Friday, October 14, 2011

No Bench

Sen. Claire McCaskill announced that she put up another killer quarter, raising $1.2 million.  Everyone says that regardless of the impressive fundraising totals, she’s still vulnerable after three years as a Friend of Barack.


Obama’s unpopularity and the opportunities it creates for Republicans heightened the dearth of seasoned political talent within the GOP’s ranks.  This is apparent in the names which are mentioned as possible Kinder replacements should he drop.  It’s apparent in the lack of opposition to AG Chris Koster, and Treasurer Clint Zweifel.


But it’s most glaring among the Republican Senate candidates to face McCaskill.  John Brunner is the perfect foil for McCaskill (self-funding businessman with no votes on record) – on paper.  But so far the reviews of Brunner in person are underwhelming.  Rep. Todd Akin is universally recognized as a half-step right of insanity.  And Sarah Steelman has struggled to put the beginning, middle and end in the right order when answering questions.


The huge Republican majorities in the two chambers will eventually yield a crop of capable candidates, but this year it’s slim pickings.



Clint on Track

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s political team says they’re ahead of plan.  And the plan was written to put them ahead of where they were four years ago. His October quarter will likely be in the $175K ballpark, with lots of new donors.


Beyond the bank account number (which is higher than it was four years ago) is the less tangible advantages.  Zweifel has spent the last four years traveling the state and expanding his office’s programs.  And he never shut down his political operations. 


2012 is expected to be a much harder year for Democrats than 2008, but Zweifel’s particular path seems easier.  In addition to greater financial strength, he doesn’t face a primary.  (Four years ago he was in a four-way, and ran his hand-on down to $10,000 to get to the general).  In fact he doesn’t face anyone yet as Sen. Brad Lager circles in a holding pattern over the governor’s race.



Silvey Quarter

Rep. Ryan Silvey, running for Senate 17, filed a solid October quarter.  He raised $48K, and now has $105K on-hand.  One interesting item from the report is an expenditure for mail.  It’s paid to Axiom Strategies.  In each of his previous cycles, Silvey has been at odds with the Republican war-lord Jeff Roe.  It now appears a peace has been reached, which removes a potential headache for his 2012 aspirations.



Appellate Commission Meets

The appellate commission met yesterday to hear testimony concerning the maps they will draw for state House and Senate districts.  A few thoughts about the commission:


First, the judges were faced with the internal question whether would view themselves as commissioners or as judges.  The two officials operate by different protocol.  They have chosen to act as judges.  That means there will be no ex parte discussions.  Since yesterday was their only public meeting, the input process is over.


Second, except for Lisa Hardwick who served on the Jackson County legislature, these six judges have no prior experience as elected officials.  Because of this, they may be less prone than say former state legislators to instill political underpinnings into the map.


Finally, the above two factors may lead to their work being completed at a faster pace than the general consensus has expected.



Occupy the Golf Course!

Yesterday’s golf fundraiser for Rep. Caleb Jones raised $30K, largely from the Jeff City crowd.  One source noted Boeing’s father-son lobbyists Dick and Sam Wiles were on the tees, an indication that there’s no hard feeling for Jones’ sponsorship of the F35 resolution.  The steak dinner afterwards had about 150 local supporters writing checks and chowing.



Wednesday, Sen. Eric Schmitt’s golf event in Forest Park had a good turnout as well.  One donor quipped that the Aerotropolis slog hasn’t affected his golf game. Schmitt “showed off a sweet swing on the Par 3, winning closest to the pin!”




I am told that the three nominees for the vacancy on the Supreme Court interviewed last week with Governor Jay Nixon’s staff, and this week with the governor.



Rep. Jason Kander picked up another endorsement in his Secretary of State bid… American Federation of Teachers Missouri.



On the plate at the Rick Perry luncheon yesterday: cornish game hen.  Salivate Here.



$5K+ Contributions

Teamsters Local Union NO 688 PAC - $11,011 from I.B.T. Drive.

MO Senate Democratic Campaign Committee - $6,000 from U-Gas Inc.

Committee to Elect Tom Flanigan - $25,000 from David and Debra Humphreys.

MEDA PAC - $10,000 from Empire District Electric.

MEDA PAC - $10,000 from Laclede Gas Company.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc. - $10,000 from Anheuser- Busch Inc.