Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lembke Says He’s In Senate 1 Race

Yesterday Sen. Jim Lembke filed to run for re-election in Senate 1.  It will be an uphill battle.


He won an easier district in 2008 by a sliver – 70 votes.   Of course the political environment in 2012 won’t be a hard for Lembke as it was in 2008.


I spoke to two knowledgeable operatives yesterday – one Democratic, one Republican – and they both described the same scenario that Lembke needed: perfect storm.  Both thought it was possible for Lembke to pull it off, but the fates would have to conspire with him to make it happen.


One piece to that equation will be a destructive Democratic primary.  While it’s possible that a Sue SchoemehlScott Sifton primary does devolve into something like that, the Democratic source doesn’t think it will be bad enough to decimate the Dem before the general election.


That situation helped lift last cycle’s unlikely winner Sen. John Lamping to victory.  He benefited from thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of negative advertising spent between Barbara Fraser and Sam Page in their primary.


In Lembke’s favor is an uncanny ability to win close races.  In his 2008 senate race, he won by 70 votes; in 2006 he won by 568 votes; in 2004 he won by 280 votes; in 2002 he won by 589 votes.



Interesting to note, Lembke’s decision is the opposite of Congressman Russ Carnahan.  The liberal Carnahan, determining it would be hard to win crossover voters in a Republican district, is seeking a primary.  Will Lembke move from his far-right perch to woo Independents (or dare I say “Lembke Democrats”) in the Democratic-leaning district?



Rumorville: Jane’s Future

Although it’s said that Sen. Jane Cunningham has yet to decide on her political future, it appears that a statewide race is increasingly off the table.  Some had thought that she would either bigfoot Rep. Cole McNary in the state treasurer’s race, or join the crowded secretary of state’s primary.


However the duties of those offices don’t appeal to the legislative-minded Cunningham, and she’s not the type to seek an office as a stepping stone or waiting station.


One possibility mentioned is that she could become involved in a presidential campaign, and perhaps land a position in a new Republican administration working on her true passion: education.



Rumorville: Mike’s Future

Cierpiot for Assistant Floor?

Look for Rep. Mike Cierpiot to enter to the race for Assistant Floor Leader.  Also in the running are Reps. Tom Long and Dave Hinson.  It sounds like Rep. Kevin Elmer is no longer considering the position.  But there’s plenty of time for things to shift.



ESP Huddle

Yesterday Speaker Steve Tilley convened the various sides of the Early Site Permit debate into his office to see whether there was common ground.  While there was no big breakthrough, the hot hubbub among the lobbying corps afterwards involved the lobbying firm of Gamble and Schlemeier and two of their clients: Ameren and Walmart.


Ameren obviously is the prime mover and advocate behind the proposal to help them pay for the costs of obtaining the site permit for a new nuclear power plant.  But Walmart, previously in committee testimony and again yesterday, articulated strong opposition to ESP.


The talk in the building revolved around this conflict of interest.  How does Gamble and Schlemeier represent both sides of the debate?  In short, they don’t.


In the meeting yesterday and with regard to energy issues, they only represent Ameren’s interest.  It is an arrangement which Walmart accepts; they are on their own on this issue.


More on Walmart

Walmart’s staunch opposition to anything CWIP-ish is said to be rooted in a disastrous experience in Florida which costs the company millions.  Ameren says that their proposal has safeguards against morphing into a Florida-like scenario.  But Walmart apparently is worried that ESP is a beachhead, and figures fighting now is better than fighting later.




Meanwhile in the YouTube battlefield of the Utility Wars… FERAF’s “Say No to Ameren Bailout” is at 399 views, way behind MBEF’s “Noranda Pays Half” which has been viewed 91,620 times.




Auditor Tom Schweich, after making all kinds of noise to gain attention and insisting he was seriously considering the Senate race, disappointed dozens of supporters across the state by making the press circuit to explain why he won’t be running after all.



Rep. Jay Barnes blogs about his budget amendments which came as a result of the Mamtek investigation.  Read it Here.  The amendments funded a chief due diligence officer at the Department of Economic Development, and defunded use of the REMI model to project economic activity.



In yesterday’s Beacon interview (See it Here), Floor Leader Tim Jones indicated that the House was working on a state-level “Blunt Amendment” to allow employers to exclude contraceptives from their health insurance plans.  This will add another log to the Rush Limbaugh controversy, and help Democrats in competitive districts win Independent women.



Tomorrow night: Paul LeVota’s birthday fundraiser (for Senate 11) at the Point Bar & Grill; and Rep. Jason Kander’s fundraiser featuring Footloose creator Dean Pitchford at the Screenland Armour.



Cynthia Davis on the St. Charles Caucus

“This caucus epitomizes what is wrong with the Republican Party… Though Missouri does not have registration by party, I was told to leave because I am running for Lt. Governor on the Constitution Party ticket.  That should not have denied me the opportunity to participate no more than a Reagan Democrat should have been told to leave…  This is the kind of behavior that precipitated my decision to leave the Chairmanship of the Republican Party in St. Charles County and to run for Lt. Governor on the Constitution Party ticket.


“I truly feel sorry for those in the Republican Party, who are principled because they are in a hopeless situation, surrounded by those who have polluted the process by money and power.  Some people may think the elected officials are in charge, but it is really a very small group of puppeteers pulling the strings who are orchestrating a plan that defies freedom…”



New Candidate Filings

As noted above, Sen. Jim Lembke filed to run for reelection in Senate 1.



Perennial candidate Bill Haas withdrew from Congressional District 2, and filed to run in Senate 5 as a Democrat.  With Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford planning to file as well, we’re now looking at a four-way primary there.



Clint Hylton filed to run as a Democrat in House 8.  Hylton ran last cycle against Congressman Sam Graves, losing 70-30.



James Owen filed to run as a Democrat in House 134.  He’s a Springfield lawyer who ran in 2006, losing to B.J. March 55-45.



Damon Jones, son to Sen. Robin Wright Jones, filed to run as committeeman in the city’s 6th Ward.



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


James M. Foley and Dawn Heidbreder added Unite Here Local 74

Anna Thompson added Medtronic Inc.



$5K+ Contributions

MO Democratic State Committee - $20,000 from Operating Engineers Local 101.

MO House Democratic Campaign Committee - $20,000 from Citizens for Mike Talboy.

Kander for Missouri - $10,000 from Andrew OBrien.

Citizens to Elect Tom Hurst - $10,000 from Tom Hurst.

Missourians for Koster - $7,760 from QC Holdings Inc.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from Langdon & Emison.

Missourians for Koster - $5,000 from James Nutter.




Happy birthdays to Rep. Thomas Long (44), Painters’ Clay Rodgers (45), and Trent Summers (33).