Friday, March 16, 2012


Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford announced at two Democratic ward meetings last night that she intended to run in Senate 5, joining Rep. Jamilah Nasheed and incumbent Sen. Robin Wright Jones.


My early analysis (read something I wrote two months ago Here) is that instead of the normal expectation that Nasheed and Wright Jones will split the black vote, it’s more likely that Wright Jones and Oxford split the progressive vote.


It’s quite possible that Wright Jones will find herself without a base and finish third in this race.


Oxford plans to file either March 22 or March 26.


The Facebook Announcement

After much reflection and many conversations, I have decided to run for senator in the 5th Missouri senatorial district. Today I shared that decision at public meetings for the first time. Running for senator will be a huge challenge, and I promise to bring my best self to it. I hope that when the primary is over, my friendships with my opponents will be stronger and deeper. That may be a lot to ask, but it's certainly what I hope.



Senate Grades

Rob Mayer - B

There are still plenty of critics, and things almost boiled over when he let 100 bills pile up without being referred to committee.


It may be a matter of lowered expectations – no one now thinks that Mayer as pro tem means that “things are going to get done;” it may be that a fair number of caucus members are much less engaged – Rupp and Stouffer for SOS; Lager for LG; Ridgeway for PSC; Lembke and Cunningham for survival; Schaefer for self; and Goodman for going home.


But (with a few exceptions) the caucus seems to have wearied from fighting with itself.  Even everyone’s favorite problem child – Jason Crowell – hasn’t been causing many problems.


As a consequence things appear to be running more smoothly and Mayer gets a better grade than last session at this point.



Tom Dempsey – A-

Writes on lobbyist: “Dempsey is an automatic for an A.  Caucus likes him; he has a plan; and have you never hear anyone say, ‘Dempsey just lied to me’ or ‘Dempsey just F'd me.’"


With help, he worked through the Dems filibusters and moved the priority bills of discrimination law and workers compensation to the governor’s desk before Spring Break.



Kurt Schaefer - Incomplete

There’s wide variance in feelings about Schaefer.  Some applaud his bravado: “You gotta give props to Kurt Schaefer… he’s following the first rule of politics, which is look out for yourself above all others.  Threw a big turd in the punch bowl, which is reverberating through the house and Congressional maps, but he's getting what he wants.”


Others disparage his map crusade: “Sen. Schaefer being so distracted by the maps that he hasn’t presented a Senate plan for the budget.  The Senate is virtually rudderless because there is no plan on the budget.”


I’ll give him an Incomplete while we wait and see if his map manueverings come back and bite him on the rear or not.



Gang of Reasonable Republicans – B+

The level-headed caucus is quietly building the future of the Senate into a place where reasonable policies can move forward without being hijacked by the ‘Just Say No’ members.  If you want to advance anything of note, you’re starting to see where your allies are.  Mike Kehoe: willing to push the path of most resistance (a new nuke plant, state employee raises) for public policy ends.   Mike Parson: humble, and careful to build consensus without pushing too hard; quickly shuttered his filing date bill when he saw it was going to ruffle feathers.  Eric Schmitt: taking a lower profile after Aerotropolis special session, but helping behind the scenes on technical issues and fast on his feet on the floor.



Jack Goodman – A

Goodman is going out on a high note with his parole and probations reform bill, an unexpected success in an election year.



David Pearce – C-

Pearce is in danger of failing this session.  He has got to get tough with Jane Cunningham, and get his education bill out of his own committee.



Dems – B

Led by filibuster queen, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, the Dems have struck the right balance.  They’ve put up a stink on the issues that they oppose, but they haven’t been so obnoxious about it as to trigger talk about the nuclear option (PQ) from Republicans.


Between the Democratic governor’s veto pen and the House Dems slender veto-sustaining minority, they’re calculating that the final outcome will be acceptable.


But critics are angered that they acted as individuals when it came to redistricting rather than thinking about the Senate for the next ten years working back to a veto-sustaining minority.  In the end Schaefer was a better friend of future Democratic senators than the Dems themselves.




NYTimes on the first Missouri county to caucus.  Read it Here.  Spoiler: Rick Santorum won it.



Assuming that Tom Schweich files in the next eleven days, how will he propel himself into the money hunt?  Two words: Fox and SuperPAC.



Susan Montee announced that the Carpenters Union endorsed her LG bid, a big boost to her effort to cement her frontrunner status.



Sen. Jim Lembke tells Jo Mannies that he trying to decide whether to run in a Democratic-leaning Senate 1, or primary Republican Sen. Eric SchmittRead it Here.



New Candidate Filings

Bob Rubino filed to run as a Democrat in House 139.  The Republican incumbent is Rep. Kevin Elmer.  It’s a 65-35 Republican district.



As a fulfillment of the “Drebes jinx” the very day I write that Rep. Ryan Silvey is still without an opponent in Senate 17, Sandra Reeves filed to run as a Democrat in Senate 17.  Reeves ran unsuccessfully for Clay County Collector of Revenues in 2010.



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Scott Swain deleted National Tobacco Company and Missouri Energy Group.



$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for Koster - $10,002 from Pelopidas LLC.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $8,560 from Talisen Technologies.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $20,000 from James S McLane.

Missourians for Ed Martin - $10,000 from Emerson Electric Co.

Parson for State Senate - $5,000 from Right Choice Managed Care.

Kander for Missouri - $5,000 from David Steward.




Happy birthdays to MO Healthcare’s Jon Dolan, and former state representative Tom Villa (67).


Saturday: Rep. Billy Pat Wright (75), former representative Tom Self (45), lobbyist Todd Smith (53), and Earl Simms (33).


Sunday: Mayor Francis Slay (57), and McCaskill’s Tod Martin.