Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Special Report: First Look at 2014 Legislative Races

In the Special Report section of the website today, you will find a new document.  This is the first of a few reports this week.  It’s a starter “cheat sheet” for the 2014 races.

See Cheat Sheet here.

Overview

The House

We are in the ebb of the term limit tide.  There are lots of incumbents and very few non-incumbents going into this cycle.  The House has ten representative facing term limits.  There are another five that are not termed but will likely vacate to seek a senate seat; the Jason Smith vacancy, and Rep. Chris Molendorp is not expected to run for re-election. That means we’re looking at one hundred-forty six (146) districts with incumbents seeking re-election.  Because incumbents do not often lose, those districts are less likely to switch parties. 

And while most of these non-incumbent situations involve Republicans, the ones that involve Democrats (Ed Schieffer, Steve Hodges, Jeff Roorda all leaving) are particularly vulnerable.

So a “first look” back of the envelope forecast suggests very little change in the balance of the House.  My dartboard toss would be: Dems +1 right now.

The Senate

Not much in play on the Senate side.  Really only three or four question marks.  I think Republicans (Jeanie Riddle) take the redistricted Senate 10 from Dems.   My guess would be that Dems (Jill Schupp) take back Senate 24 with John Lamping not running.  And I think Dems will hold Senate 22 (McKenna termed) in a fierce battle.  If these three forecasts came to pass, the Senate’s partisan numbers would be unchanged.

There are wildcard scenarios – Schaaf is in a tight district – to keep an eye on, but I think it will be a relatively stable cycle.

2014 Watch

Much of determining how 2014 goes will depend on the environment.  So in keeping one eye on that… Rasmussen polls the generic congressional ballot as essentially a tie: Dems 40%; GOP 39%.  See it here.

2015 Watch

In St. Louis, there’s been speculation that Board President Lewis Reed is vulnerable to a challenge after his unsuccessful bid for mayor earlier this year. 

Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, who has been mentioned as a possible opponent, and Reed are both having big fundraisers this week.  Although Krewson herself has only mentioned reelection to her ward seat so far, people will inevitably compare and contrast.

If Krewson’s host committee is any indication (see it here), Reed may have his hands full.

The State of the Safety Net

The New York Times economic blog has two interesting pieces up on the nation’s “safety net” programs.  The first – here – looks at evidence that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (welfare) is no longer responsive to economic downturns.  That is, its enrollment should rise when people lose their jobs, and it didn’t this last recession.  However enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) did increase as one would expect. 

The blogger concludes: “But the fact is that markets fail, and when they do, income and food supports must rise to protect the most economically vulnerable families… let’s get this straight: the poor and their advocates were not the ones who tanked the economy.  Nor should they be on the defensive when the safety net expands to offset some of the damage.  The right question at such times is thus not why the SNAP rolls are so high.  It’s whether SNAP, unemployment insurance, T.A.N.F. et al are expanding adequately to meet the needs of the poor.”

The second piece – here – might answer the question of how the poor are utilizing the safety net differently as TANF no longer responds to a recession.  It looks at the long-term rise in the nation’s disability program, and the theory that the program “increasingly serves as a safety net for people who cannot find jobs – people, that is, who might still have the ability to perform at least some kinds of work…”    But there’s a difference between someone going on TANF and some going on disability.  “The difference is important because disability insurance is a very sticky kind of safety net.  Historically, few people who qualify for disability during downturns return to the work force during rebounds, creating a twofold drag: Fewer workers and more people depending on each of those workers to pay their taxes.”

MO Ethics Fines

The Missouri Ethics Commission fined three public officials in the Village of Claycomo $1,100 for failing to put a “paid for” disclaimer on flyers they distributed and for using public resources to advocate for the ballot issue.  The issue was a tax increase.  The public officials were: Jim Stoufer (chairman of the board of trustees), Cindy Small (village clerk), and Matt Coonce (police chief).  See the consent order here.

Also, the MEC fined the St. Charles Lincoln County Fire PAC and its treasurer Justin Darrell $22,100 for late and inaccurate campaign finance reports.  See it here.

Help Wanted

Sick of working for a chain? Come to work for a family-owned and oeprated newspaper that values enterprise journalism and rewards hard work.  The Warren County Record, an award-winning, weekly newspaper, needs a seasoned managing editor  to oversee  coverage of county and municipal beats, courts and general news. This position requires substaintal reporting responsibilities.  Five year's experience in community journalism preferred.   See the ad here.

And

Speaker Tim Jones is on the radio this morning, filling in for Jamie Allman at St. Louis’ FM97.1.  Listen here.

$5K+Contributions

MO State Democratic Committee - $10,000 from AT&T.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Jessica Hodgedeleted Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors.

Birthday

Happy birthdays to the mighty Jason Rosenbaum (29) and St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia.