Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What Happened

The big news: Republicans extend their supermajorities in the legislature.  They netted one seat in the Senate, now holding 25 of 34 seats.  They netted seven seats in the House, now holding 117 of the 163 seats.  With 109 needed to override gubernatorial vetoes, this considerably strengthens their position with the governor.

 

Answering the questions from yesterday…

 

Can Republicans make a comeback in St. Louis County? 

No.  No comeback at all.  This was the confluence of a lot a factors to make Rick Stream a viable county executive candidate.  Stream was the unity candidate for Republicans, while Democrats had a nasty primary fight.  The Ferguson tragedy suddenly threatened the Democrats’ support from one of their most stalwart constituencies, African Americans.  Stream was a mild-mannered, well-funded candidate who had the right image to peel off Independents if not Democrats.  And it was an off-cycle election with the usual low turnout even further depressed by the lack of any statewide contested election or ballot issue of interest.

With all these factors Republicans only gamed out a tie, which tilted to the Democratic side.  Steve Stenger 47.7% was just enough to overcome Stream’s 47.1%.

 

Rep. Jill Schupp prevailed over Jay Ashcroft.  The impact of that election is, as I wrote yesterday, that Eric Schmitt is the only Republican state senator left in St. Louis County (except Dave Schatz who is mostly Franklin County and has some St. Louis County). Just a few years ago Republicans Jim Lembke, Jane Cunningham, and John Lamping were all with Schmitt in the Senate.

 

Has the bootheel gone totally red?

Yes. Republicans picked up the old Steve Hodges seat as expected (House 149), but also retained the Ken Hampton seat (House 150).  House 150 was one of misses for the night, and it wasn’t particularly close: Republican Andrew McDaniel won with 51.8% of the vote.  Dems had the more well-known candidate in this district, but Republicans hammered at Barack Obama’s severe unpopularity to take down the Democrat.

Dems need a strategy to rebuild in this part of the state.

 

Who Will be Upset?

John Wright.  In House 47, Rep. John Wright was unseated by Republican challenger Chuck Basye.   Wright, seen by many as an up-and-comer and often mentioned as a potential statewide candidate in 2016, put about $450K of personal money into his campaign account over the past year.

 

Is Jefferson County Trending Republican or Gone Republican?

Feels like it’s gone.  Democrats got hammered in Jefferson County last night.  I had thought it was possible, and picked a Republican wave with only Rep. Mike Frame surviving.  I got the wave right, but picked the wrong lone survivor.  Rep. Ben Harris survived (with 52.3% of the vote), while Frame when down along with Rep. TJ McKenna, and the Democratic candidates in the old Roorda and Wieland seats.  In the Senate 22 race, Paul Wieland took it over Jeff Roorda with a 8-pt victory, 56%-48%.

Some of this has to do with off-cycle turnout, but it’s also the continuation of a trend.  The truth is that the folks who have been moving into Jefferson County in the last decade have had sensibilities more in synch with the Republican Party.   From a reader: “Jeff. Co. is St. Charles County 15 years ago. The stomping of Russ Carnahan by of all people Ed Martin in Jeff. Co. was a harbinger of what was happening. With wholesale movement out of St. Louis City and County to Jefferson County, things were just starting to unfolded, and now the table is set.”

 

Did Dems New Focus Pay Off?

No pay-off.  One Republican earlier in the week had scoffed at the Democratic structure saying it was “too political,” that is they’d be spending money where the wheels were squeakiest not where they were going to get the biggest bang for their buck.

On the one hand Wednesday morning quarterbacking of this kind is easy; and on the other hand, the results speak for themselves.

 

Other results

As expected Jeanie Riddle beat Ed Schieffer in Senate 10, and Sen. Rob Schaaf was re-elected in Senate 34.

 

Other House Democratic incumbents losing: Rep. John Mayfield falls in House, and Rep. Vicki Englund lost to former Rep. Cloria Brown.  Neither were close.  Mayfield lost by 9 points, and Englund lost by 11 points.

 

Dems picked up the old Rick Stream seat in St. Louis County, and Republicans took the old Ed Schieffer seat.

 

Dem Rep. Bill Otto survived a scare, winning re-election with just a whisker over 50%.  Rep. Gary Cross, targeted by unions, won re-election with a 5 point margin.

 

Former Rep. Jerry Nolte (R) was elected presiding commissioner of Clay County, beating Rep. Jay Swearingen (D), 56% to 43%.

 

Amendments: Early voting was defeated with on 29% voting in favor.  Anti-teacher tenure was defeated by an even greater margin with just 23% in favor.  The restrictions on the governor’s budget powers (Amendment 10) passed with 56%. And Amendment 2 (sex crimes evidence) passed with 72%.

 

How I Did

I got all the Senate races correct and missed 4 of the 82 contested House races.  My overall numbers were right on the Senate and I underestimated the Republican gains in the House, predicting 5 instead of 7.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Gina Mitten for State Representative - $5,863 from Missouri Democratic Party.

Citizens to Elect John Wright - $9,190 from Rollins Capital Management LLC.

Hanaway for Governor - $10,000 from Rex Sinquefield.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $6,000 from Polsinelli.

Citizens for a Better Columbia - $10,000 from Albert Price.

Citizens for a Better Columbia - $10,000 from Jack Rader.

 

Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to Jessica Hodge, Aaron Jeffries (42), Brad Ketcher, and Angie Postal (34).