Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Here Comes Spence

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence begins television commercials today.  The word from his camp is that it is “heavy.”  Though I couldn’t get a dollar amount they insist that it will run in every media market in the state.


“Creating jobs is what I do.”  See the Ad Here.


Behind the buy is an internal poll which offers the path for Spence’s victory.  It was a deep sample – 800 likely voters.


It showed all the things that people are concerned about the direction of things; Nixon’s approval while wide is very thin and includes Republicans (who Spence supporters believe will ultimately “come home.”


From the Poll

The national right direction / wrong track numbers are 24/70, with 57% feeling strongly that things are on the wrong track.


State right direction / wrong track negative, though not as negative.  It’s 40/51.  But only 8% strongly think things are headed in right direction, while 24% strongly feel they’re on the wrong track.


President Barack Obama’s is “toxic” with high portion of electorate.  His Missouri favorable/unfavorable is 45-53, but his very unfavorable is most of the unfavs, 42%.


Generic gubernatorial ballot question: if election for governor were today would you vote for the Republican or the Democrat, yielded a toss-up race 49-50.


Governor Jay Nixon’s approvals are mid 60s, but his strong approval is only 14%.


23% say they’ll definitely vote to replace Nixon, and 21% say they’ll definitely vote to reelection him.



The Roadmap

Spence’s team plans to run on the economy, highlighting bad numbers whenever they emerge, like the recent December data that had Missouri suffering the highest job loss of any state.  They’ll tie Nixon to Obama on stimulus money and Obamacare in the rural areas especially to remind those naturally conservative voters that Nixon is a Democrat in an attempt to drive them home to the Republican nominee.



Students First

One interesting nugget in the recent lobbyist registrations was the pickup of Students First by Scott Penman and David Winton. Students First is the new education reform advocacy group started by former DC superintendent Michelle Rhee. This hire is intriguing on two levels.


First, substantively speaking, it could have a real impact on education policy. (The group plans to focus on 3 issues in MO: tying teacher evaluation to rigorous use of data, reforming (i.e., limiting) tenure, and expanding the reach of charter schools. Rhee has vowed to raise and spend $100 million on advocacy efforts during this cycle.  Furthermore the group has limited their focus to just 13 states. That means they are likely to spend several million here.


Second, it’s intriguing that they decided to hire one of the Capitol’s only identifiably Democratic-leaning firms to represent them. Though they’ve already retained Scott Swain as their lead lobbyist, it’s notable that they picked up Penman and Winton because the combination offers real prospects for success. Swain may be able to help with some of the skeptical rural Republicans whose most influential constituents are often superintendents and even longtime principals, while Penman and Winton may be able to soften the opposition of a few of the urban Democrats, namely Sens. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Robin Wright Jones.


In any case, the investment by a leading national organization is one more sign suggesting that the unusual confluence of circumstances this year (Turner and the unaccredited districts, KC’s collapse, the need for a formula fix) makes the passage of a major education bill as likely as it’s been in 5 years.



CD-1 Primary Quarter

Congressman Lacy Clay raised $121,099 last quarter and has $386,679 on-hand.  That’s mildly better than his last quarter, and a better than average showing for Clay, but it’s not gang-busters.


We’re still waiting on Congressman Russ Carnahan’s quarter.  He finished the October quarter with $393,535 on-hand, so unless he has a disaster of a quarter he should have at least a $100K money advantage over Clay.



2012 Watch

Pam Murray started a campaign committee to run as a Democrat in House 49.  That would be Jeanie Riddle’s district if she weren’t running for Senate.  It’s a 60-40 GOP district.


Kathy Swan started a campaign committee to run as a Republican in House 147.  That’s in Rep. Wayne Wallingford’s district who has said he’ll run in Senate 3.



Both of these new committee formations highlight the absolute pile-up that is going to occur when filing opens and the new senate districts are not in place.  Presumably when the secretary of state’s office uses the old Senate district, folks like Riddle and Wallingford will file to run for re-election for their House districts since they don’t qualify to run in the old 2001 Senate districts – which the secretary of state’s office will use in the absence of new districts.



Dems on AFSCME

“The thing that Dems have issue with regarding AFSCME and Jeff Mazur is not necessarily that they gave money to Ryan Silvey, Speaker Steve Tilley and the others. Rather, they seem to ignore Dems all together (or do token amounts to 2 or 3) when it comes to donations and just act as if Dems should simply bow to their will when they need to pass or stop something. That is a dangerous game to play come a year from now when Rep. Tim Jones is in the big chair.”



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Dennis Brown added Equipment Leasing and Finance Association.

Chris Moody added Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Christopher H Wiltse added Leading Age Missouri.



$5K+ Contributions

Yes for Cares - $10,000 from Cottleville Professional Firefighters Association.

A Safer Missouri - $885,000 from Rex Sinquefield.

Montee for Missouri - $10,000 from Kenneth McClain.

Spence for Governor - $5,000 from Richard Vaur.

Spence for Governor - $15,000 from Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging LLC.




Happy birthday to Sen. Robin Wright-Jones (62).