Rowden.  None of these folks are “running” for floor leader, but they each seem to be positioned to do so if things jiggle the right way.  They are all aware of the opportunity.

Note: We’re talking about three senators who were just elected to the Senate last year.

 

More SBOE Appt Bumps Ahead?

Governor Eric Greitens' quest to stack the State Board of Education with the aim of ousting DESE commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven may be a bit more arduous than he hoped.

His relationship with the Senate has been rocky at times, and one of his appointees is in the district of Sen. Jason Holsman.  By tradition, the Senate doesn’t advance gubernatorial appointments without the permission of the senator from which the appointee hails.  We’ll see if Team Greitens faces more SBOE set-backs when the Senate reconvenes in January, or if he uses this as an opportunity to mend fences.

 

Mouton Fined

Paul Mouton, often described as David Humphreys’ man in the capitol, pled guilty to a Missouri Ethic violation of failing to register as a lobbyist while lobbying for the passage of “right to work” and tort reform legislation during the years of 2016 and 2017.  Mouton was fined $2,000. See it here.

 

FWIW: Revenues Limping Along

I mostly do not report on the daily revenue flows into the state coffers because they can be so volatile that it’s easy to get whipsawed from day to day between “good” and “bad” numbers.  But with a week left in September, the numbers aren’t looking pretty.  Sales tax collections are very weak and individual income tax is flat to slightly negative.  Unless we see a reversal in the final week, September will go down as grim month, and bring pessimism to forecasters.

 

Ameren Follow-Up: PQ Threat Impact Next Session?

I wrote yesterday about Ameren’s new renewable investments plan.  Ameren has sought changes in the regulatory process, but has been stymied in the Senate – mainly by Sens. Doug Libla and Gary Romine.

One observer thinks I failed to mention one more advantage that Ameren has in the session ahead: the threat of a PQ.  This person says the parliamentarian maneuver could gain the support of 18 senators if there’s the sense that Libla and Romine aren’t open to good faith negotiations.

We’ll see…

 

Bits

Rep. Joe Adams declared himself a candidate for Senate 14 (Chappelle-Nadal termed).  See his announcement video here.

 

Luther Strange lost in Alabama.  Jeff Roe was Strange’s “top consultant.”

 

Bombardier, the Canadian firm that was once the subject of furious tax credit debate in the Missouri Senate, back in the news.  See it here.

 

Help Wanted

City of St. Louis seeks Director of Information Technology.  “The Director of Information Technology is a Cabinet level, term-appointed position reporting to the Mayor (Ordinance 65768). This position calls for a strategic thinker, problem solver, and collaborative leader who works closely with other City and County Offices. The Director of Information Technology is tasked with ensuring continuity while leading the organization in modernizing existing IT systems into an operation that provides secure, high quality, easy-to-use digital experiences for city employees and residents. The Director sets the City’s technical vision which strengthens the overall city strategy…. Salary: $102,726 - $161,356…”  See it here.

 

New Committees

Rick Vandeven filed an exemption committee to run for House 151 (special election ) as a Libertarian.

Sheryl Galdney formed a candidate committee (Citizens To Elect Sheryl Gladney) to run in House 72 (Mary Nichols termed) as a Democrat.

Dana Kelly Franks formed a candidate committee (DKF For Progress) to run for License Collector as a Democrat.

Emoluments Exposed, a political action committee was formed.  Its treasurer is Kenneth P Yancy.

We Mean Business PAC, a political action committee, was formed. Its treasurer is Becky E Wekenborg.

CL PAC, a political action committee, was formed.  Its treasurer is Mark Milton.

Robert Sauls formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Robert Sauls) to run for House 21 as a Democrat.

 

Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Sen. Mike Kehoe Clay Shoot – C bar K Ranch – Jerome – 10 am

Auditor Nicole Galloway – Boathouse in Forest Park, St. Louis – 5:30PM

September 27-29: Missouri Insurance Coalition Annual Meeting

 

$5K+ Contributions

We Are Missouri - $25,000 from United F

MO State Teachers Assoc Legislative Impact Co - $5,434 from Northeast Missouri Teachers Association Inc.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Becky Ruth, Richard Moore, David Sweeney, and Paul Wagner.