Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rumorville: Brown for Treasurer?

The rumor – swirling hot and heavy –is that Sen. Dan Brown is eyeing the Treasurer’s race.  If true, he’d bring a primary to the only statewide slot where Republicans had hitherto avoided one.  And it would amount to a reversal for Brown who was listed on Sen. Eric Schmitt’s endorsement list!

The rumor is that Brown is being backed by David Humphreys, and would enjoy financial support from Humphreys in the race.   Humphreys’ two key issues are labor reform – paycheck protection, right to work etc – and legal reform, including tort reform.

Schmitt, with $2 million in the bank, and a fresher image would still be favorite.  But it would be a set-back for Republicans because it would require Schmitt to expend money in the primary he would not have to otherwise.

Aside from the electoral implications, one building denizen last night was bemoaning the impact this could have on the Senate, potentially creating a schism.

Lastly, let me say again this is just a rumor at this point.  One source with a closer view of this development than other cautioned that Brown could be walking out to the edge of the diving board, but then decide not to take the plunge.  So today is truly a day where… we’ll see….



Schmitt’s huge war-chest, lack of a rival and cross-over appeal in the general election has meant that the Democrats have largely ceded this race.  Two are in it, but one – Pat Contreras – has never held office before; and the other – Judy Baker – is thought to have too much Obamacare baggage to be effective in the general.

Would the entrance of Brown and a Republican primary, give new urgency to the Dems to look for a tougher candidate?


Claire McCaskill Has Breast Cancer

Post-Dispatch reports, “The second-term Missouri Democrat said in her announcement that she expects a "full recovery" after three weeks of upcoming treatment in St. Louis. She and her staff didn't offer additional details about her diagnosis.”  See it here.


Colona For Merideth

In House 80, Rep. Mike Colona is endorsing Peter Merideth to succeed him.  Merideth is one of three candidates to establish campaign committees.  We’ll see if Colona’s nod impacts the decision of others whether to file or not.

House 80 is a safe Democratic seat, and the three candidates would likely have nearly identical positions on the issues.  Colona points to Merideth’s credentials as an attorney as a critical factor in his decision.

Interesting to note: Colona, in picking Merideth, is passing up another candidate in the race, Ben Murray, who is Colona’s own campaign treasurer.


Rucker to File in Corlew Seat

Martin Rucker Jr., the son of former Rep. Martin Rucker, will be filing this morning to run in House 14 as a Democrat.  House 14, by the numbers, is a swing district.  Republicans have held it for a few cycles – with Ron Schieber holding it before the current incumbent Rep. Kevin Corlew.

Corlew is considered one of the rising stars of the Republican caucus, but Rucker’s challenge is serious. And I’ll be putting this seat in the battleground category.


Marijuana Bill Voted Out of House Committee

Rep. Dave Hinson’s medical marijuana bill, HB 2213, was voted out of the Emerging Issues Committee last night.  The 11-1 vote showed the bipartisan strength of support behind the issue.


Koster for Closing Fund?

One MOScout tipster says that Dem gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster has been floating the proposal of developing a “closing fund” to help lure businesses to Missouri.  It’s said that the money for such a fund would come from a tobacco tax increase. (Everyone loves a tobacco tax increase).

The closing fund notion has popped up in Missouri from time to time in economic development discussions.  But critics look at it as a slush fund without the bureaucratic and regulatory safeguards to make sure that there’s cold, hard analysis before giving away tax-payer money.


Jones’ Population Bill

Rep. Caleb JonesHB 2258 is an intriguing bill.  It specifies that if a political subdivision loses population so it no longer fits the definition it once did by law, it will still retain the laws that governed it.  Because so many local government bills define which subdivision is affected by the population, the change in population could bring laws in and out of enforcement.  While there has been a provision that population increases don’t impact subdivisions, Jones’ bill would add population decreases.

It’s said that this bill is aimed at protecting St. Louis County, as the last census showed a decline in population.


Single Subject To Go To Supreme Court?

Bob Watson reports that Ron Calzone and his group Missouri First (for whom he lobbies but won’t register) are claiming victory in having laws tossed that were passed violating the “single subject” threshold of the Missouri constitution.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Calzone represented himself in a May 2015 lawsuit against Attorney General Chris Koster and the directors of seven executive departments, challenging the passage of a 2014 law that began as a bill involving county prosecutors but, ultimately, also included law enforcement officers, initiative petitions in Savannah, ambulance districts and asphalt shingles, among others.

Earlier this month, Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green agreed with Calzone’s argument that the final bill violated the constitutional prohibition against bills that “contain more than one subject.”

Green wrote, as part of an 11-page judgment, that Calzone had raised four claims the bill violated the state Constitution, and “the state presented no evidence against” the claims.


NYTimes on Why Police Videos Are Critical

NYTimes today has an article on how the lack of police videos impacts public policy.  See it here.

Pull Quote: [T]he Houston police killed more people than the Los Angeles police despite having half as many officers, according to police data. (Officers in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, killed civilians at a higher rate than the Houston police did over that period, records show.)

Despite the troubling statistics, the Houston police have largely avoided the intensive public scrutiny directed in recent months at other large departments, including those in Chicago, Baltimore and Philadelphia. The reason, critics say, has been the lack of videotapes capturing the most questionable shootings of unarmed civilians.

Without videotaped evidence to contradict police accounts, shootings are far less likely to galvanize the public and to result in disciplinary action against the officers involved, criminologists say.


New Committees

Glenn Koenen started a campaign committee, “Good Citizens For Koenen” to run as a Democrat for House 95.  The current incumbent is Rep. Marsha Haefner.  Koenen ran against Ann Wagner for Congress in 2012.  See his concession statement here.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Filing of candidates begins.


Lobbyists Registrations

Brian Grace, Kelvin Simmons, and Rodney Boyd added SHI International Corp.

Joy Krieger added Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America St Louis Chapter.

Jane Moore added Missouri Hospice & Palliative Care Association.


$5K+ Contributions

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Paola Luptak.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from SGC Foodservice.

Association of MO Electrical Cooperatives PAC - $25,000 from Associated Electric Cooperative Inc.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $50,000 from Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe.

Central Missouri Senate Republican PAC - $25,000 from Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe.

Committee for Accountable Government in Missouri - $250,000 from David Humphreys.

Citizens for Stephen Webber - $10,000 from David Johnson.

Razer for Missouri - $5,001 from Friends of Jeremy LaFaver.



Happy birthdays to former Rep. Rick Stream.



To Rep. Jay Barnes and his wife, Jane, on the birth of Rosemary Elizabeth BarnesSee a family pic here.