Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Molendorp Eyes Exit

Rep. Chris Molendorp will not run for re-election in 2014.  Molendorp, chair of the Health Insurance Committee, is said to have multiple motivations for the decision, including spending more time with this family.

But making that sacrifice would likely be more acceptable if his political prospects beyond 2016 looked more attractive.  Molendorp is in Senate 31 and would be unlikely to upset the incumbent Ed Emery in a primary. 

Additionally, Molendorp is a legislator who might feel increasing out-of-tune with the “red meat” orientation of the supermajority.  Shiria Law and Agenda 21 are probably not a strong enticement for someone like Molendorp to stick around.

Molendorp was the original sponsor of the health exchanges legislation, which was later pummeled by the Senate for surrendering to ObamaCare.

According to the court redistricting data, House 56 is about 55% Republican Voting Index.

Anti-Temple Caucus Coalesces

Over the weekend, KC Star’s Steve Kraske wrote a piece about the fight for control of the State Democratic Party.  He describes former Carnahan aide Roy Temple as the likely new chair of the party.  See it here (thanks to the peerless John Combest).  I received a few calls on this yesterday – all from folks distressed at the idea of Temple in the big seat.

There are two main objections.  First, Temple has been on an uncanny losing streak during the last decade or so.  Last cycle he helped Judy Baker who got stomped in the lieutenant governor primary; he helped Crystal Williams who lost her state senate primary; and he helped the cigarette tax increase which started with strong polling before being punctured by Jeff Roe’s opposition advertising.

Before that he was with Jeff Harris in his losing attorney general primary and Steve Gaw in his losing congressional primary.  

And of course the big ones, incumbent U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan getting beat by Jim Talent; and Governor Bob Holden getting beaten in the primary by Claire McCaskill. (Holden may be the only sitting governor in Missouri history to lose in a primary.  Readers – help me out here, anyone else?)

Anyway, the point is that detractors say Temple can’t claim to be especially good at winning races.  And for those who think that winning and losing is as much about luck and circumstances as skills, I guess the question is:  Is Temple at the end of his electoral slump?  Or still in the middle of it? 

Second, critics of Temple wonder how (or even if) he will disentangle himself from his consulting firm, Groundswell Public Strategies.  How would there not be a conflict of interest? Where would his role as party chair end, and his position as paid consultant, or firm rainmaker, begin?

Finally, it’s interesting to notes who is not mentioned in the Kraske article: Chris Koster.  In my conversations yesterday, Koster, the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee is said to be the one who will ultimately decide what the party’s apparatus looks like.  And yet he seems to be flying below the radar on this.  That might be a good strategy as some state committee members will bristle at a preordained “coup” when they meet this Saturday.  But in the end, Koster will have to live with the outcome regardless.

Rupp Not Moving

It’s said that Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, in his pursuit of the Senate 2 seat, was implying to lobbyists that Sen. Scott Rupp would be resigning soon – and that he had the committee votes in hand to win a special election nomination easily.

Rupp, in fact, has no plans to vacate his seat ahead of 2014.  And one wonders if raising the prospect of a special is a way for Gatsch to juice his fundraising.  His opponent, Bob Onder, has recorded a few large checks in the last couple of days.

Ponder Again

Yesterday Governor Jay Nixon made several appointments to boards and commissions.   See them here.

Among the appointments were to Labor and Industrial Relations (attorney John Larson Jr.), and to the Highways and Transportation Commission (Kelley M. Martin - Kansas City; Gregg C. Smith - Clinton).

But most interesting was Michael Ponder to the University of Missouri Board of Curators.  He was formerly on the State Board of Education, and when Nixon tried this appointment during session, Ponder had to be pulled because several senators vented their frustration over the foundation formula as well as the common core “controversy.”

They’ll face confirmation in January.

Nieves: Nixon Bamboozled

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed SB 267 yesterday.  Sen. Brian Nieves, the bill sponsor, responded on Facebook…

“Governor Nixon just vetoed my ‘Civil Liberties Defense Act’ (SB267) apparently without reading it!! Any governor, of any state, has the authority to veto any bill that is put on their desk right? The answer to the question is yes BUT... Seems as tho said governor might want to be able to at least give the appearance that they have at least read the bill before vetoing it!

“Governor Nixon just vetoed my ‘Civil Liberties Defense Act’ (SB267) apparently without reading it!! i just read the letter where he describes why he vetoed it and the letter seems to confirm that he either didn't read it, has been bamboozled, or is just straight up lying! I find it hard to believe that he would lie so I have to guess he either didn't read it OR allowed himself to be Bamboozled by the ACLU!

“I've attached the link to the bill so you all can show the governor you are smarter than him by actually reading it! If you read the bill and then read his made up, silly excuse as to why he vetoed it, you almost have to laugh! Sad thing is... It's NOT funny! A sitting governor should not allow lies and untruths to be the basis of their action! Oh, wait... This is the same governor who seems to think it's OK to turn over the names, pictures, social security numbers etc of 163,000 Law Abiding Missouri Citizens who hold a CCW Permit over to the federal government!”

Bits

Buzzfeed has an article about the internal turmoil of what it calls “America’s Most Conservative, Most Christian Political Consulting Firm.”  That’d be Strategy Group for Media where John Hancock signed on earlier this year.  See the article here.

The Office of the Missouri Attorney General is seeking an Assistant Attorney General for a line attorney position in the Agriculture and Environment Division in its Jefferson City office. See job ad here.

Rep. Jill Schupp started her state senate campaign committee.  See it here.

Roll Call offers “10 Things to Know about Jason Smith” ahead of his election today. (Thanks to Axiom’s Morning News).  See it here.

$5K+Contributions

KC BizPAC - $10,000 from Hallmark Cards Inc.

Dooley for St. Louis County - $5,640 from U-Gas.

Onder for Missouri - $5,001 from Doug Mueller.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Kimberly Tuttle added KTCO LLC.

Shirley Breeze deleted Missouri Women’s Network.

Julie Murphy Finn deleted Ameren and Missouri Coalition for Data Centers.

James M Fischer deleted Laclede Gas Company.

Michael R Gibbons and Tricia Workman deleted Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors.

William J. Kuehling deleted Green Street Properties.

Richard I. Martin deleted IGPS Company LLC.

Mary Mosley deleted MO Women’s Network and MO National Organization for Women.

Michael F. Nichols deleted University of Missouri.

Condolences

To Sen. Tom Dempsey on the passing of this mother.  See obituary here.