Monday, November 4, 2013

Kinder Declines Congressional Contest

Friday afternoon Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder issued a statement saying he had decided against running for congress after all.  See it here.

Pull Quote:  “After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to end the month-long, exploratory phase on an 8th District congressional candidacy by forgoing a race in 2014. This was a difficult decision… An all-out run for Congress over the next year just isn't in the cards. Politics isn't everything. In the midst of its sometimes frenzied demands, one feels the tug of Holy Scripture: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Sometimes this injunction is flatly incompatible with the pitiless imperatives of the political calendar. I am deeply humbled by the many citizens who have urged me to run, who've pledged their financial support, and I thank them for their confidence. I regret that this decision will disappoint them…”

What It Means

First, it’s a huge boost for incumbent Jason Smith.  He will presumably still get a challenge, but nothing too daunting.  Kinder would have been the most formidable opponent out there.  Smith is safe now.

Second, this makes a lot of people’s lives easier.  Many of Kinder’s allies and friends had already hopped on the Smith train.  They’d have found themselves in the middle of a friends and family fight.  That sticky situation is avoided.

Finally, the next time Kinder “explores” a race outside his LG domain, will anyone take it seriously?  He’s backed down so many times now it’s hard to imagine him as anything other than lieutenant governor.

House to Probe Hagler, Dept of Ag

Word is that the House will form a committee to look into the Jon Hagler resignation and allegations of a “hostile” culture at the Department of Agriculture.  Look for Rep. Casey Guernsey to chair the new interim committee.

                                                                                                                   

Meanwhile, the Post-Dispatch wrote an editorial punching Governor Jay Nixon for his silence on the pattern of complaints from women working in his administration.  Read it here.

And Hagler himself attempted to do damage control by talking to the AP.  Not sure it worked much.  Read it here.

Chappelle-Nadal Aims at Nicastro

“Happy Halloween! Just wondering from which side of Chris Nicastro’s mouth she will be speaking from today. Must be a hard decision for her.”

BOOM!  That was the tweet from Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal on Halloween.  Apparently not a fan of state commissioner for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education? 

If there was doubt, then there’s this tweet, “I have no faith in Chris Nicastro as the head of DESE any longer.”

Look for Chappelle-Nadal to be engaged in the student transfer debate next session.  The St. Louis Beacon ran an article on her nascent proposal on the issue.  Read it here.  It includes the increasingly popular idea of making individual schools subject to accreditation and unaccreditation rather than districts as a whole.

And she’s hosting an online Town Hall Meeting on Education Policy / Student Transfer tomorrow at 3pm.

Cunningham Goes Off – Again

Former state senator Jane Cunningham went on the Political Speaking podcast and declared that he will campaign against Sens. Kurt Schaefer and Eric Schmitt if either runs (as expected) for a statewide office.  Cunningham blames Schaefer for being redistricted out of her seat, and Schmitt for being soft on the firefighters’ union. This is not new ground for her.  Listen to it here.

MEC Fines

The Missouri Ethics Commission handed out a few decisions.

Steve Smith was fined $10,000 for engaging in a conflict of interest.  He was a board member of the Rockwood School Districts and also being paid by the firm doing their construction project.  See it here.

Former State Representative Eileen McGeoghegan and political consultant Rory Riddler were fined for putting a false “paid for” disclaimer on negative mail pieces.  They were fined $6,600.  See it here. McGeoghegan lost that primary to Rep. Mary Nichols.

Another Tax Lien Listing

Once again the St. Louis Business Journal’s “leads” section yields a possible dart for political purposes.  This one is a tax lien against Pop Vox Communications in the amount of $29,812.  That’s owned by Kathryn Jamboretz who was St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s press consultant in his last re-election.  No word if she’ll reprise her role, but if so, the lien would be one more paper in the Opp Research folder.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

W T Dawson deleted Missouri Elks Association, OOIDA, and WT Dawson.

$5K+Contributions

Continue to Care - $25,000 from Committee for Research Treatments and Cures.

Jackson County Democratic Coalition - $15,000 from Committee for Research Treatments and Cures.

Committee for Research Treatments and Cures - $15,000 from Paul DeBruce.

Missourians for Children’s Education - $5,348 from Missouri Catholic Conference.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs Inc. - $26,666 from Missouri Construction Industry Advancement Fund.

Friends for Munzlinger - $10,000 from Smithfield Foods Inc.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Keith English (46) and Tony Messenger (47).