Monday, October 31, 2016

Amendment 4 Surging

The MOScout Weekly Poll had some interesting results. (See it here). Among them was that Amendment 4 – prohibiting “new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of January 1, 2015?” – has picked up a lot of ground in the last month.

As a result of the radio, TV and grassroots efforts, it’s surged from 21% Yes and 53% No in my September 23 survey to 45% Yes and 39% No last weekend.  With 16% undecided, it may end up being quite a remarkable turnaround on Election Night.


What If

The other scenario that the poll hints at is…. A possible Republican sweep next week.  Yes, Chris Koster was still clinging to a lead over Eric Greitens.  And yes, Jason Kander is within striking range.  And from last week Russ Carnahan is running well against Mike Parson (although at least one internal GOP poll has Parson up 5 against Carnahan).

Still with Donald Trump showing a double-digit lead – 14 points in this poll – it implies rural Missouri voting very heavily for the Republican presidential nominee.  That could translate into a tide for the other statewide.

I suspect it hurts the tax increases on the ballot, and fortifies the campaign contributions limits as well.

If Dems lose the governor’s mansion it will lead to a sweeping and unstoppable Republican agenda from the supermajority legislature.  But if they get wiped out in the statewide offices it might be the beginning of a political transformation in Missouri – the start of a Kansas type governing model where conservatives Republicans find themselves being counterbalance by a coalition of more moderate Republicans and super-minority Democrats.


New Ashcroft Ad

In Jay Ashcroft’s new ad he’s on the floor of a factory talking to a small businesswoman about cutting red tape.  It’s awkward and yet it kind of works.  See it here.


The Lurching Kansas City Star Editorial “Board”

From a long-time observer of Missouri politics and media:

In the dizzying crush of last-minute campaigning, one of Missouri's most significant cultural and political changes has been little noted but was more evident than ever over the weekend: The rightward lurch of The Kansas City Star editorial board under Publisher Tony Berg.

The Star endorsed Roy Blunt, along with Jay Ashcroft, Eric Schmitt and Josh Hawley. This rightward lurch in editorial opinion would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. But The Star editorial board has been physically emptied by layoffs, firings and resignations. The Star does not even have an editorial page editor, much less any full-time staff editorial writers, in the closing stretch of one of the most consequential elections of our lifetimes. The liberals have been purged and a freelancing conservative has stepped in to ghost-write Star editorials.

In March, The Star cut the jobs of Editorial Page Editor Steve Paul and veteran editorial writer and columnist Barb Shelly. The Star’s Public Editor, a watchdog on the paper’s content, exited his job several months ago and has not been replaced. Then, on Sept. 28, The Star canned Yael T. Abouhalkah, prompting The Pitch to quip: "His firing was good news for just one person, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback." 

That left one man standing on a once-powerful editorial page long interwoven with Kansas City's history, Lewis Diuguid.  But Diuguid announced hours after Abouhalkah's sacking became public that he would step down on Oct. 7, the same day Abouhalkah departed. Duiguid’s last Star editorial column Oct. 7 encouraged disregarding Donald Trump’s bigotry and celebrating ethnic diversity.

That left Star Publisher Berg as the only member of his newspaper’s once-robust editorial board. KCUR Radio reported: "Berg has made it known that he’s looking to take the editorial page in a more conservative direction, which may have left little room for Abouhalkah and Diuguid, both liberals." As was Shelly - who, like Abouhalkah, took her commentary about the 2016 and the state of The Star onto Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

Faced with an empty editorial board, Berg hired a freelancer to lay out The Star’s endorsements. Not just any freelancer – the Star’s editorial freelancer is Rich Hood, a Republican who once led The Star editorial page until he lost that high-paid job in a 2001 Star cutback. One of Hood’s heroes is former Senator John Ashcroft, whose son The Star has just editorially embraced for secretary of state. Hood’s editorial also dissed home-grown KC area Democratic candidates Jason Kander vs Blunt and Teresa Hensley vs Hawley. The latest GOP endorsements have Hood’s heavy Republican handprints, as his conservative voice was empowered by Berg just in time to help out Blunt, Ashcroft, Hawley and Schmitt.

This weekend, Shelly excoriated Berg for editorial endorsements exemplifying the rightward swing. And Shelly noted on Facebook: “… if you think the Star's endorsement of Roy Blunt sounds like a press release, you could be right. Word is the ‘editorial board’ invited both campaigns to send a one-page summary of why they deserve the endorsement, and pretty much regurgitated Blunt's.”

The Pitch called The Star editorial page “a local resource willing itself limp,” adding: “Incoming editorial-board VP Colleen McCain Nelson won't arrive until well after the election, which she's covering for The Wall Street Journal. Who knows how much time she'll require to establish her own presence and staff up?” The Pitch continued that The Star’s Berg has “picked this odd moment to yank out what's left of the paper's spine,” citing a post-presidential debate editorial that “doesn't read like a careful turn rightward or to some imagined center.”

