Speaker Steve Tilley has tapped David Willis as his new chief of staff. Willis takes the place of Aaron Willard who is now executive director of the House Republican Campaign Committee. Willis has worked with House Republicans for some time, and within the speaker’s office. It is in Obama parlance a “no drama” decision, keeping continuity and competence in that position.
Conspiracy Theory on Cunningham
Looking at the coming Jane Cunningham for Congress campaign, one observer sees the dominoes dropping in a way that’s beneficial to other Republicans.
Here’s that scenario: Cunningham runs for Congress; Rep. Tim Jones runs for her Senate seat; Rep. John Diehl immediately moves up and runs for Speaker, setting up a four-year reign there. There would be a lot of winners in this outcome: it would ease the coming redistricting crunch in St. Louis County, keeps stem-cell business interests safe, and maybe even avoid a divisive leadership collision.
The obvious (and critical) weakness in this scenario is that there’s no clarity in Senate redistricting. There’s no reason to think that Cunningham’s 7th District would be accommodating for Jones.
Camp Cunningham, as ideological as they are on politics, is pragmatic when it comes to campaigns. She’s been smart to wait on an official announcement, and it would be a surprise to see her cut off her escape route even once she does jump in.
What that means: smart money thinks she won’t feel nailed to a bid even after she’s raises money in earnest. And if she feels after a quarter or two that the field is not shaping up into something she can win, she’d reverse course and settle back down for four more years in the senate where she can return to her joyful war against the educational establishment.
Zweifel Re-Elect Kick-off
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel will kick off his re-election campaign in Forest Park on June 22. The invite is topped with hosts Governor Jay Nixon, former governor Bob Holden, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Mayor Francis Slay. Look for a healthy showing from both organized labor and corporate interests.
Zweifel remains a favorite with party faithful looking toward 2016 – after Nixon. AG Chris Koster is still not fully trusted; and SOS Robin Carnahan had a dismal performance last cycle.
Reader: Kinder Confusion
One reader writes about yesterday’s “lack of enthusiasm” piece by Catanese with an interesting take from Republicans:
“I have been told by several Republicans that Peter Kinder will not run for governor despite all the suggestions that he will. Given your comments today I ran this by one of the best Republican minds in the state and he said it was all a head game and that in the end the inside money was that Kinder jumps into the Senate race. Who knows for sure but the fact that insiders are not sure he is even running for governor says a lot.”
Drebes: Kinder Runs
Why? Look at those big checks. You can’t go “upstream” with them. That is, you can’t take $100,000 from a Humpreys for a Missouri race and then use it for a congressional race. And I just don’t see a politician giving that kind of money up and starting over into a primary. He’s running for governor, but the last point is still salient.
Governor Rick Perry – coming to pitch for Kinder soon – says he might do the presidential run thing. Read it Here.
Bin Laden bounce gone, President Barack Obama approval numbers back below 50%. Bad news for Dems, but… remember things cannot be as bad as 2010 for Dems.
From one Rep down in Joplin yesterday: the situation is both heartbreaking (the devastation) and heartening (the outpouring of help). “I’m really glad I went.”
Hitting the $5k+ Contributions yesterday was a $10k check to AG Chris Koster from Evergreen Investments LLC. That’s the corporation related to the Plasters, of “Village Law fame (Memory Shake Here). Koster was among the filibustering senators against the repeal of that law a few sessions ago. At the time the explanation was that Dems were running out the clock to keep other bills from having a chance to pass.
Lobbyist Principal Changes
From the Pelopidas website:
Craig Van Matre added UM Board of Curators.
Democratic Attorneys General Association Missouri - $10,000 from Tyson Foods.
Happy birthdays today to Ameren torturer Diana Vuylsteke, and veteran lobbyist Lon Lowery.
And Saturday, Speaker Steve Tilley hits the big 4-0.