Thursday, July 28, 2012

The Day

It’s healthcare day.  Supreme Court decision at 9am CST.  Politico gives the national win-lose scenarios here.


Missouri Winner and Losers

Cynic Overview: Both parties’ bases are true believers on this issue.  To keep them engaged, they both want to use the issue.  Ergo, it probably doesn’t die.



If the Supreme Court upholds the whole law as constitutional.  It would seem to take the air out of the anti-Obamacare attacks.  Opponents would then have to two options.


First, they could go the radical route of denying the authority of the Supreme Court and continuing the fight implementation.  That gets them into militia fringe territory – no way to win elections.


Second, they launch “repeal Obamacare” efforts.   The problem would be if they have to argue the specifics of the legislation.  Most of it is actually popular.  Are Republicans going to write stump speeches extolling the good old days when insurance companies could deny coverage on pre-existing conditions?



If the Supreme Court strikes down significant portions of the law, Republicans will dance the vindication dance while demoralized Dems will likely just go to back to bed and regroup later. They’ll still be able to point to a broken healthcare system and call the GOP a status quo, roadblock party.


Biggest winner (either way really): Peter Kinder who saw the political fortune early and jumped into the parade marshal position.  He can say that he was a soldier on the battlefield fighting Obamacare and they prevailed (or fought the good fight).



AG’s Race

Chris Koster’s dream scenario is that they break the law along the lines which he did: that the mandate for individuals to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, and that the rest of it should stand.  That would align with his narrative as a honest broker attorney general not playing politics, but reading the law.


Ed Martin will write something with his blow-horn regardless, so he probably doesn’t have anything to lose either way.


Governor’s Race

Governor Jay Nixon’s current quagmire (see below) should melt away with clarity from the Supreme Court.  He’s a kind of law-and order kind of guy.  He’ll just follow the High Court.



Nixon on Cunningham’s Prop C

Following up on reporter Adam Allington’s piece the other day in which Governor Jay Nixon dissed the Obama healthcare law, Nixon was asked at a press conference yesterday how he voted on the Prop C in the summer of 2010.


His response was painful (see it here) ending with “the individual action I took was consistent with that position.”


Translation: individual action = vote;  that position = against the mandate to buy health insurance; consistent = he voted Yes.  I think.



St. Louis Race

In last week’s St. Louis American, former Congressman Bill Clay fired a warning shot to the Democratic establishment.  He said that the 1st Congressional primary between his son, incumbent Congressman Lacy Clay, and incumbent Congressman Russ Carnahan, could have a “chilling effect.”  Read it here.


Clay’s warning was aimed at Sen. Claire McCaskill and other statewide Democrats who count on black St. Louis turnout in their electoral victory equations.  But, as big as that race is, there are several races in St. Louis City which could amplify resentment among African American politicos – depending on the outcome.


In Senate 5 (50.8% voting age black population), Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford is scoring ward endorsements and could take this one against penny-less Sen. Robin Wright Jones and court-fatigued Rep. Jamilah Nasheed.


In House 78 (52.8% voting age black population), former MOBudget staffer Ruth Ehresman is running a serious campaign.  She’s said to be backed by former state senator Joan Bray.  Incumbent Penny Hubbard has the legendary Hubbard machine powering her re-election.  But she also has a second African American candidate.  He’s young and his campaign seems haphazard. But there’s not a lot of room for error for Hubbard.


In House 79 (58.2% voting age black population), Martin Casas is running an exceptional campaign, outworking and out-raising his opponent, former Wright Jones LA Michael Butler.


In House 84 (57.6 voting age black population), Mike Owens (a white former TV personality) is hitting the doors and has central corridor support as he runs against two African Americans (Rep. Karla May, and former Rep. Hope Whitehead) engaged in a grudge match.


If the white candidates were to win all these races (some more likely than others, but all within the reasonable realm of possibility), that would have a chilling effect.  It would return a St. Louis delegation without an African American state senator, and with three less African American state representatives.


And – important for McCaskill – this August outcome would create resentment for November.  I doubt though it keeps African Americans from coming out to vote for Barack Obama.




