Thursday, November 17, 2011

The current LG rundown…

 

Sen. Luann Ridgeway

She declared yesterday that she was strongly considering entering the lieutenant governor’s race.  She’ll make that formal decision “probably by the end of the month.”  She cited the LG’s role on the key bodies of Missouri Development Finance Board and Missouri Housing Development Commission, as the reason she wanted to run, to rein in spending.  One source says she’s already putting a campaign team together…  I’d count her IN, but we’ll see.

 

 

Chris McKee  

My gut is that he’s not in the race at the end.  The negativity on electing a McKee to a position that has anything to do with tax credits is huge and venomous.  He may be the most capable person on Earth, but he should start his public service in a different capacity.

 

Once David Barklage runs the first poll, they will see that McKee’s candidacy can be torpedoed by the tax credit issue so easily that they’ll abandon the effort.

 

The campaign is expected to unveil some austerity and/or process proposals to inoculate against the inevitable attack.  But there is simply no defense against the easy and devastating 30 second commercial about McKee subsidies.

 

Comments I’ve received

“It seems to me that republican consultants have a real love affair for self-funding businessmen.   It makes for great paychecks…”

 

“He is smart, handsome, articulate, charming, and desperately in need of a new route to accomplish the family's policy goals, with the old tried-and-true ways apparently obsolete…”

 

 

Sen. Brad Lager

Lager biggest weakness is his previous inconsistencies on tax credits – hated on St. Louis historics credits, then proposed doubling the land assemblage credit, then voted against Aero credits in regular session, then called it the most important piece of legislation, then helped negotiate a compromise for special session, then voted against it again in special.

 

Opponents may also attempt to paint Lager as a healthcare lobbyist with all the baggage that comes with that label.  Sent to me this morning, a picture (See it Here) of Lager in his role as “senior strategic analysis” (fancy name for lobbyist?) for Cerner.  He’s wearing his senate pin and is with other Cerner execs and a congressman…

 

 

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Schmitt is still seriously considering the race.  My gut is that he enters.  If I had to place odds on it I’d say it’s 60-65% chance of happening.

 

If the defining issue of the race is tax credits, it gets interesting.  First, the issue is double-edged.  In the current environment, people want government to do something on the jobs front; but they also hate corporate welfare.

 

Furthermore each candidate has some weakness on the issue.  The worst is McKee who has no escape from the narrative of crony capitalism.  Lager is be called a flip-flopper.  He’s been too many places on the map to lay a righteous claim.

 

Ridgeway may be in the best position. Her weakness is only that she doesn’t understand the issue as well as the others in the race.  Also, like Lager, she has inconsistencies (voting for Aero before voting against, special session for her district’s auto plant).

 

Then there’s Schmitt.  While he was the champion and face for the China Hub credits which are presumably unpopular in outstate Missouri, his handle on the legislation gives him the chance to explain the potential benefits he saw.  And he has St. Louis business support without the McKee baggage.

 

 

Bits

MO Chamber unveils its legislative agenda.  See it Here.  One assumes that Speaker Steve Tilley, freed from the beast of politics, won’t rope-a-dope this session.  He can simply declare whether items like prevailing wage, project labor agreements and right to work will pass or die in the House… The guess is that they die, but Speaker-elect Tim Jones will likely be an aggressive supporter in January 2013…

 

 

Sarah Steelman touts Rasmussen poll showing she’s neck and neck with Sen. Claire McCaskill, 47-45.  See it Here.

 

 

Internet tax gains momentum… From Bloomberg: “Supporters say the move would give states, which are facing budget gaps compounded by anticipated cuts in federal assistance, a pot of revenue and end an unfair advantage for online retailers.”  Read it Here.

 

 

 

NYTimes: McCaskill = Flathead Catfish

This morning’s New York Times has a piece on vulnerable Democrats without strong Republican opponents.  Read it Here.

 

Pull Quote: “Even in Missouri, where Senator Claire McCaskill is the Democratic equivalent of the state’s flathead catfish — perpetually in open season — a group of Republican challengers have faced a series of setbacks, including fund-raising problems, and the state’s most popular Republicans declined to jump in the pool.”

 

 

Tweet of the Day

Missouri Chamberite Rich AuBuchon announced his nups yesterday to Gamble and Schlemeier’s Betsy Ledgerwood via twitter:

 

RichAuBuchon Richard AuBuchon

Introducing Betsy AuBuchon pic.twitter.com/99vRrw1v

 

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday tomorrow to: Rep. Mary Nichols, consultants Danny Powell and Tim Person (57)

 

Saturday b-days:  Former Rep. Kenny Jones (61).

 

Sunday b-days: Former Gov. Matt Blunt, Reps. Sharon Pace, Myron Neth (43), former Rep. Mike Vogt (48), and DNR’s Crystal Lovett.