Friday, November 7, 2014

Legislative Leadership

The biggest surprise out of the legislative leadership votes yesterday was that there were no big surprises.  I’ve gotten conditioned to expect a last minute coup in the Senate.  Nothing this year. Sens. Tom Dempsey and Ron Richard stayed in their leadership roles as pro tem and floor leader respectively.  And everyone else in the Republican Senate Caucus stayed put: Mike Kehoe, assistant floor leader; Eric Schmitt, caucus chair; Jay Wasson, caucus secretary; Brian Munzlinger joined as whip, taking the spot of out-going Brian Nieves.


Senate Dems chose Joe Keaveny as their leader.  It’s said that the caucus was pretty much split going into the elections, so incoming senator Jill Schupp likely tilted the race to Keaveny.  The appeal of Keaveny over Paul Levota was that Keaveny will be a better partner for the Republican leadership. LeVota was imagined as more combative.  Of course these caricatures are always exaggerated.  LeVota’s leadership in the senate races was remarkably uncombative – no candidates in several districts, no hard-hitting pieces like the Ashcroft smear on Schupp.  So it’s unclear whether he would have be particularly more warlike in the building than Keaveny.

Keaveny reportedly pledged to only serve one term as leader so the position wouldn’t be frozen for his entire second term.  Rumors have Keaveny potentially exiting at some point down the line for a judgeship.  Rumors, rumors, who knows. Other leadership positions went to: Gina Walsh, assistant leader; Jason Holsman, caucus secretary; Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whip; and Kiki Curls, caucus chair.


In the House, I thought maybe the electoral thrashing might result in a shake-up.  Not at all. Rep. Jake Hummel was re-elected minority leader of the incredibly shrinking House Dem caucus. Gail McCann Beatty and John Rizzo were re-elected to their positions of assistant leader and whip.  Gina Mitten edged out Michael Butler for caucus chair. Jon Carpenter was elected caucus vice chair; Karla May was elected caucus secretary and Kim Gardner caucus policy chair.


Who’s To Blame?  No One Here

Democrats seem content to throw their hands up instead of asking and answering some hard questions.  To allow the House Republicans to stretch their already stretched historic super majority into a super-super-majority was a failing.  The ones I’m talking to have glommed onto a convenient scapegoat: Barack Obama.  Obama was just too unpopular.  If Obama weren’t so unpopular…


2016 Watch: Schmitt’s Endorsement List

Before the elections, Sen. Eric Schmitt’s team unveiled a “big coalition of Missouri representatives and senators” endorsing him for state treasurer.  The coalition lists 54 reps and 19 senators, with a notable highlight being Rep. Paul Curtman who had previously floated his name for treasurer.

This list, together with his burgeoning war-chest, should keep the primary clear for Schmitt.

Now with the defeat of Democratic Rep. John Wright earlier this week, the Democratic nominee is open.  Assessor Jake Zimmerman perhaps?...


2016 Watch: Both Sides of the AG’s Race?

With yesterday’s new about Speaker Tim Jones, the Republican attorney general race seems as closed as it can be at this early time.  There might be murmurs in the future, but Sen. Kurt Schaefer is the clear GOP favorite with no real alternative right now.  Meanwhile Sen. Scott Sifton has told donors and small Democratic gatherings that he ready to set sail for the AG’s office on the Dem side.

If this match-up come to fruition, one winner is the trial attorneys who have favorable relations with both sides.

And given that the AG’s office is one of the stepping stones to the governor’s mansion, it’s a very good development for them.


Charton Tweet

PR dude Scott Charton’s tweet made me laugh out loud… “If Schweich pulls off gov, Missouri GOP 2016 lineup will sound like faculty at Heidelberg University: Kinder, Kraus, Schaefer, Schmitt.”


What Watson Means

The exit of Governor Jay Nixon’s right-hand, John Watson, is thought to be the beginning of an exodus from the administration.  With two years left, more and more Nixonites are scanning the horizon for landing spots.  The mood of lame-duckness might have increased with the dismal election results for Dems this week.

And one observer contends if there was a real belief that Nixon had a DC future in his sights, people – like Watson – wouldn’t be looking to jump; they’d be stickin.


