Wednesday, July 20, 2011

EcoDev Go

The House and Senate sides have finally struck a deal on the economic development bill.  Look for an announcement today.  Yesterday Speaker Steve Tilley was calling House Dems, attempting to assemble the necessary commitments to call the legislature into special session if the governor demurs.


It’s said that Tilley will meet with Governor Jay Nixon today and lay out the deal with an ultimatum: either you call us into special session or we call ourselves.


I spoke to one Republican yesterday who thought the trouble with that plan might be on the other side of the building, getting to 26 senators.  However my own guessimate count doesn’t show any problem reaching the 3/4 threshold on the senate side.



Once we get a green light on a special session to run concurrent with veto session in September, that’ll give both sides of the Early Site Permit talks a hard deadline to cobble their deal back together.



The Jonas Effect

I spoke to a few politicos yesterday who are assuming that Sen. Robin Wright Jones won’t be in the Senate January 2013.  There are a number of ways her current Missouri Ethics Commission troubles could resolve, and several of them aren’t good.


The most likely scenario is that she ends up in a situation like Rep. Jonas Hughes did last session, with a large outstanding fine which must be paid off before she is seated next term.


Assuming that Wright Jones settles the question of the missing undocumented $90K from her campaign account, and furthermore assuming that she survives a primary challenge launched by her detractors, it seems inevitable that she will face a very significant fine from MEC. 


Wright Jones still hasn’t filed her October 2010 quarter, and the fines for that tardy report continue to accumulate with each passing week.


Her latest quarter showed some debt payments, an indication that like Hughes (and unlike Sen. Claire McCaskill) Wright Jones may lack the financial flexibility to address any substantial fine in time to return for a second term.



Supreme Court Handicapping Follow-Up

Here is some feedback on the Supreme Court nominees from two knowledgeable observers.


Observer #1

 I agree with you on Michael Manners.


Others to watch: Lisa White Hardwick, black judge on Kansas City Appeals Court.  She’s a Harvard Law graduate, really smart, writes well.


Joe Jacobson is a brilliant and accomplished lawyer who just won a major case for TWA pilots.


Mark Pfeiffer is trying to position himself as MATA favorite.  He’s only been an appeals judge a short time, but is running aggressive campaign.


Two other thoughts: If there is no black nominee, there is little or no reason for blacks to continue supporting the nonpartisan court plan.  And, 13 applicants is pathetically small number of applicants.



Observer #2

 While MATA has affection for Judge Michael Manners, he is already bumping up against the mandatory retirement of age 70. 


Judge Karen King Mitchell is the prosecutor’s choice, but criminal law issues rarely make it to the Missouri Supreme Court.    


Judge Mark Pfeiffer has close relationships in this administration, the support of defense lawyers and the trial bar. 



General versus Primary Money

One knock that the Ed Martin camp is making about Ann Wagner’s monster $520K quarter is that it’s loaded with general election money.  And after backing those funds out, plus assumed deferred expenses (Jeff Roe’s Axiom Strategies didn’t bill her before the quarter’s end), they say their cash on hand is in the same ball park.  It’s not.


I went through Wagner’s report yesterday and was surprised at the lack of general election contributions.  Only $25K, or less than 5% of the quarter, was designated for the general.


Martin works furiously hard, but Wagner might be a harder opponent to raise money against than Russ Carnahan, whom he could caricature and mock effortlessly.  Another lopsided quarter will suggest that Martin’s campaign style is less potent when running against a fellow Republican whose politics essentially mirror his own.



Brunner Bits

John Brunner, the businessman who would be senator, is said to be shopping for his campaign team.  And he’s casting his sights nationally.  The talk remains that he will be plowing millions of his wealth into the bid, and he seems determined to seek the best talent he can find rather than sign up one of the regular Missouri consultants.


And Brunner is in “no hurry” to jump into the fray.  An official kick-off is still probably a month or two away.



$5k+ Contributions

Ford Motor Company Civic Action Fund-Missouri - $15,000 from Ford Motor Company Action Fund.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $10,000 from Anheuser Busch Companies.




Happy birthday to Sen. Brad Lager (36).