Monday, March 9, 2015

Koster for Zweifel’s Promise

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster signed on the Clint Zweifel proposal to up the cigarette tax and use the proceeds to create a new student aid package to help Missouri kids go to college.  Rudi Keller has the story here.

Pull Quote: While Koster was uncertain about the amount of money needed for tuition, he suggested Missouri’s cigarette tax should be close to the national average. He also said he thought the national average is about 90 cents per pack.  Missouri’s cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack brought in about $109.2 million in fiscal 2013, or about $6.4 million for each cent of tax. If the tax was increased to the national average of $1.54 per pack, state revenues would increase by up to $880 million. Increasing the tax to 90 cents per pack would bring in about $470 million.


Hancock’s Future

The aftermath of Auditor Tom Schweich’s suicide so far has largely focused on the future of the newly elected Missouri Republican Party chair John Hancock.  This is because of the eulogy of Jack Danforth and subsequent call by former Schweich spokesperson Spence Jackson for Hancock’s resignation. The effect of their actions was to pin the blame for Schweich’s death on Hancock.  That’s a pretty big weight to toss on someone’s shoulders.


From the best I can tell Hancock has decided he will not step down – at least as long as the accusations that he is an anti-Semite are unrebutted, and not retracted.

Here’s Rudi Keller’s story indicating that the state committee appears to be in no rush to change their chair.  And the Missouri Times tried to suss out the accusation against Hancock here.


From one Dem who has no dog in the fight… “After reading the Schweich story, it is painfully obvious that Tom was dealing with some pretty powerful demons that ultimately led to taking his own life. No one is responsible for that. John Hancock is not responsible for that and yes, he is a good man.  But that's not the question. The question that Republicans need to ask is whether or not John Hancock can be an effective leader of an already factionalized Republican Party…”


As time allows for a more measured, less emotional response, Republican leaders need find a way to resolve Hancock’s future. Barring any evidence that Schweich’s suspicions were true, Republicans – including those from the Schweich camp – should publicly support Hancock.  Clearing his name, Hancock would probably be more open to stepping down in the name of healing the party.


Busch for Greitens

In the large contributions below, you’ll see a few large checks coming in for Eric Greitens’ gubernatorial exploratory committee.  Two of them are from out of state.  It’s said that Greitens will have a national network to plug into.  And the third is from August Busch III.  It’s for $50K.

Previously (as in two weeks ago, yo!) Busch gave $10K to Dem gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster.  And last year Busch gave $25K to Catherine Hanaway.

Sort of imagine when Busch plays roulette, the chips are scattered all across the table…


Parsons for Gov?

The state of the Republican field for governor is clearly in flux.  A new name mentioned recently… Sen. Mike Parson.  He has a golden name in the agricultural community, some strong relationships with deep pocket donors, and a folksy mannerisms that could make him potent on the campaign trail.  We’ll see….


MCN: Clean the Slate in Ferguson

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal called for all records of arrests stemming from bias police action in Ferguson to be expunged.

The press release: “The history of police and court abuses revealed by the Department of Justice in their report on Ferguson describes a system in which misconduct was not the exception, but the rule. The probe reveals numerous arrests and stops objectively proven to have no base in protocol, or even legality. For many citizens, these policies brought a series of additional legal consequences, which undermined their livelihoods. People have lost their jobs, their savings, and have been unable to provide for their families… Therefore, I am today calling for all records from all racially-motivated police stops in Ferguson to be expunged. There is already existing case law supporting this type of review…. I now request that Missouri's higher courts take similar action, and set the record straight for the people of Ferguson. There can be no justification for continuing to hold citizens accountable for arrests that were never constitutional…”


Poll Cross Tabs

Find the full report from the MOScout Weekly Poll in the Special Reports section here.


eMailbag on the Poll

Reader 1: Interesting poll results on voting against a candidate because they engaged in negative campaigning. A good follow-up question would be "have you ever voted against a candidate based on something you heard about them in an advertisement, read online or heard from a friend?" [A]dvisors recommend negative campaign ads for one reason - they work. Maybe in the aftermath the Schweich tragedy, that calculus will change. It will take a lot of courage (and data) to be the first candidate for Governor to go negative.


Reader 2: Interesting. I wonder how truthful the answers to the (voting against someone who goes negative) question are.



News Tribune reports that PSC Commissioner Bill Kenney was arrested for a DWI.  Read it here.


Rep. Bonnaye Mims introduced a bill, apparently in the aftermath of the Schweich suicide, making it a crime to intimidate a public official.  It might have a few 1st amendment issues.  And it contains what one lobbyist described as the “sentence of the year…”

“A person commits the offense of intimidating a public figure if the person intentionally engages in or attempts to engage in intimidating conduct in such a manner that such intimidating conduct or attempt creates a hostile environment during the course of such public figure’s performance of duties related to the public figure’s elected office of during the course of such public figure’s campaign for elected office, and the existence of the hostile environment adversely affects the public figure’s performance of duties related to such public office or causes the public figure to resign from the office to which the public figure has been elected or to cease campaigning for such office.”  Whew.  Got that?


John Brunner sniffing out the gubernatorial possibilities? Tipster says he met recently with arch-conservative, former state senator John Lamping


Help Wanted

Rep. Chrissy Sommer seeks LA.  “Duties include extensive contact and correspondence with district constituents and the general public, creating and maintaining calendars, coordinating and scheduling meetings, maintaining files and databases on a variety of legislative topics, and general office assistance… The salary range for this position begins at $2,257 per month.”  See the ad here.


Lobbyist Registrations

John Pelzer deleted Foster Parents Association of Missouri.

James Bowers Jr. added Richard & Sandra S. McLeod, Mark and Jane O’Dell, and James K. Owens.

Stephen Ables added St. Louis County Municipal League.

Tom Rackers deleted Kimble Consulting LLC.

Sam Wiles deleted Prestige Powers, and National Council on Compensation Insurance.


$5K+ Contributions

Greitens for Missouri - $50,000 from Frank Kavanaugh.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Ken Harbaugh.

Greitens for Missouri - $50,000 from August Busch III.

Association of MO Electric Cooperatives PAC - $20,000 from AMEC.

Missourians for Koster - $15,000 from Four Corners Development LLC.

Cunningham Campaign Committee - $7,000 from Friends of Rick Stream.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to Rep. Nathan Beard (37).