Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2014 House Race Overview

One of the most important aspects from this month’s veto session was how close many of the override votes were.  The Republican legislature overrode a record-smashing ten bills. On four of those, the House mustered the necessary 109 votes, and not a single vote more.  Another override had just 110, and another received 111. 

On many of the bills, Speaker Tim Jones held the voting board open beyond the normal couple of minutes.  They were initially short the necessary numbers, but kept the vote open so supportive members could cajole and rally reluctant legislators to provide the final votes for an override.

Governor Jay Nixon has three more years before term limits end his tenure.  That may be three more veto sessions like this one – a Republican legislature banging its will against a Democratic veto pen.

The most immediate impact of this dynamic is to raise the stakes for next year’s legislative races.  Right now Republicans hold 109 seats, exactly the number to override the governor – if they all stick together.  Plus there is a vacancy (Jason Smith’s seat) that will be filled by a Republican eventually. 

Democrats have been a losing spiral for several cycles.  There are three reasons to believe the pattern won’t be reversed in 2014.

First, despite the fact that Republicans have extended their reach to historic margins, there are still vulnerable Democratic seats.  Republicans have been successful in winning areas that have a cultural tradition of voting Democratic, but favor Republicans on social issues.  They have also done some recruiting of labor-friendly Republicans where organized labor has a strong presence.  In other words, district-by-district they’ve been picking the lock in Democratic seats and winning, a few seats each cycle.

Second, 2014 will be an off-presidential cycle.  Conventional wisdom is that this favors the party that’s not in the White House.  Barack Obama’s unpopularity in Missouri may heighten this factor.

Finally, Republicans, as the power in power, are fundraising like gang-busters.  They’ll have more resources than Democrats.  One indication of this is that the recent House Republicans’ summer event raised about as much money as the House Democrats’ campaign committee spent in the entire 2012 election cycle.

Democrats have some reason for optimism however.  After years of Nixon’s seeming indifference to the legislative races, Democrats now have a crop of statewide leaders who have committed to helping them win races.  Attorney General Chris Koster has promised to raise money for them; and both Senator Claire McCaskill and state Treasurer Clint Zweifel have promised to be involved this cycle.

Additionally an old veteran of state politics, Roy Temple, has returned and is leading the state party.  He’ll bring a sharper – perhaps more biting – and unapologetic message to the fight.

Then there’s the possibility that Republicans will inadvertently help Democrats.  Former state representative Carl Bearden, now the state director for United for Missouri, was outraged by the Republicans who defected on the tax cut bill.  He produced a “Wall of Shame,” amid calls to find “real” Republicans to replace them.

If those moderate Republicans do fall to primary challenges from the right-side, Democrats will have a good shot to win those seats back.

The other Republican rumbling which could help Democrats is if the legislature puts a “right to work” proposal on the 2014 ballot.  2014 should be a turn-out snoozer.  The only statewide office up for election is auditor.  Right to work, though, would energize labor organizations to get their supporters to the polls.  And they’d be more naturally Democratic voters.

Poll: Dooley Way Up

Charlie Dooley’s camp released a polling yesterday.  The poll (500 respondents, a month ago August 19-22, +/- 4.4%) shows Dooley way up on potential primary challenger Steve Stenger 66% to 17% with 17% undecided.

Furthermore “Charlie Dooley leads the two tested Republican opponents in the vote preference for County Executive by the same margin (51% Dooley – 38% Republican – 11% undecided).”  I believe the two tested Republicans were Sens. Eric Schmitt and John Lamping.

The timing of the leak may be to move some resistant money off the fence before the end of the quarter…

Bathroom Gun Follow-Up

In this Columbia Missourian story, MDAGSA (Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America) call on Speaker Tim Jones to fire gun-forgetter Dave Evans.   And Jones’ chief of staff, Tom Smith, says that Evan will be taking a gun safety course in the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Rep. Stacey Newman tells Huffington Post her nightmare: “Late night on the House and Senate floors, we have people coming back from a dinner break that included alcohol… We have inebriated legislators arguing and we know there are weapons on the floor. It is a disaster waiting to happen. I've seen it and I've been scared.”  See it here.

