Ron Richard, Floor Leader
Tom Dempsey was elected Pro Tem yesterday at the Republican Senate caucus.
But the surprise development was the election of Sen. Ron Richard to Floor Leader. Sen. Mike Parson was expected to take that position.
Here’s one explanation for the course of events that led to this outcome. Richard has been talking about the race in an on-and-off way for months. At some point, it’s said, that he and Parson reached an understanding that Richard wouldn’t run. One possibility is that Parson would stay at the Floor Leader position, and allow Richard to leapfrog him into the Pro Tem spot down the road.
According to this source that deal broke down recently and Richard re-engaged in the race. One factor that agitated Richard to renege on his pledge was Parson’s signing of former speaker Steve Tilley as a consultant.
Richard’s crew – the southwest corner and allies – though maxed out around seven or eight votes. Word circulating yesterday was they were able to expand their bloc by appealing to senators like Mike Kehoe – who was subsequently elected to Assistant Floor. Kehoe perhaps brought along senators like John Lamping.
What it Means
First, I have almost no confidence in Ron Richard to run the Senate floor. Perhaps he will grow into the job. But he has said maybe a dozen words on the floor during his first two years. (Odds skyrocketed that trying to teach Richard the rules of the Senate will accelerate Terry Spieler’s journey toward retirement.)
I am amazed that the caucus voted him into this position without any exhibition of the skills and characteristics necessary to be successful. He may be one of the least patience individuals in the Senate, and again near the bottom of the scale of those who care about the legislative details that often lie at the heart of finding compromise.
Second, this complicates life for Democratic Minority Leader Jolie Justus. Richard is likely more brutish in his legislative approach. This may be a step toward the Housification of the Senate. We’ll see.
Finally, several individuals framed this as a reaction against the influence of Tilley. Rex Sinquefield was also mentioned. Parson received large checks from Sinquefield last month. One politico said Richard’s election was more about what his priorities would not be: Rex’s agenda, or things that were lockstep with the House. Because Tilley has strong friendships with Speaker Tim Jones and House Leader John Diehl, they were nervous of another close friend, Parson, running the Senate floor.
First Move to a Greater Goup?
“It seems some senators aren't good at keeping their word. Once again, the Senate starts divided. And if Dempsey stumbles, Ron and his new coalition will pounce.”
One hallway source thinks it’s interesting that there are no Ag guys on the Republican Senate leadership team.
House Dem Leadership
Minority Leader – Jake Hummel
Assistant Minority Leader – Gail McCann Beatty
Whip – John Rizzo
Caucus Chair – Steve Webb
Caucus Vice Chair – Chris Kelly
Caucus Secretary – Genise Montecillo
Policy Chair – Judy Morgan
Reader: All Bow to MOScout
Your list of winners has a glaring omission: MO Scout.
Out of every single general election race in the state, House, Senate and Statewide (over 190 candidates in 95 races), Missouri Scout predicted 87 of them correctly. That is a 92% success rate. Every single race predicted incorrectly had a low degree of confidence cautioning people not to rely on the prediction too hard as the race could be close. Missouri Scout predicted every statewide correctly, all but one of the senate races correctly, and missed only 7 out of 81 house races.
To the best of my knowledge, no one in the history of this state has provided such reliable and documented predictions.
You should be proud of yourself!
According to my in-box, the 2014 cycle has officially begun…
What: Re-Election Kickoff for Maria Chappelle-Nadal
When: Sunday, December 9th
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Where: The Mandarin House, 9150 Overland Plaza, Overland, MO 63114
Suggested Contributions: $50 | $100 | $250 | $500 | $1,000
For More Information: www.MariaforMissouri.com
MO Democratic State Committee - $10,000 from Sanders for Jackson County.
Jay Nixon for Missouri - $70,000 from LIUNA PAC.
Tomorrow: Chris Schappe (42)
Sunday: Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst (65), former Reps. Tom Shively (66), and Terry Young (55).