Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Revenues Look Solid

We’ll be getting another month of numbers next week, and state revenues still look strong in comparison to last year’s dismal performance.


Look for the month to be about 10% ahead of March 2010 and for the fiscal year to date numbers to show about 6.5%-ish gains.


Once more with feeling… that’s in excess of the projection upon which the governor’s withholds are based.  The fiscal year is now three-quarters over.  Linda Luebbering will likely again give another cautious assessment to justify the governor’s office plans to hold the money over for next year rather than release the withholds.


On the Senate floor yesterday, Sens. Jason Crowell and Brad Lager spoke about the unconstitutional nature of withholding appropriations when the money is clearly available.  But they seemed flummoxed about what to do about it…



The Diehl Map

Rep. John Diehl unveiled the House congressional redistricting map yesterday.  See it Here.  One critic called it the “Diehl for Congress” map, perhaps because it freezes Sen. Tom Dempsey out of the 2-CD which Rep. Todd Akin may be vacating (see below), and puts him (and Sen. Scott Rupp) in the Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer  “3rd.”  Diehl, though, says he’s not running.


It seems that most congressional delegations have gripes with the map.  (We’ll see if their reaction differs with the Senate map – to be unveiled tomorrow!)


As I wrote yesterday the Rep. Sam Graves district is absolutely huge, now extending across the top of the Missouri.  And the Rep. Jo Ann Emerson district moves north, which doesn’t seem to bother the incumbent as much as future prospects in the southeast corner.  In the words of one source, “This is a thirty year map.  That’s the last time Missouri gained or lost a seat.  These districts will change every ten years, but they will be marginal changes comparatively.  So the power base in the district is thinking long-term.”  They’re skittish that the move north will hurt them down the road.  The Luetkemeyer district gets Cole County.  He was described by one source as “livid,” and Rep. Billy Long is said to be “unhappy, but will live with whatever.”


The approximate voting indexes of the districts give Rep. Lacy Clay and Emanuel Cleaver strong Democratic districts.  Clay near 80%; Cleaver in the 65% range.  The other six districts all lean Republican.  They are in the 53-55% range, except for the Akin district which is at the bottom of the range and closer to 52%.



Why Carnahan Survives
Media reports focused on the disappearance of Rep. Russ Carnahan’s district.  The conventional wisdom now is that he’s a dead rep walking.  But here’s why he can return to Washington DC:

It looks as if, according to this map, the 1-CD will include St. Louis suburbs of Clayton, Olivette, University City as well as all of South St. Louis.  The racial calculation (and a Clay-Carnahan campaign ultimately hinges on racial calculations) goes like this:


While there are blacks in these suburbs (approximately 15-20% of Olivette, 50% of U-City, and a majority of several neighborhoods in near south St. Louis City), they don’t vote in as high of rates as the whites there. This is because blacks younger (less likely to be voting age) and less well-educated (less likely to vote).   

That means there might be enough white people in the district that, with a good ground game and turn-out, Carnahan could win without any black crossover votes. 


Furthermore Carnahan is more likely than Lacy Clay to win crossover votes. His name is solid among St.  Louis blacks, and conversely the Clay name does not have the same positive connotations among most St. Louis whites.  


Finally, there is personal history.  Carnahan hasn’t always run the strongest of campaigns, but at least he experienced tough challenges before. He took some knocks from Jeanette Mott Oxford in his first state leg primary in 2000, a barrage in his 2004 congressional squeaker against a crowded field, and then everything Ed Martin could muster in his narrow win last year.  Clay, meanwhile, was handed his state house and state senate seats through daddy-engineered machinery.  His 2000 congressional primary against now County Executive Charlie Dooley was somewhat more difficult, but never in doubt.

Clay, having never run a real campaign, may not have the capacity to do so.  He has never raised much money whereas Carnahan showed he can when his seat is on the line. He raised $2.1 million last cycle.



The future is unknown.  A third candidate could come out of nowhere and run up in the middle with an anti-dynasty message.  As one observer put it, “Imagine their first debate:


Lacy: yuh-huh
Russ: Nuh-uh
Lacy: yuh-huh
Russ: MOM!
Lacy: DAD!!!”



Decision Akin

A good source says that Rep. Todd Akin will announce his Senatorial intentions next week without tipping what the announcement will be.  The conventional wisdom around the Capitol has shifted strongly, and the current expectation fall heavily in the camp that Akin is in.



Senate Bits

Jeff Schaeperkoetter’s nomination to the tax commission was sent back to Governor Jay Nixon yesterday.  He’d been put on ice by the Senate as some senators were concerned about reports from his past.  If you care, read this.



Sen. Eric Schmitt was struck with bad timing for SB 203 to come to the floor.  The tax credit for sporting events followed a morning of railing against the explosive growth in tax credit programs.  And Schmitt still has the “big idea” China Hub tax credit looming, a proposal which has transformative potential.  So it was tough to see him expend political capital on a relatively small-ball bill which it became increasingly clear had not been drafted as crisply as it should have been. 



Sen. Brad Lager said on the Senate floor yesterday that he has asked Schmitt in Caucus if he would accept tax credit reform in exchange for the Aerotropolis tax credit.  He said Schmitt didn’t answer.  But it’s an intriguing suggestion because after a decade of historic tax credits, St. Louis civvies might consider shifting the emphasis from rehabbing building – a great deal of which has been accomplished – to building the international trade hub…




I pretty much always avoid these sorts of victory laps.  Our business humbles everyone but the fool who will never be humble. (Someone will surely text me to remind me of my stunning trifecta of Destefano, Stratman and Page last cycle – oy!)  And yet I can’t resist to reprint this dead-on bit from six months ago…


From MOScout September 29, 2010

In fact it seems that the 3rd district Congressman in January 2011 – likely Russ Carnahan – may well be the guy searching for a chair when the music stops. And he doesn’t appear to have much influence with the orchestra.


None of the likely main players in the map-drawing process served with him in the state House or calls him a friend. Governor Jay Nixon, who will have veto power, has never been a big fan of Carnahan. His sister’s influence could help, depending on her political capital in 2011. It would be somewhat harder to snub a sitting U.S. Senator than a Secretary of State, but victory isn’t looking likely for her.


And Lacy Clay and Russ, who have never been particularly close, could end up in a war that makes the 2000 Gephardt-Clay skirmish look like Romper Room. Because Russ, who lives just two blocks from the northern border of the current 3rd, might be more tempted to primary Lacy in a newly-configured, citywide-plus-North County 1st than he would be to try his luck against Todd Akin in the new 2nd, a west St. Louis county-based district which could trade its St. Charles County tentacle to the 9th (Luetkemeyer) in exchange for parts of moderately conservative South St. Louis County now in the 3rd.



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Bill Shoehigh added National Association of Vision Care Plans, and Extendhealth.



$5k+ Contributions

Freedom PAC - $100,000 from American Democracy Alliance.

Mike Smith for School Board - $5,100 from Michael and Tanya Smith.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $115,000 from Rex Sinquefield.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $10,000 from KCS Rail PAC.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $25,000 from Schnuck Markets Inc.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from Ken McClain.




Allen Icet turns 54 today.