Carpenter’s Stoke of Bad Luck?

Sharon Carpenter winning a return to the Collector of Deeds office in St. Louis might be a piece of terrible luck for her.  That’s the thinking among some politicos who have watched corruption investigations before.  Given the constant stream of information from employee Marie Ceselski, an investigation seems all but given.  And the authorities are generally much more vigorous in their actions against a sitting elected official, than they are against one who is no longer in a position of power to abuse.  We’ll see….


Why She Did It

I missed this yesterday.  It’s Rep. Linda Black’s Facebook post explaining why she hopped over to the Republican Party…

Today has been a challenging day to say the least. I will attempt to address all issues raised for my decision to switch parties…I ran 6 years ago on these morals, values and principles:

I am pro-life and believe in the sanctity of human life. This is not a value that I can or will compromise.

I believe in the preservation of marriage to be between a man and a woman.

I value our right to bear arms and protect our lives and property.

I believe in helping people who need assistance but will not promote a system that encourages people to live off of the government.

I promote prayer in schools and public places.

I oppose deficit spending and running up the national debt to be paid for by future generations.

I believe in working together for the good of the country, our communities, and our citizenry in a bi-partisan fashion.

I value the working men and women who drive our economy and support the union’s role in protecting employees in the workplace. I oppose The Right to Work agenda!!

I believe public education is the key to our future as a democracy and our children deserve the best education possible.

I have not changed my core beliefs; I’ve only joined a group of hard working men and women who share these common interests. I made a move that allows my constituents to have representation with a voice and with an ability to pass legislation.

When asked over and over again, “why are you a democrat?” I couldn’t find an answer. Saying my grandpa or family has always been Democrat wasn’t enough. Jerry Litton, Harry Truman, FDR and JFK couldn’t get elected by the Democrat party today. I apologize for the timing; I woke up today and said…I’ve had enough. The nation spoke loudly, as with my home community and the message was clear…. We are a nation under God and I intend to remain that way…I had to switch parties to do it.


Fundraising Calendar

Fundraising events from Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Tomorrow: Rep. Shawn Rhodes Continental Pheasant Hunt – Ozark Wings, Caulfield – 8:30am.


$5K+ Contributions

7th District Congressional Republican Committee - $10,000 from Peter Herschend.

Committee to Elect Sherwood Smith - $9,595 from Tax Payers Unlimited.

Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe - $12,500 from Ameren Missouri.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund - $6,320 from United Food & Commercial Workers Local.

CWA District 6 Political Education Committee - $18,390 from CWA COPE.

MO Democratic State Committee - $50,000 from Claire McCaskill.

Frame for the House - $6,142 from United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Schmitt for Missouri - $10,00 from William S Thompson Jr.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to Sen. David Sater (67), Time Warner’s Jarad Falk, and former Rep. Doug Ervin (48).

Saturday: Former Reps. Tony George (38), Catherine Hanaway (51), and Steven Webb (39), and St. Louis Children’s Ellie Glenn.


MOScout News

The future of Missouri Scout…  I’ve been giving some thought to the future of MOScout going forward, and wanted to share my plans.


During the past few months I have contracted with Remington Research for weekly polls.  The Weekly Poll will continue as a regular feature on Sundays.  There’ll be a few weeks of no polls now that the elections are over, but it’ll resume soon and continue into the legislative session. If there is a burning issue, feel free to send me suggestions throughout the next year.


The Saturday Morning Rummage will return tomorrow.  It will be a scraping of public databases.  I’m contracting with a techie who will be working to add databases as the year goes on.  I’m dropping the Casenet scraper as it struck many as “creepy,” “invasive” etc.  Instead I will use it to find stories which might otherwise slip through the cracks.  You will see those stories in the Daily Updates when the information merits reporting, instead of just a listing on Saturday.  I think the new databases I’m planning to add will be useful and less “stalkerish.”  But as always I appreciate your feedback.


And finally, in part because the polls and the continuing technology investment costs money, and in part because I haven’t increased prices in seven years while the cost of Provel has continued to march upward, there will be a price increase next year.  If your subscription is due in the first part of 2015, you will have an option to pre-pay at the old rate.


Thanks for your business, folks…. And your tips…