Wrote Barb Shelly of the weekend endorsements: “I doubt if Berg knows enough to understand that he has now placed this new editor and whomever else is hired to write opinion -- if anyone -- on the side of the NRA, voter suppression, discrimination against gays, repression of women and the interests of corporate greed over working and striving Americans.”

Interestingly, Colleen Nelson was a co-winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing with her then-Dallas Morning News colleague Todd Robberson. This year, Robberson was named editorial page editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With the P-D’s unprecedented editorial flip-flopping of positions this year in regard to tobacco taxes, and The Star’s rightward lurch, both major newspaper editorial pages are in wobbly, understaffed and exhausted states. There are now weathered husks of amorphous opinion where once-brilliant writers held forth at 1729 Grand Boulevard in Kansas City and 900 North Tucker Boulevard in St. Louis. Do they even matter anymore?


JT in the News

Jefferson Thomas is featured in a News Tribune story.  He’s political director for Trump’s campaign in Colorado.  He’s also the son of Munzy staffer Pat Thomas. (See it here).

Pull Quote: He gives great credit for the opportunity to join the Trump campaign to his long-time mentor, Randy Kammerdiener, a former two-term city councilman in Jefferson City and now a principal in the Ponte Verda, Florida, political consulting firm Majority Strategies…. He also credits Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and the teachers and administrators at Helias with helping him advance his career in politics. It was Kinder who made the then 16-year-old Thomas a key player in the Tour of Missouri bicycle rally Kinder sponsored. That whirlwind race required Thomas to be on the road non-stop for almost a week. He praises Kinder and staffers Laurie Dawson, Rich Aubuchon and Jerry Dowell, among others, with making him an integral part of the Tour of Missouri team…

When Trump's campaign concludes, whether in the winner's circle or the loser's outhouse, Thomas will be headed for a position as a regional sales manager for Kammerdiener and Majority Strategies, covering Missouri, Kansas and Colorado from an office in Kansas City.

Now engaged to marry political operative Paige Trotter, Thomas said he will continue calling the Thomas house on Hobbs Lane home until he makes the move to Kansas City after the election. Pat Thomas said the family hasn't emptied his bedroom just yet. After all, campaigning runs in the Thomas blood. Their younger son, Hunter, is keen to follow in his big brother's footsteps. Hunter is a full-time staffer in state Sen. Eric Schmitt's campaign for Missouri treasurer this year.


No Wagner at Rally?

Tipster writes that Congresswoman Ann Wagner was missing from the Republican rally yesterday afternoon in Chesterfield.

“Every candidate for office was at the Chesterfield Greitens rally EXCEPT Wagner. Odd since it is the heart of her district.”

Why no Wagner?  Maybe disavowing Donald Trump after his taped comments of grabbing women’s body parts would get her booed by Trump people at these events? Who knows.



Farm Bureau gives a big plug for Mike Parson on their endorsement page of their Fall mailer. See it here.


Missouri Insurance Coalition reports spending $52,408 in legal expenses (Stinson) fighting the campaign contribution limits IP.  See it here.


Republican Reps. Cloria Brown, Dan Shaul and Rob Vescovo are all running ads on KMOX and KLOU.


Domenic Sita (Research) is no longer listed on the Senate staffer page.


$5K+ Contributions

The People to Elect Brent Lasat - $15,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

MO Republican Party - $30,000 from Committee to Elect Randy Jotte.

MO Republican Party - $22,300 from Friends of Caleb Rowden.

Citizens for Vicki Lorenz Englund - $8,272 from Planned Parenthood Votes St. Louis.

Sarah Unsicker for State Representative - $8,008 from Planned Parenthood Votes St. Louis.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,010 from Jerry Hunter.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Nathan McKean

Greitens for Missouri - $1,000,000 from Republican Governors Association Missouri.

Greitens for Missouri - $500,000 from Republican Governors Association Missouri.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Joe Bielawski.

Voters for Susan McClintic - $45,661 from Taxpayers in Support of Public Education.

Koster for Missouri - $700,000 from Democratic Governors Association Missouri.

Friends for Caleb Rowden - $30,000 from Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe.

Friends of Caleb Rowden - $30,000 from Committee to Elect Ron Richard.

Friends of Caleb Rowden - $50,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

Friends of Caleb Rowden - $185,000 from Central Missouri Senate Republican PAC

Teresa Hensley for Missouri - $5,415 from Planned Parenthood Votes St. Louis.

Teresa Hensley for Missouri - $57,054 from Planned Parenthood Votes St. Louis.

Friends of John (aka Jack) A Schilligo - $10,000 from CHIPP Political Account.

Koster for Missouri - $20,000 from Randy Gori.

Mark Milton for State Rep - $6,350 from House Republican Campaign Committee Inc.

Friends of Caleb Rowden - $300,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

Doug Beck for State Representative - $7,467 from Planned Parenthood Votes.

Scott Sifton for Missouri – $14,268 from Missouri State Democratic Committee.

Scott Sifton for Missouri – $82,886 from Planned Parenthood Votes.

Scott Sifton for Missouri – $5,592 from Planned Parenthood Votes.



Happy birthday to former Rep. Paul Quinn.