MEC Fines Reed

St. Louis City Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed was fined $3,000 by the Missouri Ethics Commission for a failure to file timely 24-hour notices.  See the consent order here.

Quack Pack Genius

From Missouri Lottery Director May Scheve Reardon’s September Newsletter…

The Quack Pack has arrived! The Missouri Lottery is the first lottery in the nation to offer a "Duck Dynasty®" Scratchers ticket, and we couldn't be more excited! And, to be honest, I have to give the credit to my 14-year-old son, who said, "Hey, mom, Duck Dynasty would make a great Scratchers ticket!" The $2 game went on sale Friday…

It’s not exactly on par with Amy Carter helping her dad grasp the nuclear chessboard, but it did make on Dem email this snark: “We gave the lottery $4M more in their advertising budget and the great new marketing idea came from a 14 year-old kid who isn't even old enough to legally gamble. How would he know what would make a great scratchers ticket? And why would we want to market gambling to 14 year-olds? I want my $4 million back.”

Hanaway Must Not Be On Schweich’s Email List

Remember a few days ago when Auditor Tom Schweich sent an email blast imploring his fellow Republicans to ignore Sen. Kurt Schaefer and focus on him and 2014?

Well, Catherine Hanaway didn’t get the memo.

She tells Post-Dispatch that as she’s been traveling around, people are hungry for change, hungry for her to run for governor.  See it here.

Anyway Tom, while you’re busy running for re-election in 2014, you know what Catherine will be doing…

2014 Watch: Grigsby in House 51

Greg Grigsby filed a campaign committee to run for House 51.  That sets up a rematch.  Grigsby, a Democrat, lost to Rep. Dean Dohrman in their first meeting two years ago.  Dohrman won by 470 votes, although there was also a Libertarian candidate how siphoned off another 500 votes from Dohrman.  Dems hope that now that Dohrman has a voting record he’ll be an easier target.  According the court redistricting data, this should be a Dem district.  It’s DPI is 58%+.

2014 Watch: Vescovo in House 51

Missouri Times reports that Joe Vescovo will run for House 112 (Wieland termed) as a Republican.  See it here

Pull Quote: “Vescovo is not new to campaigning. He has run unsuccessfully twice for public office, once in 2012 for Jefferson County Council and once in 2012 for Jefferson County Assessor. But he says that should encourage, not discourage, people from supporting him.”

The other Republican who may run for that seat is Charles Groeteke who was on the Jefferson County Council before losing re-election (by 4 votes) in 2012.

Court redistricting data has the district as a 55.6% Democratic voting index.  No reason Dems, with a good candidate, shouldn’t pick this on up.

Bits

The ex-girlfriend of David Cosgrove, who served in the Holden administration, says he’s been posting nude pictures of her on Twitter… See it here.   And – in case you didn’t realize there’s a trend at play here, the New York Times yesterday does a story on “revenge porn.”  See it here.

Sherwood Smith, political director for Kansas City Fire Fighters Local 42, filed a committee to run for Jackson County  Legislature, At-Large District 1.

Rep. Jay Barnes posted another draft legislation of an attempt to create a Medicaid expansion that fits conservatives’ vision of  free-market healthcare.  This one is Paul Ryan’s.  See it here.

Springfield News-Leader doesn’t like Peter Kinder’s effort to get Missourians to resist the ObamaCare exchanges.  Read their editorial here.

eMailbag: Updated Advice From Deepthroat

“I don’t understand why we’re talking about Peter Kinder challenging Jason Smith.  Follow the consultants. Barklage & Knodell work for Smith. David Barklage would not have the clearance from Kinder to do this if he was contemplating a challenge.”

$5K+Contributions

Friends of Tom Schweich - $10,000 from August A Busch III.

Citizens to Elect John Wright - $25,000 from John Wright.

Midwest Region Laborers’ Political League Fund - $5,410.20 from Laborers’ Supplemental Dues Fund.

Missourians for Tim Jones - $10,000 from StudentsFirst.

Missourians for Tim Jones - $10,000 from RightCHOICE Managed Care.

Missourians for Tim Jones - $20,000 from RAI Services Co.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Strongman Jeff Roe, Lager’s Katie Reichard and Rep. Bryan Spencer (46).