Monday, July 13, 2015

Kinder In for Gov

Yesterday Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder announced that he’ll eschew re-election and run for governor in 2016.

He joins an already crowded field: Randy Asbury, John Brunner (all but officially in), Eric Greitens (also all but officially in), Catherine Hanaway, and Mike Parson.

A few thoughts:

Kinder also announced that he and long-time consultant David Barklage were decoupling.  It’s expected that Barklage will be with Brunner in the end. Barklage is clearly a talented statewide consultant.

Still Kinder is probably now the front-runner.  Not necessarily the favorite, but the front-runner.  That is, if the election were held today, I think Kinder would win.  According to a February poll commissioned by the conservative group Missouri Alliance for Freedom, Kinder led a three person field of Hanaway and Tom Schweich.  With an even more splintered, and less well-known field, his lead would probably be as solid, if not stronger.

Being the front-runner though doesn’t mean he’s the favorite. The primary is a year away, and it would appear that Kinder will find himself outspent by Brunner, Hanaway, Greitens and maybe Parson as well.

Forecasting this six-way election will involve guesswork.

Will any of the other five focus their rhetoric and money to attacking Kinder or will he get a pass as folks expect his lead to fade with time?  Will any of the six have a message that cuts through the crowded clutter of a few million dollars of campaign resource being thrown at Republican primary voters?

That Poll

The survey was conducted February 2 – February 3, 2015. 747 likely Republican primary voters participated in the survey. The survey weighted to match expected turnout demographics for the 2016 Republican Primary Election. Margin of Error is +/-3.6%. Totals do not always equal 100% due to rounding. Survey conducted by Remington Research Group on behalf of Missouri Alliance for Freedom.

Q: If the election were held today, and the candidates in the Republican primary for Governor were Catherine Hanaway, Tom Schweich and Peter Kinder, for whom would you vote?

Catherine Hanaway……………………12%

Tom Schweich …………………………..15%

Peter Kinder…………………….…………24%

Undecided………………….………………48%

 

Kinder Bits

See the new website here.

One observer notes the new site “has a grip and grin photo with the highest paid state employee, Mizzou football head coach Gary Pinkel - has Pinkel endorsed Kinder?”

This is the first time in a long time that we’ll have five statewide offices will be up election with NO incumbents.

 

Holzer to Team Brunner: Kinder Entry Net Positive

In an email message from Paul Holzer, John Brunner’s chief of staff, to their exploratory committee, Kinder’s entry into the gubernatorial race is seen as a net positive.  Here are excerpts:

With Peter's entry into the race there will be a few short-term impacts and several long term impacts felt across the 2016 landscape, to include a possible initial shift in polling to reflect Mr. Kinder in a leading position due to the fact he has been a statewide office holder for 11 years. Mr. Kinder's entry into the race also certainly diminishes a planned announcement this week by Eric Greitens to enter the Governor's race. It also may cause other candidates already announced to rethink their positions, as this makes the Lt. Governor's race "wide open".

While there are some challenges to overcome with Mr. Kinder's entry, we collectively view this development as a highly positive one for Mr. Brunner. It provides considerable new opportunities for Mr. Brunner to seize, which I am happy to share with you all off-line…

For your awareness, this week our team had already planned to publicly announce the formation of our senior campaign team; we will continue with this without change. Following, we will have a web media announcement combined with a substantive increase in our social media presence.  We will make additional staff and finance committee announcements later this summer leading into our official campaign kickoff this later in the fall. And overall, Mr. Brunner himself will become significantly more visible in his outreach to key leaders across the state.

Mr. Brunner is going to run for Governor of Missouri in 2016 and we, as a campaign team, have a specific plan and timeline that we will execute accordingly….

 

And

Team Greitens sent a press release yesterday preannouncing their quarter (Wednesday is the filing day)… “Total Raised: $791,527.37… Cash on hand: $1,135,070.68”

 

Now LG Gets Second Looks

With Kinder out, Bev Randels does NOT get a free pass for the Republican nomination.  With historic majorities in both chambers there are just too many folks to let anyone have a free pass.

Here are some names being floated:

Sen. Mike Kehoe’s name was long mentioned as a possible lieutenant governor.  But recently it was thought that he was opting out of the 2016 cycle.  This could prompt a second look.

Rep. Caleb Jones has the strongest profile from the House Republicans, and some suspect that he doesn’t relish a race against Rep. Stephen Webber in Senate 19, so this might make sense.

From a chess board perspective, Sen. Will Kraus would be well-served to think about switching from his head-on race with John “Jay” Ashcroft and instead move into the LG’s race.

Similarly, some may be whispering in Sen. Mike Parson’s ear that this is an opportune time to swap races and leave the crowded governor’s race for LG.

 

Watson to MOSERS

Governor Jay Nixon’s long-time top aide John Watson was named the new executive director of the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System (MOSERS).

This continues the trend of Nixon’s inner circle finding landing spots with just a year and half left in the administration’s hourglass.

The press release (see it here) noted that “the board conducted a national search which generated a field of well-qualified candidates.”

Generating the field of well-qualified candidates is of course different than choosing from the field.  The board, by installing Nixon’s right-hand man, has chosen what appears to be an anomaly among state retirement systems: a top executive with no experience in managing retirement systems.

A look at Missouri’s border states:

In Arkansas, Gail Stone started on Wall Street before joining APERS and then was promoted from within after a decade.

In Iowa, Donna Mueller was CEO of the Boston Retirement Board.

In Illinois, Lisa Morris was promoted from within after serving as deputy executive director for six years.

In Kansas, Alan Conroy had thirty years of experience in state government and fiscal analysis.

In Kentucky, William Thielen was promoted from within after being chief operations officer and then interim director.

In Nebraska, Phyllis Chambers had actually managed large scale investments.

In Oklahoma, Joseph Fox was promoted from within after a decade as general counsel.

In Tennessee, Jill Bachus was promoted from within after serving in Treasury Department for nearly thirty years and then assist director for six years.

As one observer criticizes, “There is no way they did a national search and came up with Watson. No chance.”

 

Weekly Poll

See the cross tabs from the MOScout Weekly Poll here.  It takes a first look at Senate 1.

It’s interesting to note that the district appears to oppose right to work, and support expand Medicaid.  Together with Remington Research Group’s weighting of the districts expected 2016 General Election turn-out, it looks to favor the Democrats in retaining this seat.

 

Bits

Politico’s Influence reports that the Gephardt Group Government Affairs registered a new client, International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

 

A new PAC was formed: Truman State University College Democrats.  Its treasurer is Andrew Mangrum.

 

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed says she’ll attend the annual Democratic fundraising dinner now that it’s no longer named after two presidents who owned slaves.  See it here.

 

eMailbag: On Senate 1 Poll

“Throw May Scheve in a primary race with Vicki England and see what it says…”

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Sen. Mike Parson Golf – Silo Ridge Golf Course – Bolivar.

Rep. Elijah Haahr Tasting Reception – Parlor 88, the Olive Rm. – Springfield. – 5:30-7PM.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Robert C Johnson added Robert C Johnson.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Citizens to Elect Kurt Schaefer Attorney General - $15,000 from August Busch III.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Curtis Jared.

MO Democratic State Committee - $18,000 from Democratic Governors Association Missouri.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former Reps. Tim Meadows (57) and Brent Lasater (55), Jeff Craver, Gary Marshall, and Cory McMahon (28).