Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Q&A #1: Does PA Mean Anything for MO?

Short answer: Whistle to the blue dogs.


From the New York TimesThe Democrat and Republican in a special House election in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Trump country were divided by a few hundred votes in a race that was too close to call early Wednesday — an ominous sign for Republicans in a district that Donald J. Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points.  With 100 percent of votes counted, Conor Lamb, a Democrat, was clinging to a 641-vote lead over Rick Saccone, a Republican. But one county in the four-county district had not yet counted its absentee ballots, so no winner had been declared as of Wednesday morning... But no matter the final outcome, Mr. Lamb’s strong showing demonstrated that the Trump-inspired energy propelling Democrats across the country is not confined to liberal-leaning regions. Republicans were left with the prospect of defending a far broader range of districts this fall than they had hoped. A first-time candidate and former Marine, Mr. Lamb, 33, forced Republicans to pour over $10 million into a southwestern Pennsylvania district where Democrats did not even field a candidate in the past two congressional elections….

There’s a danger in extrapolating too much from a single event.  However, there are two undisputable facts at this point: first, Trump is less popular than he was on Election Night; and second, Democrats are much more motivated than Republicans right now.

I expect both of those factors to remain in place for this year’s elections in Missouri.

And the third insight to draw from this very close Pennsylvania race is that Democrats ran a candidate who aligned with the district.  Again, from the NYTimes: Along with his military service and support for gun rights, Mr. Lamb’s opposition to Ms. Pelosi, which he highlighted in a TV ad, helped him win over some of the voters who were raised Democrats but have drifted to the Republican Party in this heavily unionized district.

Can Missouri Dems recruit candidates – the old Blue Dog Dems – who will reach districts Republicans have won and make them competitive again?


Driving the Day

8AM House Special Investigative Committee meets again.  Again at the Jefferson City Police Station, again closed to the public.

9AM House Budget Committee starts it mark-up of the budget bills.


Wieland Gets an Opponent

Sen. Paul Wieland drew a Democratic opponent yesterday.  Robert Butler, a Democrat, who ran unsuccessfully for House last cycle, filed in Senate 22.  Although incumbents are hard to beat, this district definitely gets added to the watch list for a variety of reasons.

First, the Senate battleground map is small this cycle.  With very few possible districts to win or lose, anything looking like it might be competitive will draw resources from both sides.

Second, Jefferson County, though now almost entirely red, was once a Democratic stronghold.  And Dems recently showed signs of life in this part of the state by out-performing and grabbing House 97 in a special election earlier this year.

Third, Butler fits the district.  Yes, he got stomped (60-40) by Rep. Rob Vescovo in the hosue race.  Still, he shouldn’t be underestimated.

Finally, it’s unclear where labor will be.  Wieland has generally – but not entirely – voted on their side.


Greitens Scandal Bits

KMOX reports (see it here) that the “Missouri House panel investigating Governor Eric Greitens is asking questions about whether he slapped his hairdesser lover for sleeping with her husband, according to an attorney who attended one of the closed-door sessions.”


KCStar report on the questions behind who’s paying Greitens’ legal bills (see it here).

Pull Quote: Facing a felony charge of invasion of privacy — and under investigation by a St. Louis grand jury and a state legislative committee — Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff are relying on two nonprofits to pay mounting legal bills. While not unusual at the federal level, the creation of legal defense funds is a new wrinkle in Missouri politics.

And for a governor who’s faced relentless criticism about his penchant for secrecy and reliance on anonymous campaign donations, the funds also open up Greitens and his staff to renewed questions about donor influence, conflicts of interest and government transparency…


Detroit News reports on Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser (see it here) whose name is on the paperwork for Greitens’ legal defense fund.  Weiser says that he’s read the court transcripts and is considering donating to the fund.


Auditor Nicole Galloway in an email fundraising blast doesn’t mention Greitens by name, but mentions his ethical quicksand he’s struggle to get out off… “As a Certified Fraud Examiner, one of the first things you look for in a corruption investigation is people who are compromised — desperation can create vulnerability to those seeking influence. We have a right to know what is being bought and paid for through donations to our embattled governor’s network of legal defense funds and dark money groups. That’s why I’m supporting a bill requiring any recipient of a state contract to disclose their anonymous contributions to dark money political organizations…”  See the bill she’s supporting, sponsored by Sen. Scott Sifton, here.


