Thursday, April 17, 2014

AG Scrum

With the dust settled on the April quarter, the three potential Republican attorney candidates are all in the same ballpark.  Speaker Tim Jones is on top with $962,126 on-hand.  Sen. Eric Schmitt is second with $866,015; and Sen. Kurt Schaefer is a close third with $859,092 on-hand.

One former representative shook his head in the halls yesterday remembering how once he had people lined up outside his office, but once he was out, “they just walk right by you.”  He thinks Jones will find the fundraising much more difficult in the next two years without the trappings of being floor leader or speaker.  However with a million in the bank he’s clearly a 2016 contender and that will draw donors – though perhaps a different kind than the lobbyists/association pickings of recent years.

The large question isn’t who will be on top in fundraising in two years; I expect they will all have bank account capable of running a statewide race.  The question is whether they can find a way to run against Democrats instead of each other.

It’s said that AG remains Jones’ “focus.”  However his recent flirtation and retreat from Senate 26 signals that he is able to make rational decisions unclouded by ego.  Schmitt is temperamentally moderate by nature and it’s hard to see him entering a fight of a primary if there’s a clear statewide slot available to him.  Finally Schaefer is Appropriation Chair, that’s one of the most pragmatic, non-ideological positions in the Senate.  You have to give a bit here and there.  Even though he has been the most vocally hawkish about his desire to be attorney general (the loan to augment his war-chest, announcing early, putting AG in his campaign committee name etc), his poker face looks a lot like a poker face.

Behind the Wieland Number

Yesterday I wrote that despite Rep. Paul Wieland’s nothing number in April fundraising (Wieland raised $9K and has $24K on-hand versus Rep. Jeff Roorda’s nearly $200K on-hand), he’d likely be fully funded by the Republican Caucus’ senate campaign committee.

That’s true.  And yet, one observer wonders if Wieland’s lame number doesn’t indicate a candidate not fully engaged in the race.  And if his field effort ultimately matches his fundraising effort, Republicans may be stuck with a candidate being outworked many times over by Roorda.  Food for thought…

Transportation Tax

The sales tax ballot question was voted out of the Senate Transportation Committee yesterday with only one No vote, Sen. John Lamping.  In addition to the House version, Transportation Chair Mike Kehoe also moved the Senate version out to have a back-up version available in if need be in late session.

One lobbyist noted that Kehoe is in his fourth session now, and is showing the signs of understanding some of the tricks and nuances of getting a big bill passed.  Compare this to the CWIP efforts of his first years for example.  The fact that it takes years to accumulate the experience and savvy to move big pieces of legislation highlights one of the draw-backs of term-limits.

Kraus Tax Cut Passes House

The House passed the Kraus tax cut yesterday with 104 votes.  Democratic Rep. Jeff Roorda joined Republicans. 

It’s expected that Governor Jay Nixon will veto the bill, calling on the legislature to protect education funding.

Republicans like their position this time around.  They successfully sold the tax cut to the “Flimsy 15.”  But more importantly, Nixon’s veto will bring an override vote while they’re in session.

Last summer, they felt like Nixon used the bully pulpit of the governor’s office to hammer them for weeks on end.  This time the fight is closer to their turf.

The key still – with two Republican vacancies – to an override will be Roorda.  He voted in favor of HB 253 last year only to flip and rally around his governor.  If he does so again – Nixon is popular in Jefferson County – and all other votes remain where they all, Republicans will fall short of the override.

Peace on the Third Floor

Holsy and MCN make-up?  A tweet last night from Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (her twitter account is protected) showed her and Sen. Jason Holsman chumming it up…

Follow-Up to The Kindest Sweetest Kids in the State

Post-Dispatch reports on the bill to ban corporal punishment in schools.  Read it here.

Pull Quote: “Through 13 years of teaching, Jennifer Kavanaugh never dreamed of hitting a child — not even once.  Kavanaugh, now a fifth-grade teacher at St. Margaret of Scotland School in St. Louis, previously taught in a school where children were physically punished for bad behavior, but she never participated…. Kavanaugh and about 30 of her fifth-grade students attended a hearing Wednesday on a bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, that would ban corporal punishment, or spanking, in both public and private schools in the state. The Senate Committee on Progress and Development unanimously passed the bill Wednesday afternoon... Missouri is one of 19 states that still allows corporal punishment in schools. The most recent states to ban it were New Mexico, in 2011, and Ohio, in 2009. Illinois also has a ban on this form of discipline, according to the Center for Effective Discipline, a National Child Protection Training Center program.”

One Eye on the Calendar

“Just decide and move on,” seems to be the attitude of advocates on the student transfer bill.  Four more weeks after today.  The calendar is starting to give proponents of all legislation sweating palms...

eMailbag: Softball Prediction

“You need to work on more accurate softball predictions. I really don't want to cancel my subscription but I generally only pay for the best insider info…”

Note from the “Editor:”  The speakers’ team which I predicted to win the charity softball tournament was an early exit, and We Got The Runs defended their title for a second straight championship.   All bow to Elijah Haahr, Lincoln Hough, Dave Hinson, Brian Grace, Robert Ross, Caleb Rowden, Eric Schmitt, and whoever else I’m missing.


Lobbyist Registrations

From the Gate Way Group website:

Gretchen Logue added Cooper Governmental Services.

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Nate Walker Committee - $70,000 from Nathan Belt Walker.

Unite Here TIP Missouri State and Local Fund - $20,000 from Unite Here per capita.

Kim Shaw for Judge - $10,000 from Kim Shaw.

Missourians for Fair Taxation - $50,000 from Missouri Association of REALTORS.

A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon - $8,522 from Platinum Health Care Inc.

Jarrell for Judge - $10,000 from Brad Jarrell.

Jarrell for Judge - $5,100 from Ann Polsgrove.


Happy birthdays to Sen. Ryan Silvey (38), Rep. Sue Allen, Joe Pierle, Gregg Hartley, Vivian Murphy, and Tom Rackers (73).