Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Asbury Calls It Quits?

Yesterday afternoon Rep. Randy Asbury withdrew his candidacy from House 6.


One source who follows politics in that part of the state says that speculation is that Asbury was to some extant a victim of the redistricting map.  Asbury, according to this talk, recoiled from his plans to uproot his family, move his son to a new high school, in order to seek the new House district.


A few hours later, apparently coordinated, Ron Gillett stepped in and filed for House 6.  Two weeks ago, Gillett – a former ATT executive – had announced he would seek the Randolph County Commissioner spot.



Hughes Hammered

Rep. Jonas Hughes was hammered again by MO Ethics.  He paid $16K+ at the beginning of last year to be able to be seated as a state representative.  But since then he’s run up $7,600 in late fees for not filing reports.  It gets worse though.  The report (see it Here) is painful to read, but it includes the finding that Hughes converted campaign cash for personal use.  In total, he was fined $30,584.66.  One assumes he won’t pay it as his political is over.


It was potentially untimely ruling, as the House Dems were yesterday holding a press conference to unveil their new ethics legislation…  But it either escaped Republican notice, or they took mercy on Hughes – one of their congressional redistricting vote defectors.



Other MO Ethics Cases

Here are some of the other highlights from a batch of Ethics decisions last week:


A complaint was dismissed against Jeff Roorda alleging that he acted as a lobbyist for SLPOA without registering as a lobbyist.  Read it Here.



A complaint was dismissed against PICO, a network of faith-based organizations, alleging that they failed to put “paid for” on material relating to a ballot initiative.  I would assume we’re talking about the payday loan wars.  PICO is based in Oakland, California.  Read it Here.



Former state representative Craig Bland was fined $3,207 for making expenditures from the Freedom PAC even though he isn’t treasurer.  See the case paperwork Here.



Jasper County Straw Poll

At the Jasper County Republican Party Caucus last weekend, they held a straw poll for various Republican primaries in addition to the presidential preference (which Rick Santorum won).


While straw polls can give quirky, odd results, it’s surprising that Sarah Steelman finished third to the two St. Louis candidates; Peter Kinder had a fine showing in the area of the state he’s supposedly weakest.


US Senatorial Preference Straw Poll (307 people voting):

Todd Akin - 180 votes (58.6 %)

John Brunner - 84 votes (27.4 %)

Sarah Steelman - 43 votes (14.0 %)


Governor Preference Straw Poll (250 people voting):

Bill Randles – 77 votes  (30.8 %)

David Spence - 173 votes (69.2 %)


Lt. Gov. Preference Straw Poll (271 people voting):

Peter Kinder - 160 votes (59.0 %)

Brad Lager - 111 votes (41.0 %)


Secretary of State Preference Straw Poll (231 people voting):

Scott Rupp - 24 votes (10.4 %)

Shane Schoeller - 181 votes (78.3 %)

Bill  Stouffer - 26 votes (11.3 %)



Smith Batters Harris – In Twitter Fight

I missed the outbreak of a minor twitter-fight between former state senator Jeff Smith and GOP Operative James Harris last weekend.  Here’s a recap:


It started when Harris tweeted to a Politico reporter “tattling” on Smith’s well-known prison time: “@erikapolitico I read the comments on The Arena & noticed @JeffSmithMO commented. He’s a disgraced felon, not merely a former state senator.”


Smith replied, “.@JamesMNHarris @erikapolitico Thanks, James, for providing that information, as if I hadn't been upfront about it. #hatersgonnahate”


And then added: “MO tweeps: Any1 have $ figure of how many million @JamesMNHarris has spent on failed petition drives to overturn the Nonpartisan court plan?”


At that point Post-Dispatch editorial writer Tony Messenger jumped in with a helpful estimate: “@JeffSmithMO @jamesmnharris Hard to say for sure because he has always hidden some of the money in 501-c-4s, but easily multiple millions.”


Harris sticks to his line of attack: “@jeffSmithMO I would rather lose a campaign to being a felon who broke the trust given to you by the people. What was your prison ID number?”


At this point Smith unloads a series of tweets: “@JamesMNHarris I'd rather have a decent reputation w/ the ppl I worked with. I do. You don't. Everyone in JC knows you're a piece of shit.”


“Blast from the Past: In unprecedented move, MO Senators go to floor to rip lobbyist @JamesMNHarris by name: http://bit.ly/wbEH9h h/t @ssnich”


“@JamesMNHarris also, 36607-044. It's in my bio. Just another example of u not doing the legwork. Maybe that's why u couldn't make the ballot”


“Wow. Amazing how many encouraging DMs you get when you go after @JamesMNHarris.”


Harris retreats: “@jeffSmithMO aka little man. Who from your cell block do you use as character references? Have a good afternoon. #goodbye”



Schoemehl Supporter Strikes Back

In response to yesterday’s news that Rep. Scott Sifton is very likely to enter the Senate 1 race, one Sue Schoemehl supporter fired off a quick missive: “Don’t think… that Schoemehl will be strong armed out of a race that she has already spent more than a year and close to hundred thousand dollars on… Schoemehl who sports a perfect record with labor during her 8 years of service as a lawmaker, and has been in labor households all her life, is connecting with many rank and file labor…”


Ryan Nonnemaker, former staffer to Sen. Jason Crowell, has taken over as Majority Caucus communications director.



Tomorrow the House will begin debating the budget bills on the floor.



Tomorrow 12pm – in Sen. Scott Rupp’s Small Business Committee – two bills will be heard which would privatize Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company: Sen. Jim Lembke’s SB 624 and Sen. Eric Schmitt’s SB 660.



MO Budget Project says that Missouri state government faces “perennial shortfalls.” Read it Here.  The size of state government – in proportion to the economy – is “lowest in thirty years.”  Fiscal conservatives will likely read the headline and ask: what’s the problem?



Filing closes on week from today.



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Jim and Chris Moody added American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and deleted Family Health Partners.


Scott Marrs added Edwards Life Sciences.



$5K+ Contributions

MO Beverage PAC - $5,223 from Pepsi-Cola Company of St. Louis.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from Thompson Coburn LLP.