Auditor Tom Schweich scolded Attorney General Chris Koster for accepting campaign contributions from law firms seeking business with the state.  See it here.


Glass Office

A few weeks ago, Schweich took $100,000 from an interested party and then wrote a fiscal note even though he said he wouldn’t write other fiscal notes because it was unclear if he has the constitutional authority.



How Big Can Small Reactors Be?

Last week South Carolina officials had a press conference to talk about their pursuit of the small nuclear reactors.  That’s the federal grant that Ameren is also in the hunt for.  See it here.


Two things stick out.  First, they say the potential for this new industry is $100 billion.  That’s the sort of number underscores the opportunity for this to be an economic “game-changer.”


Second, the companies competing in South Carolina are offering a guarantee of sorts: “I hasten to add that we don't believe in government hand-outs. Accordingly, we have informed the DOE in writing that Holtec will refund the money to the government, without any alibi or excuses, if we fail to develop and license our reactor.”



Campaign Bits

Secretary of State

One observer says that Rep. Shane Schoeller “is doing what he needs to – nailing down southwest Missouri and traveling to St. Charles once a week.  Those are the two pools of votes.”



Senate 5

The consensus among observers now is that Sen. Robin Wright Jones will have a dismal July quarter and will finish the race in third, perhaps even in single digits.  And word is that Rep. Jamilah Nasheed recently landed a $5K check, a sign perhaps that after a month of uncertainty, donors are starting to re-engage this race.



Senate 7

Rep. Jason Holsman awaits word from MNEA as he shoots for the teachers’ union trifecta.  He’s landed MSTA and AFT so far…




Tea Party lobbyist, SLPOA bad-boy Gary Wiegert has a new radio show starting this week on St. Louis’ WGNU.  It’s at Noon on Fridays…



Comcast interviews politicos in their “newsmakers” series.  Reps. Jerry Nolte, Ryan Silvey, and Jeanie Lauer, “Senator” Paul LeVota, and County Exec Mike Sanders are all interviewed.  See it here.


St. Louis Business Journal running an online poll on GOP LG race.  Vote here.



Governor Jay Nixon signed the charter school expansion/accountability bill.  He also vetoed the bill to let rural kids attend public schools closer to their homes.  Read it here.




On Al Hanson and MRL

“The basic thing about Al Hanson and MRL is right. But Hanson won in 2002 and had just one opponent. His name was Jay Kanzler. He was handpicked by Jack Danforth and again my recollection is he had a pretty impressive resume. That didn't matter: Hanson 65.4%; Kanzler 34.6%.  Down ballot primaries can be quite interesting especially when none of the candidates have statewide name recognition.”


On Carol Martin and TSA

“Hmmm. I wonder if she thought of just throwing the shampoo in the trash bin and buying some more or borrowing some when she got to Chicago. She might have saved $23 and her time traipsing indignantly back to check her bag.”



$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Brad Lager - $10,000 from Smithfield Foods Inc.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from Cerner Corporation.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from Zimmerman Properties LLC.

Kander for Missouri - $5,001 from Citizen for Stephen Webber.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $15,000 from The Associated General Contractors.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from 11th Senatorial Leadership Committee.

Citizens for Brad Lager - $15,000 from Kansas City Power & Light Co.

Spence for Governor - $10,000 from Drury Development Corp.

Montee for Missouri - $15,000 from CHIPP Political Account.





Lobbyists’ Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Thomas L Robinson added Kansas City Power and Light.

Alex T Eaton deleted Missouri Biotechnology Association.


Registration Exegesis

Eaton’s last day at MOBio is tomorrow.  He will report to Senate 19 on Monday as campaign manager for Sen. Kurt Schaefer’s re-election bid.




Happy birthdays to guru Nancy Rice (59), Ben DeClue,


Tomorrow: Sen. Tim Green (49)


Saturday: former state senator Pat Dougherty (64)


Sunday: former state senator Maida Coleman (58), and former Reps. Connie Johnson (43) and Charlie Norr (68), and state rep candidate Matthew Block (27).