Jones To Hammonds
As mentioned in my quick Special Update this morning, Speaker Tim Jones announced on the Jamie Allman show this morning that he will not seek public office in 2016.
Jones had never made a formal announcement about 2016, but had talked about the possibility often and was presumed to be a statewide candidate. He has a campaign account of a little over $1 million.
Instead of running he will become a Fellow at a new think tank in St. Louis, the Hammonds Institute for Free Market located at Lindenwood University. According to its website, the Hammonds Institute’s mission “is to foster free enterprise and civil and religious liberty through the examination of market-oriented approaches to economic and social issues. This mission is based on the view that a limited government, such as that laid out in the Constitutional foundation of the United States, is a necessary component of a just and prosperous society.”
What it Means
This is good news for Republicans in 2016. Famous last words but it creates a clean slate, aside from a potentially messy gubernatorial primary. This line-up: Peter Kinder holds lieutenant governor; Sen. Kurt Schaefer runs for attorney general; Sen. Eric Schmitt runs for treasurer; and Sen. Will Kraus runs for secretary of state.
And The Money
It sounds like Jones will retain his war-chest. He has not been stingy in the past. During his time in the House Jones has raised and given away nearly $900K, including $25K+ in last few weeks.
Look for a JONES PAC to continue to support conservative candidates and causes – with some portion of it set aside in case he re-enters for a future statewide race down the road.
Black Goes Red
Rep. Linda Black yesterday hopped the fence and went from a Democrat to a Republican. That brings the Republican House majority to 118, and slices the Democratic numbers down to 45.
Minority Leader Jake Hummel’s statement: "State Rep. Linda Black's decision to change political parties one day after winning re-election as a Democrat is a betrayal of her constituents, and the timing of her announcement makes it clear she had intended to do this all along. If Rep. Black had wanted to become a Republican, she should have run on the Republican ticket instead of pulling a deceptive bait and switch on St. Francois County voters."
Republican House Leadership
The Republican House chose their leadership for the upcoming session. No big surprises: John Diehl, speaker; Denny Hoskins, speaker pro tem; Todd Richardson, floor leader; Mike Cierpiot, assistant floor leader. Sandy Crawford didn’t run for re-election for whip. The expectation is that, as a banker, she’d like to chair the Finance Committee. Delus Johnson takes her place, beating out Steve Lynch and Shawn Rhoads. And Shelley Keeney beat back a challenge from John McCaherty for caucus chair.
Readers: Other Winners and Losers
Roy Temple. Where the hell was Roy? Pennsylvania and every other place but Missouri, the one place he's not being paid to work... the MO Dem party will continue to embrace inneffectiveness and narccistic personalities like always. Case in point: Chris Koster.
Who am I missing? What about Mayor Francis Slay? Back Dooley, lost. Back Florida and lost. Has his old babysitter mad at him (Sharon Carpenter). What is Slay looking to do for the future? Run again for Mayor?
I would call the supporters of Amendment 10 big winners. Look at this polling they had in September on Amend 10, and yet they created some ads and a really targeted campaign and ended up winning with 56% and all but four counties and St. Louis City.
Pat Joyce wins even after the BIG money that rolled into town for Brian Stumpe. As you've said before, the ramifications are bigger than the usual circuit court judge's race.
JeffCo, STL: Don’t Count Them Done
I got pushback yesterday that I was being to quick to say that certain geographic areas on Missouri’s political map were “done.”
One Republican poo-pooed the notion that St. Louis County was truly a goner for Republicans simply because their state senate contingent has dwindled from a high for 4 senators to the lone Sen. Eric Schmitt. It’s noted that Sen. Jane Cunningham’s disappearance is related to the way districts were drawn, with no underlying change in the voters. Sen. Jim Lembke lost a squeaker, just as Jay Ashcroft lost. Furthermore, for two elections in a row the St. Louis County Executive’s race has been competitive. The constant non-recurring occurrences that create close races might be a function of the county and produce tight races in the future.
Meanwhile a Democrat writes that Jefferson County hardly flipped this week. The vote was a function of the presidential/non-presidential cycle. In other words, “predictable… You are wrong to assume it's now a Republican county. Look back at the 2008 and recently the 2012 election results. All Dem statewide candidates won there except one. Senator Claire McCaskill's margin there was about +12. Just wanted to clarify about your assumption that JeffCo is dead to Dems. We will win it again in 2016…”
Gay Marriage Ruling
Rex Burlison, a St. Louis judge, said that the state constitution banning same-sex marriage was federally unconstitutional. Attorney General Chris Koster said he would appeal the ruling to bring clarity and consistency to the rulings. But it’s quite clear by now how this movie ends. See the Post-Dispatch article here.
Governor Jay Nixon announced that Jay Watson, was stepping down. He’ll be replaced by Chris Pieper as chief of staff. Watson will remain as a senior advisor for a while. Nixon also announced that Nia Ray will take over as the new Director of the Department of Revenue.
This are not small shifts. Watson has been Nixon’s right-hand man, and the center of the tight Nixon circle for a long time.
Ray becomes the second African American director in Nixon’s cabinet.
Kyle Juvers has left the secretary of state’s office and is now Associate Director of Community-Based Studies at Better Together.
Governor Jay Nixon appointed Nancy Hagan of Springfield to the Missouri Ethics Commission; and Painters’ Gary Otten to the State Rehabilitation Council.
On Danny O’Neill wining the Readers Pick’em Poll
“He thought he was passing Medicaid expansion last session. How genius can he be?”
Parson for State Senate - $7,500 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.
Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Ameren Missouri.
Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $12,500 from Ameren Missouri PAC.
MO Democratic State Committee - $5,300 from Committee to Elect Bill Otto.
Clean Water Healthy Communities PAC - $47,000 from Missouri-American Water Company.
Happy birthdays to Reps. Keith Frederick (62) and Joe Runions (74).