Thursday, May 5, 2011

Overriding the Veto

The House went early to the override vote.  After minimal debate, the Republican majority called the previous question and then voted – with four Democrats joining them – to override the governor’s veto, 109-44.


The four Democrats were: Reps. Jamiliah Nasheed, Penny Hubbard, Michael Brown and Jonas Hughes.  The first three had voted for the map initially, so Hughes received most of the attention and ire of Democrats.


He didn’t handle it particularly well, bursting into tears when pressed by Rep. Steve Webb.  But word also spread that Speaker Steve Tilley had lined up at least two alternative “fourth votes” who were among seven non-voting Democrats.  One hallway source identified Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray as one of those back-up votes.  The other Dems who took a walk on the vote were Reps. Mike Colona, Steve Hodges, Chris Kelly, Gail McCann Beatty, Tommie Pierson, and Terry Swinger.


It was masterful performance by Tilley and a tribute to his ability to work personal relationships.  His pitch to Hughes was said to include no perks (one GOP Rep had joked after the vote, he wouldn’t be surprised if he came to the Capitol tomorrow to find Hughes had been given in office).  Rather Tilley played on the hard feelings that Hughes had over the way his Democratic colleagues distanced themselves from him during his ethics fines problems at the beginning of the session.  Tilley told Hughes – they want you to be a team player now, but they weren’t on your team then.  And he reminded Hughes that he avoided saying anything bad about him publicly during that time.


On the other hand, another potential vote Rep. Jason Holsman wasn’t even asked by Tilley.  According to one source, when Tilley offered Holsman a committee chairmanship initially, Holsman explicitly told the speaker he wouldn’t do it as quid pro quo for veto override votes.  Tilley accepted that and during the last week simply said, “I know you’re a man of your word, so I’m not even going to ask you for your vote.”  But then, with Tilley backing off and playing friend, Holsman’s congressman apparently worked to apply the screws…  Holsman didn’t fold in the end, but the orchestration was far more effective than strong-arm tactics from the speaker would have been.


And Don’t Forget How It Began

Like sinking a birdie putt, the short game of finding the final votes was critical.  But as critical was the first long drive – the stunning seventeen seats landslide last November.  That wave was mentioned several times last night as putting the Republicans in position to be able to deliver a Republican congressional map for the next decade.



Finally, a word on the Senate, which is more than the senators gave the override vote.  Not a peep, not a whimper.  No point in filibustering, or even giving a one-sentence eulogy when they knew how it would end I guess.  They just voted, 28-6 (Sens. Jolie Justus, Victor Callahan and Kiki Curls voted in favor; and Sen. Bill Stouffer voted against).  A shocked, floor leading Tom Dempsey was heard to mumble, “What do I go to now?”  as his afternoon was planned for a long veto override debate.


It was one more reminder of the impotence of Carnahan in the state legislature that not even one senator stood for one minute. 



Carnahan’s Woes

Apparently Russ Carnahan is lashing out – at Governor Jay Nixon for vetoing the map so quickly, at Emanuel Cleaver once again yesterday on the U.S. House floor (Read it Here), at Missouri Republicans for decimating his district, and of course, at the four Democratic defectors.


But Carnahan really has nobody to blame for his predicament but himself. No less than five Dem-leaning state House seats in the 3rd CD turned over last cycle, including four incumbents – Reps. Mike Frame, Sam Komo, Jeff Roorda, and Vicki Englund.  More Democratic incumbents lost in the 3rd CD than in any other congressional district in the state.


And that’s at least partially the result of Carnahan running well below the DPI.  A congressman who struggles so much can’t assist the HDCC or give to the legislators below him on the ballot. Imagine instead a congressman, with more political muscle.  He could have spent the 2010 cycle with an eye on 2011: he raises a boatload of money early, blows the gnat-like Ed Martin out of the water before Martin gets traction, and tosses out excess funds to the HDCC, to state legislators throughout the 3rd CD, and to other legislators around the city.


Because (as mentioned above) without the five pickups in the 3rd CD, Tilley isn’t anywhere near 109.



The Twist

But every good story has a twist, and here it is: In spite of failing to build a real organization in his district for a decade after his razor-thin 2000 and 2004 victories, and in spite being a day late and a dollar short to the redistricting fight (talking about “fairness” when he should’ve been trying to play hardball), Carnahan should still beat Lacy Clay, if my analysis of the new 1st CD is correct.


Here are the numbers:

While the new 1st CD is plurality black, the voting-age population is actually 48.3% white, 45.5% black: that is, 281k white voters and 262k black ones.


Given the differential impact of party loyalty (assuming that 90% of the blacks and 65% of the whites in the district vote Democratic), that would suggest that approximately 234k blacks vote Democratic and 183k whites do.


