Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Q&A #1: What’s An Appropriate Missouri “Lean” Number?

Short answer: Definitely not +15 GOP.


First, a quick rundown of the latest polls tracking the US Senate race…

Axios/SurveyMonkey (See it here) weighted party affiliation as +15 GOP:  McCaskill 44% - Hawley 52%.

MOScout/Remington (See it here) weighted +9 GOP: McCaskill 45% - Hawley 47% .

Gravis (See it here) weighted +2 GOP: McCaskill 42% - Hawley 40%.

Notice the difference in GOP weighting between SurveyMonkey and Remington is 6 point and Hawley’s numbers drop a corresponding 5 points.  The difference between Remington and Gravis GOP weighting is another 7 points and Hawley’s number drops another 7 points.

So, crystal-ballers, the real question is: What’s an appropriate lean number for Missouri in the post-Obama era?

The factors to consider: Missouri traditionally has lower Democratic turnout in non-presidential cycles; The political party that holds the White House usually does worse in mid-term cycles; Trump’s net approval ratings are far below his 2018 win margin; Greitens’ scandals and investigations are a wildcard.


I asked a few Republicans and a few Democrats what thought…

Republican: +2 to +3 GOP.  Look at Blunt and Greitens’ 2018 win margins in [what was] a better climate.  [Trump-Hillary was a] complete outlier.

Democrat: Between +4 and +5 GOP.  Kander was the perfect Dem candidate against Blunt and he lost by 3.  Missourians voted for Koster twice and he faced a candidate wh,o at the time had less negatives, than Blunt.  He lost by 6.  So in 2018, +4 or 5 is probably safe. [But] if Gretiens is still in a scandal it could take it to +2 or +3 GOP.  Consultants who say Missouri is safe R due to Trump +19 don’t [understand] what exit polls said: it was a vote against Hillary.

Republican: +6 GOP.  But it could change depending on variables for Republicans.  Trump can motivate them.  The Greitens scandal could soften enthusiasm.  The Democrats are wound up and will turnout.

Democrat: I think Remington is close.  I’d say something like [+7 GOP].

Republican: +6 GOP.

Democrat: +5 GOP.


What it all might mean… This race swings on turnout.


AIM Hearts Utility Regulatory Change

In yet another sign that the utility bill has greater support than in previous sessions, AIM announced that they’re endorsing the legislation.

Here’s the press release: Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM), the state’s oldest business organization, today urged lawmakers to pass rate cap legislation, which would cut and cap electric rates in Missouri.

The business group says the compromise version of SB 564 that is before the House Utility Committee provides that benefits to utilities from the federal tax cuts must immediately flow to customers in the form of a 4-5% cut in electric rates. The legislation would also place a cap on rate increases for the first time in Missouri’s history, while preserving the Missouri Public Service Commission’s regulatory authority.

Associated Industries of Missouri praised the bipartisan compromise that allowed SB 564 to pass the Missouri Senate 25-6, becoming one of the first major pieces of legislation to pass that chamber this legislative session… Because most AIM members are manufacturers that depend on reliable and affordable electricity, the organization also supports provisions in SB 564 that will help modernize Missouri’s electric grid to make it more resilient and resistant to cyberattacks and increase reliability of the entire system.


Driving the Day

Attorney General Josh Hawley is set to kick-off his Senate campaign.  He’ll do a fly-around: Kansas City (9AM); Springfield (1PM) and St. Louis (6PM).


Politicos were aflutter by the Kansas City Star’s report about Wednesday’s “Roundtable discussion” led by President Donald Trump who will be in the state for a fundraiser for Hawley.  Apparently, Governor Eric Greitens’ non-invitation triggered disinvitations to other statewide office-holders.  See it here.


Senate Tax Reform First Steps

Last night the Senate debated their tax reform package, presented by Sen. Bill Eigel.  Sen. Dave Schatz added an amendment to increase the gas tax.  The bill has a long way to go, but getting floor time before spring break is a hopeful sign.


The House cranked through bill after bill in a pre-Spring Break rush.


Reliford Headed to Pfizer

Stacy Reliford writes on Facebook: As most of you know, I’ve been with the American Cancer Society for almost 13 years… And while I wasn't planning to leave this fantastic organization, I’ve received an opportunity for career change and growth I'm very excited about. I will be leaving my position at the end of this month to join Pfizer to do public affairs and advocacy work in Missouri, Kansas and Indiana.


