Tueday, August 16, 2011

Kinder Coup Coming?

The rumblings have started… “Peter Kinder needs to be replaced.”


Fear and Hope

Republicans are anxious not to repeat 2008 when Jay Nixon stomped Kenny Hulshof by 18 points.  Across the ballot, they worry what impact that kind of slaughter would have on their own political fortunes.  Says one, “I’m nervous as shit.”


And the flip side of fear is hope.  Another Republican points to the environment and says there’s no reason Republicans should accept a wounded candidate when they have a real shot to take out Nixon. 


They imagine that between Barack Obama’s team writing off Missouri (“they’re not even faking it…) and the Tea Party organizing of the past four years, there will be a significant turnout tilt in their favor.   Furthermore with Sen. Claire McCaskill vulnerable and Speaker Steve Tilley running strongly in the Lieutenant Governor slot, the stage is set for a rout.  But, according to this perspective, Kinder matched up against Nixon upsets this scenario.



New List

My previously listed possible replacements have each had a reason to demur:  Matt Blunt is making money and happy to be out; Jim Talent is all in for Mitt Romney; Tilley is laser focused on Lieutenant Governor…


Now comes fresh names…


Catherine Hanaway – the former speaker has been making money in the private sector, but maybe never quelled the itch for public service.  She knows the state, can raise the money and would be a savvy, experienced opponent on the campaign trail.


Blaine Luetkemeyer – the congressman obviously would be giving up his seat, but he’s on the edge of 60, and down the totem pole on seniority in DC, so he might be tempted.  He’s squeaky clean, fully-vetted, and can use his own wealth to seed a gubernatorial campaign.


Brad Lager – the ambitious state senator has already floated his name for a second state treasurer run.  Given the chance, he’d probably love to leap ahead of Tilley rather than have to wait in line for a decade for his own gov bid.  With the least name ID and smallest donor base, he’s the most surprising name on the list.



No Primary

All this however appears contingent on Kinder taking himself out of the race.  There’s no stomach for a primary, in large part because Kinder has earned – after two decades as a team player – that much respect.  But also because a primary is thought to defeat the larger purpose of beating Nixon.


One Republican who claims to know Kinder’s heart says that there’s “no way in hell” he would drop out.  “This is his World Series” he’s been waiting his whole life for.  While another thinks that Kinder strategist David Barklage is the main reason Kinder would stick it out despite the growing odds.


Regardless the most likely source to cause Kinder to consider to abandon his mission would be if he feels pressure from the high-end donors.  He’s said to have a big Springfield fundy with Haley Barbour teed up for September, and another Karl Rove event in Cape Girardeau later.  If he has trouble rounding out hosts committees, that could drive a reassessment.


On the other hand, if Team Kinder can string together a few solid weeks, the talk will likely dissipate.  The next month is critical.



Down, But Still Throwing Punches

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder claimed a minor victory with the resignation of Margaret Lineberry, Nixon’s topper at the Missouri Housing Development Corporation.  Jo Mannies at the Beacon has the story, Read it Here.


Team Kinder points to a letter they sent to Nixon a week ago which concluded with a flurry of questions: “Have you known about these lawsuits and the sanctions entered against Director Lineberry? Were you aware of any of the above information before Margaret Lineberry was made executive director MHDC? Do you continue to support her executive leadership on a Missouri Commission that greatly affects our economy, housing market and thousands of Missouri residents?”



Jones for AG?

Rep. Caleb Jones for Attorney General?  Seems a little early for the young lawmaker to jump to the state-wide stage, but his name is being floated.


Here’s the case for Caleb:

First, no Republicans have stepped up to challenge incumbent Chris Koster.  So he’d have a clear primary.


Second, he could have access to some business money which would like to derail the former trial attorney before he runs for governor in four or eight years.


Third, this may be as good an environment as Republicans will get for a while. 


The downside:  The reason Koster is without an opponent is because he’s demi-god of fundraising and has conscientiously stayed in the political middle.  That makes him a devil of an opponent to beat in any environment.


And, Jones would be risking his political career almost before it gets started…



Four for Assistant Floor?

When Assistant Floor Leader Jeanie Riddle announced during last session that she’d be stepping aside next cycle one of the reasons she gave was that she wanted to help create space in leadership for the large freshman class.


So far there are four freshmen taking her invitation and floating their names to run for that position.  They are: Reps. Kevin Elmer, Dave Hinson, Thomas Long and John McCaherty.



Special Session Talk

Sources say to look for the special session call to come later this week, and that, as expected, it will be the week before veto session in September.


I spoke to two people on the economic development spectrum – one in favor and one ambivalent.  They both expressed nervousness that the deal in place can’t hold forever.  From the pro-life community, conservative Republicans are getting grief about including MOSIRA.  And from the Tea Party wing, they’re getting pelted that Aerotropolis is “corporate welfare.”




Freshman Rep. Gary Cross had a killer fundy recently with over 100 people there and dozens of state representatives.  Headlining the event was former KC Chiefs (six-time pro bowler) star, Deron Cherry.



Sen. Jim Lembke’s Government Accountability Committee held a hearing concerning quasi-governmental insurance company, Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co.  Recent indictments of former board members and turnover have dented the insurer’s reputation.   Virginia Young has the story, Read it Here.  And the insurer added former state senator Mike Gibbons to their lobbying muscle (see below).



Congressman Sam Graves endorsed presidential candidate Rick Perry.



Add Rep. Rick Stream to the long list of representatives holding veto session fundraisers… His is slated for Tuesday September 13, from 5:30-7:30 at the MCTA office.




As we approach the day when Kinder is dead in the water but it is too late for another GOP candidate to get into the race with any shot at winning, the long odds that Nixon gets a primary from his left (where else?) get slightly shorter.  Some limousine liberal, who would never take the chance of wounding Nixon in a primary and leave him vulnerable to being taken out by a strong GOP challenger in November, might run a “Real Democrat” race if it is obvious that the Democratic nominee will win in 2012 no matter what.



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Mike Gibbons added Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company.

Lou Hamilton added Rimco Inc and WMI of Missouri.

Larry Rohrbach added Missouri Hospice & Palliative Care Association.