I mean it just feels like we have a long month ahead of us…
Peter Kinder’s response ad to the Lager attacks. See it here. “So who is Brad Lager? A Jefferson City politician who voted to pour almost $500 million in Obama stimulus funds into a bloated state budget. Lager dodged the hard choices we need to make the state live within its means…”
Sarah Steelman’s campaign released their first television commercial. See it here. It criticizes John Brunner for the $10,000 donation his family charitable fund made to Humane Farming Association. It goes out of its way to place John Brunner as a resident of St. Louis, playing into the long-standing anti-St. Louis bias among outstate Republican voters.
“The ad’s not playing in St. Louis,” tips one Republican in case there was some fear among Steelman supporters that the ad would push St. Louis County voters to Brunner.
One lobbyist sees the dig as a career-long pattern of Steelman’s anti-St. Louis attitude that was manifest during her time in the state senate.
This One’s Gonna Hurt
Although that Steelman ad probably doesn’t do much damage to Brunner, the next one could…
In today’s Politico comes the revelation that Brunner was late on his taxes to pay his plane. Read it here.
This will tee up a strong commercial for the Steelman camp as it echoes Sen. Claire McCaskill’s troubles and reinforced the big-city, out-of-touch millionaire image of Brunner. Remember: there are no “issues” to attack Brunner on. He has no record.
What This Means
First, the most interesting piece of the article is reporter Dave Cantanese’s sourcing it from a Democratic operative. This means that the McCaskill camp is actively trying to hurt Brunner. It implies that he is the front-runner and not their preferred candidate.
Second, it highlights that fact that the Steelman campaign hasn’t had the professionals on-board; and McCaskill does. Steelman’s been running for a year, but this tax record opposition research is left on a reporter’s doorstep as a gift by the Democratic incumbent.
Last night in Clayton, Rep. Todd Richardson had a fundraiser which drew a bit of a Jefferson City crowd. Richardson is unopposed, but he’s viewed as a key player in the future of the Republican House caucus, so everyone is interested in being on-board.
Seen: Hosts Brian Grace, John Bardgett and Kim Tuttle; Speaker Steve Tilley, Speaker-elect Tim Jones, Reps. Sue Allen, Kurt Bahr, Cloria Brown, Scott Dieckhaus, Marsha Haefner, Dave Hinson, Mike Leara, and Budget chair-appointee Rick Stream; MO Chamber’s Dan Mehan, Tracy King, and Richard Moore, ATT’s Craig Unruh, Advantage Capital’s Jeff Craver, Blue Cross’ Dave Smith, MO Growth’s Ann Auer, MO Cable’s Chuck Simino, Posinelli’s Susan Moore, Express Scripts’ Michael Harrold, Neal English, David Jackson, and Eddy Justice.
So if Richardson has a future, where is it? What chairmanship will he have? Here was the talk at the event. Possibility Utilities Committees. Other in the running for that committee chair: Mike Cierpoit, Tony Dugger and Doug Funderburk. If not, Utilities, maybe Transportation. Also in the running for that committee chair: Tom Long. And possibility no chairmanship, but rather two vice-chair positions on strong committees, so that he has the most options for two years from now.
But the most telling comment was this: “Richardson isn’t the type to ask for a committee chairmanship. That’s what makes him such a power player in the caucus. Wherever he is, he’ll end up carrying some of the most important legislation next year because people trust him, and have confidence in his work. And he doesn’t ask for credit.”
From Jones’ introduction to the crowd a joke (kind of) about the fundraising frenzy: “Make sure you answer your telephones, I don't want any voicemail.”
Bulger for Rupp
From the morning in-box:
“I wanted you to be aware of a great event that Dave Glover from 97.1 The Dave Glover Show, and former Ram QB Marc Bulger are hosting for my campaign for Secretary of State…
“It is at Marc Bulger’s home, and Dave's Award winning BBQ team will be cooking all the food. This will be a very fun, laid back event poolside at the gorgeous home of one of St. Louis sports heroes.”