Who is Carol Jones?

In the past few weeks a number of lobbyists have registered for “Carol Jones.”  There are now six registered:             Michael Winter, Nancy Giddens, Shannon Cooper, Randy Scherr, Brian Bernskoetter, and Mike Grote.

From what I can gather from court documents and sources, Carol Jones is the daughter of Samuel Goldstein.  Goldstein was an owner of Apex Oil, a St. Louis oil trading company.  According to court documents, “when Mr. Goldstein passed away in 2000, he had amassed a significant estate of approximately $100 million.” And his daughter received half of it.  But his son, Richard Goldstein, was treated differently.  His half was held in a trust by Bank of America.  It appears that over the years Richard has engaged in lawsuits to change the conditions of his dad’s will.

It appears that HB 1650 is the latest attempt to do so. Jones’ lobbyists are trying to keep trust law as it is, to protect their client’s interest.  Yet I couldn’t find any lobbyists registered on Goldstein’s behalf so it’s unclear who exactly is behind the push.

From the bill summary: There are currently certain circumstances under which a no-contest clause, in a trust instrument is unenforceable against an interested person. This bill adds the following circumstances: (1) Filing a motion, pleading, or other claim for relief concerning breach of trust by a trustee;  and (2) Filing a motion, pleading, or other claim for relief concerning removal of a trustee.


Greitens Scandal Bits

Beloved Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan writes that Greitens’ hairdresser scandal “is really a matter for the electorate rather than the Legislature or the courts.”


Also the Post-Dispatch reports that Dowd Bennett is handing off their representation of Governor Greitens in his Confide lawsuit to Bryan Cave.  See it here.  And that prosecutors turned over 131 of testimony and phone records to the governor’s defense team.  See it here.


Other Bits

Martin Rucker II in St. Louis tonight at the Schlafly Taproom for a fundraiser for his Senate 34 campaign.


Former Sen. Rita Days amended her campaign committee to run for mayor of Bel-Nor.


Washington Post interviews Joplin businessman Greg Scheurich about President Donald Trump’s tariff plans.  (See it here).  “For Scheurich, the perplexing thing about Trump’s tariffs on imported steel is that, in the name of helping U.S. steelmakers, the president may be dooming some other American companies such as his.”


Sen. Rob Schaaf says he’s being censored.  See it here.


New Candidate Filings

Courtland Sykes filed for US Senate as a Republican.

Joe Poor filed to run in Senate 28 as a Democrat.

Jean Evans filed for re-election in House 99.


New Committees

Phil Amato formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Phil Amato) to run for House 97 as a Republican.  David Linton, the Republican candidate last month’s special election, terminated his committee.

SHC PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is Kevin Carlie. The address appears to be related to Simmons Hanly Conroy.


Help Wanted

The Office of the Missouri Attorney General seeks Assistant Attorney General.  “The Office of the Missouri Attorney General is seeking an Assistant Attorney General for a position in the Government Affairs section in its Jefferson City office. This attorney will represent state agencies, boards, and commissions in litigation involving their administrative powers and actions, and will appear before administrative tribunals, circuit courts, and state appellate courts. Litigation experience preferred…”   See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Andy Blunt, Angela Schulte, Jay Reichard, Noel Torpey, Ginger Steinmetz, and Chris Moody added AutoReturn.

Harry Gallagher, Heath Clarkston, Doug Nelson and Kurt Schaefer added Ciox Health.

Jack Cardetti added Priorities USA.

William Cummings added Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP; and deleted Brevan Howard.

Cruz Giovanni Garibay added Enova Online Services Inc; and deleted CNU Online Holdings LLC.

Irl Scissors added National Strategies on behalf of Orange Barrel Media; and deleted Missouri Energy Initiative.

David Willis added Catalyst Group.

Thomas Campbell deleted Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc.


$5K+ Contributions

Citizens For Page - $200,000 from Edward Page.

Progress KC - $15,000 from Black & Veatch Corporation.

Progress KC - $10,000 from Lockton Companies.

Progress KC - $20,000 from HNTB Corporation.


Page is running for Associate Circuit Judge in Jefferson County.



Happy birthday to Brad Hudson.