Follow-Up on Christian County Purity Test

The Christian County Headliner reports on the local Republican central committee denying former Rep. Ray Weter’s filing fees.  See it here“The Christian County Republican Central Committee has requested that Presiding Commissioner Ray Weter be excluded from the Republican ballot in the upcoming primary election… Ken Hurley, CCRCC secretary… declined to comment on the rationale behind the decision, citing potential litigation…Weter said he believes it is little more than a pretext for excluding candidates whose views don’t align with local party leadership….”


Walker Miffed at Dis

Rep. Cora Walker tweeted (see it here) her disappointment that Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty appointed Rep. Sarah Unsicker as the Minority Caucus Ranking Member to the House Committee on Children and Families, replacing Rep. Stacey Newman who is out with a hip replacement.

#BlackWomanatWork is being leapfrogged for ranking member on a committee, despite being the most tenured Dem on said committee (not to mention being an attorney who does this work outside of the #moleg) @SarahUnsicker”


Sifton Asks for Investigation

On the day of Hawley’s announcement for Senate, Sifton takes a shot….

The press release: State Senator Scott Sifton (D-Affton) today sent a letter to Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway requesting that the Missouri State Auditor’s Office investigate and determine whether public records generated by Attorney General Josh Hawley during his tenure as Attorney General and his tenure as a professor at the University of Missouri are required to be released under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.  “General Hawley’s political campaign paid a Washington D.C. law firm nearly $90,000 to help keep his public records out of public view,” Sen. Sifton said. “This is incredibly troubling. The Attorney General’s job is to enforce the Sunshine Law, not evade it. The people of Missouri deserve to know whether or not the Attorney General is following the Sunshine Law.”



American Cancer Society is hiring campaign staff and signature collectors as they work to put to smoke-free issues on the ballot in St Louis County and St Charles County.


After prodding from Rep. Kurt Bahr, St. Charles County released the list of candidates…

St. Charles Director of Elections: Adam Schwadron, Catherine Rouse, Douglas A. Funderburk, Kurt Bahr, and Arnie C. AC Dienoff.


One building denizen says that “Only in Schaaf’s mind is he being censored… This isn't a new issue…”  See a letter from the secretary of the senate here.


New Candidate Filings

Robert Butler filed to run for Senate 22 as a Democrat.

Alan Green filed for re-election in House 67.

Charles Triplett filed for House 98 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent is Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan.

Matt Doell filed for House 110 as a Democrat. This is Kirk Mathews’ district.

Dennis Lee Chilton filed for House 135 as a Republican.  The current incumbent is Republican Rep. Steve Helms.


New Committees

Victor Hurlbert formed a candidate committee (Victor S Hurlbert For Clay County Auditor) to run for auditor in Clay County as a Republican.

Samantha Wacker formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Cerutti Wacker) to run got prosecuting attorney in Franklin County as a Republican.

Brittney Barton formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Brittney Barton) to run for County Clerk in Ripley County as a Republican.

Bruce Earnhart formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Bruce Earnhart) to run for House 135 as an Independent.

David Linton formed a candidate committee (Linton For Missouri) to run for House 97 as a Republican.

Mich Thompson formed a candidate committee (Thompson For State Representative) to run for House 10 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent, Pat Conway, is termed.  Austin Montee, son of Susan Montee, has also filed for Dems.

Kevin Roach formed a candidate committee (Roach Campaign Committee) to run for auditor as a Republican.


Help Wanted

Service Employees International Union, Local 1 seeks Union Organizer.  “SEIU Local 1 has been on the cutting edge of building the power of low-wage workers in service industries and fighting for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice. We are now hiring Organizers in St. Louis, MO to work on exciting campaigns to organize higher education faculty…”  See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Rodney Boyd, Katherine Casas, Brian Grace, and Kelvin Simmons added Southwestern Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Missouri And Its Affiliates.

Bill Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, Kathryn Gamble, Jorgen Schlemeier, David Jackson, Jeffrey Brooks, and Sarah Topp added 1-800contacts Inc

Jane Dueker added Robertson Fire Protection District; and deleted Laclede Cab Company.

Carter Weil deleted Halcyon Capital Management LP.

James Avery deleted Schultz & Myers.

Bridget Sharpe deleted Professional Beauty Association.

Brian Grace deleted Pednet Coalition Inc.

Kelvin Simmons deleted Bridge Leadership Academy, and MCI Aviation Group, LLC.


$5K+ Contributions

AGC OF MO PAC - $6,000 from Fabick CAT.

Missourians for Patient Care - $20,000 from             Missourians for Patient Care.

Supporters of Health Research and Treatments - $22,500 from John McDonnell.



Happy birthday to Jason Klindt, Sara Howard, Mark Bruns, and Ryan DeBoef.