Because of higher education levels and a slightly higher likelihood of union affiliation, whites should turn out at a higher rate than blacks in the district. Suppose that 25% of black Dems and 30% of white Dems vote in the primary.


That gives us 58k black primary voters, and 55k white one: an electorate in which Carnahan can definitely win. Here’s why:


Cross-over voting favors Carnahan. Very few whites will vote for Clay; a few white north county people have voted for the Clays for decades, but south STL and most central corridor whites have not.


Conversely, almost every black in the district has voted for a Carnahan before – indeed, most have done so several times. Carnahan’s father gained much goodwill in the black community through appointments – and merely from the fact that he wasn’t Mayor Vince Schoemehl, his 1992 primary opponent who had by then (after a decade as Mayor) made legions of enemies in the black community.


Given the above, suppose Clay gets 10% of the white vote in the primary (optimistic, I think), and Carnahan gets 15% of the black vote (a conservative estimate)….


That would tilt the final results in Carnahan’s favor with 58,000 votes to Clay’s 55,000.


All of this doesn’t even address the fact that Carnahan, with about $300,000 in the bank, is likely to raise $1.5-2 million for the primary, whereas Clay may hit half that. 



What it All Means

So: Carnahan should stop whining and start running. In the 1st CD.  His underperformance in the 3rd CD last year should make him realize that he won’t be able to turn enough independents to win in the Republican-leaning 2nd. 


However he could win the 1st  for the above reasons, and given Lacy’s “every man for himself” attitude during the redistricting fight, Russ should now adopt the same mentality.



First the Map, Now the Dominoes

All signs point to Rep. Todd Akin officially announcing for Senate in about two weeks.  Next Monday, he’ll be addressing the House Republican Caucus…


With that the race for his congressional seat and get underway.  One source says that Ed Martin is angling to wrangle an Akin endorsement for congress as an exit fee for leaving the Senate race.  I don’t see that happening but it’s possible I suppose.


It’s said that Ann Wagner has hired Jeff Roe, which one Republican snarks, “one more St. Louis County defeat for Roe coming up!”


And Sen. Jane Cunningham is clearly getting revved up about jumping in.  But will she get squeezed between Wagner’s money ties and Ed’s ground game, with no way to distinguish herself ideologically?


Finally Randy Jotte – off state rep and county council losses – is also said to be preparing a bid.  “He’s our Deb Lavender,” quips that snarky Republican, referring to hard-working but doomed- to-lose Democrat.



Other Veto Override Fall-out

State Republicans will eye the vote list, and extract revenge from rural Democrats in Republican-leaning districts who tried to give “Obama one more vote,” by supporting Carnahan.  “We’ll make sure they have to explain it,” said one Republican.  That means that Rep. Terry Swinger may face a more hostile environment in his state senate bid in 2012, for example.



And the House Dems held a long Caucus at the end of the day to discuss how to deal with their wayward members.  They voted to censure the four who voted for override, but the vote fell three short of the needed two-thirds majority.  One source explained the motion’s defeat, “Why drive them into the Republicans arms when we still need them?”



Missouri Catholic Conference: Trust But Verify MOSIRA

Here’s excerpts from the letter hitting state legislators’ in-box from Missouri Catholic Conference ahead of the economic development bill:


The Missouri Catholic Conference has met with representatives of the life science industry and lawmakers to develop an alternative way for the Missouri General Assembly to move forward with the funding of life science research projects while ensuring that any such funding respects the interests of pro-life citizens of Missouri.


On the opposite side of this letter, you will find language that representatives of the life science industry, the Missouri Family Network, Campaign Life Missouri and the Missouri Catholic Conference have agreed to for inclusion in legislation relating to the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA). We urge support for including the attached language in the MOSIRA legislation.


This language would require the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) to annually report to the Missouri General Assembly whether or not any funds distributed by the MTC are funding embryonic stem cell research or somatic cell nuclear transfer (human cloning).  To the best of the MCC’s knowledge, no such research is presently occurring with the use of state funds; however, this reporting requirement will make the facts known…


Up to now, it has been difficult to move forward with life science legislation because previously proposed pro-life amendments would likely have resulted in protracted litigation and could possibly be ruled unconstitutional.  At the same time, Missouri law reserves to the Missouri General Assembly the right to appropriate funds as they see fit… 


During the debate on Amendment 2, the life science industry assured Missouri citizens that they were not asking for or requiring any state funds for embryonic stem cell or human cloning research.   This language would hold the industry to its word, but would also require reporting to ensure that it stands by it.  “TRUST BUT VERIFY” ….



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Michael Gibbons added Missouri Association of License Offices.



$5k+ Contributions

AGC-MO-PAC –  $5,500 from Magruder Construction Company.


Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from David Boies.




Rep. David Day turns 48 today.  Also blowing candles today is Sierra Club’s John Hickey.