Wolff on Court Plan Change
On the air today across St. Louis public radio, former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Mike Wolff weighs in on the court change ballot proposal. Here are some excerpts:
“Missouri voters will have the opportunity in November to vote on a bad idea whose time, unfortunately, may have come. For years, a handful of right-leaning political donors has been trying to change how Missouri selects judges for the state’s supreme court and court of appeals. Constitutional Amendment No. 3, which the legislature proposes, is the product of these efforts...
“Does the current system take politics out of judicial selection? No. Frankly, no one has figured out how to do that. But the influence of partisan politics is limited under the current system. A governor cannot control the nominating commission. In my experience the commission takes its role seriously. Merit does matter. I never have doubted that the commission’s nominees were qualified, though at times I have thought that the commission could have made better choices. In a very common-sense way, the current nonpartisan system has checks and balances that make it difficult for a politician or for lawyers to control.
“So how do legislators – doing the bidding of their wealthy donors – propose to change our system of choosing judges? There are several details, but two are notable. They propose, first, that the governor be able to name a voting majority of the commission, and second, that the governor not be restricted to appointing only non-lawyers to the commission – the governor could appoint lawyers as a majority of the commission.
“Under proposed Amendment 3, the appointment of judges would be completely under the political control of the governor. A governor, any governor, needs major campaign donations to win office. The ultimate result of Amendment 3 is that wealthy campaign donors may determine who gets selected as judges, and merit may not matter…
“And what about the current system’s checks and balances? They would disappear. But perhaps the only checks that matter to legislators who endorsed these proposed changes are the checks that increase the balances in their campaign accounts…”
New York Times on St. Louis
And then this morning is a piece about airports with overcapacity. St. Louis’ Lambert airport figures prominently. Read it here.
Pull Quote: “As an airport, you need to go out and look at everything, things that a decade ago you wouldn’t have thought about,” Ms. Hamm-Niebruegge, the director of the St. Louis airport, said. “There is a growing opportunity to convert passenger planes into cargo planes. Does this business fit into Lambert’s future? It will need large spaces. A lot of carriers are not buying new ground equipment, but are rebuilding and refurbishing it, so that’s another industry cluster that’s starting to grow.”
From the Pelopidas website:
Jorgen Schlemeier and Jeff Brooks deleted Missourians for Responsible Government Inc.
Neal English deleted Creve Coeur Fire Protection District.
Gary Burton and James M. Foley deleted Hershewe Law Firm.
Jeffrey E Lewis deleted AT&T.
Lewis Melahn deleted Molina Healthcare Inc.
MO Republican Party - $25,000 from Emerson Electric Co.
McGhee for Senate - $10,000 from Missouri Club for Growth.
Pearce for Senate - $10,000 from Missouri Republican Leadership Council.
Missourians for Responsible Lending - $10,000 from MO Citizens Education Fund.
Give Missourians a Raise - $10,000 from MO Citizens Education Fund.
This morning’s report has Sen. David Pearce matching Rep. Mike McGhee’s fresh $10K from MO Club for Growth with $10K from MO Republican Leadership Council.
The Missouri Republican Leadership Council has been dormant for a while. It was formed in 2008 and chaired by John Danforth in the aftermath of the divisive “Prop 2” stem cell battle. Its stated goal was to “bring together Republicans around the state who believe in a Republican party that is unified by the basic tenets of fiscal responsibility and personal freedom, while allowing for diverse opinions on social issues by its members.”
Happy birthday to state treasurer candidate Cole McNary (48), PoliticMO’s Eli Yokley.
Scott Steele Passes
This was passed along to me yesterday:
Scott Steele: 1963 -2012. Longtime Republican operative Scott Steele lost his battle with cancer this weekend.
During the 1990s, Scott was the first Executive Director of the House Republican Campaign Committee, and he led the Senate Republican Campaign Committee as well. A resident of Jefferson County, Scott was so dedicated to the GOP cause that he often slept in the basement of the MRP office when he traveled to the state capital. Scott's hard work helped lay the foundation for the Republican Party's historic majorities in the General Assembly over the past decade. Since 2004, Scott served as president of SAS Consulting Group.
Scott will be remembered as dear friend and a tireless advocate for the Republican Party and conservative causes. A private family service is planned. Condolences may be sent to Layle & Richard Steele, 2304 Drake Lane, Ponca City, OK 74604.