Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A New 2-CD Scenario

I had previously written that the contest to replace Rep. Todd Akin in the 2nd Congressional District would devolve into a nine or ten-way free for all.  I now think a different scenario is shaping up.  I believe there is a higher likelihood now that Ed Martin and Ann Wagner will be standing as the only heavyweight contenders, with a raff of insignificant tertiary names on the ballot. 


The fork between these two scenarios hinges on the decision that Sen. Jane Cunningham makes.  Previously I have relied on her statements to the press that she would enter in her own due time.  But as the weeks have whittled away, Cunningham’s ability to enter competitively is being eroded. 


When the July quarters are released, the expectation is that Wagner will show an exceedingly strong quarter (“Ray and Ann Wagner are everywhere… federal stuff, state stuff…”).


Meanwhile Martin has been sewing up the on-the-ground Tea Party activists. 


While this classic duel between establishment money and grass-roots people power is hard to handicap, it seems to be crowding out the potential for a third top-tier candidate like Cunningham.  And the longer she waits to jump in, the less money and activists are left to fuel her campaign.


If Cunningham opts out, then the case for smaller niche candidates – a St. Charles candidate, or a Kirkwood/Webster Groves candidate – is harder to make. 


Generally the more that get in, the more that will get in.  But right now this race is looking like it’s frozen at two.



The Riddle of Riddle

It is said that Rep. Jeanie Riddle is truly undecided about the path she will pursue, whether she will make a bid for Floor Leader or if she will leave leadership and focus on nabbing chair of the Utilities Committee.



First, Save the Lawyers

The consensus remains that the state House and Senate maps will ultimately be drawn by Appellate Commission – that is a commission of appellate judges chosen by the Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice.


In speculating what type of map would emerge from an appellate commission, it’s not easy because there are very few data points.  There’s little guidance and tradition because it happens only once every ten years and even then only when there’s a stalemate. 


Still it’s expected to have a Democratic tilt as the chief justice was a Democratic appointee and would presumably give the commission a Democratic edge. 


But it’s also thought that such a commission will be less rabidly partisan than their gubernatorially appointed peers.


The rumor mill has suggested that Dems are taking aim at Rep. John Diehl.  This makes sense for a number of reasons.  First, population shifts indicate that St. Louis County will lose a House seat.  Second, he’s a prodigious fundraiser, and not a card-carrying member of his party’s lunatic fringe.  That makes him a more potent statewide candidate down the road, one Dems would like to derail now.


In Diehl’s corner however – as well as other GOP law-makers with attorney backgrounds – is the influence of James Harris and his provocative Better Courts for Missouri.  Admittedly they have excelled more at sending out press releases than passing legislation or collecting signatures.  But to the extent that they have declared war on the judiciary, an appellate commission is likely to view lawyers (especially Republican lawyers) as valuable allies in the legislature to be protected from the ravages of redistricting.




St. Louis Beacon reports that former state senator Rita Days has been hired as the new Democratic elections director in St. Louis County.  Read it Here.



Mayor Francis Slay’s “mini-poll” has Peter Kinder besting Governor Jay Nixon in its online straw poll.  See it Here.



As the Mitt Romney people continue their appeal to Republican state representatives trying to tie down as much early support as possible, one Rep says that conservatives are torn.  In their heart, most know that Romney is the strongest general election match against President Barack Obama.  But they’re gun shy to come out publicly until after the primary because his past actions and statements on healthcare and abortion rights make him toxic to the Tea Party crowd.



Dems are antsy for the governor to call a special election for their two vacant seats (Kiki Curls to Senate; Jake Zimmerman to County Assessor).  But it appears the governor’s office may be waiting until after the new map.   If so, that probably pushes the special back until January which would means those seats would be empty when session starts next year.  



KC Mayor Sly James does the White House. Read it Here.



HIS  Global Insight report on US Metro Economies pegs the St. Louis region’s output as constituting 44.3% of  Missouri’s total output.  That together with Kansas City’s 24% share mean the two urban coasts are responsible for over two-thirds of the state’s economy.  Read it Here (page 66).



$5k+ Contributions

MO Republican Party - $25,000 from ATT.

House Republican Campaign Committee - $15,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of KC.

Friends of Peter Kinder - $10,000 from Hunter & Nantz LLC.

MO Democratic State Committee - $20,000 from Ameren Missouri.