Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Driving the Day

Word is circulating that around ten Republicans will be calling for Governor Eric Greitens to resign.  I believe these will mostly be House Republicans, but we’ll see how it unfolds.  In itself, this won’t change the governor’s mind about fighting through this scandal.  But it is writing on the wall.  The Republican dominated legislature would prefer this guy wasn’t governor.  For every one that makes a public statement, there are probably five who privately agree and ten who just want this episode over.


It’s still very very early in this scandal.  This week there will likely be a call in the House for an investigation.  Speaker Todd Richardson has proven himself nothing if not fair and deliberate.  That means it likely gets referred to a committee.  And it will be a serious investigation.  It won’t be rushed and it won’t be wild.  Here’s a peek at the grim future in one word: subpoenas.


This Post-Dispatch article is going to freak some people out.  This is how scandals metastasize.  Folks are trying to help, but then inadvertently can make things worse.  It’s too early to tell if that’s the case here, but it hints at all the pitfalls ahead.

Oh and in case anyone’s a slow learner here…  This husband’s lawyer has probably taped every single conversation he’s had on this during the past two weeks.  That sign reads: More Trouble Ahead.

Roy Playing 4-D Chess?

I have Republicans wondering if Roy Temple jumped into the story last week to help Greitens.  Every Dem I talk to says it was an unforced error, that added a partisan edge.  But Republicans see it differently.  One explains… Senator Claire McCaskill’s statement could have been copied from a Republican.  Dem Party Chair Stephen Webber has been mum.  Why?  Because they want the adulterer to be governor as long as possible.  Definitely through this session so less gets done; hopefully through the mid-terms to help give them a boast; and if they got their wish, through 2020 for a GOP gubernatorial primary.


Q&A #1: Is There More?

Short answer: That’s the safe bet.


Out of college, I spent about a decade in financial services.  One lesson I picked up was the “cockroach theory.”  Someone has kindly put a definition online in fact here.  In short, it holds that a piece of bad news – like a cockroach in your house – is rarely an isolated event.  If you see one cockroach, the safe bet is that there are others, even if you don’t see them right now.  It’s why a whole industry would sell off if one company reported bad earnings.

In this case, the cockroach is the affair.  I don’t know what the other pieces of bad news will be, but I do know the safe bet is that there is more we can’t see right now.


Q&A #2: If Not, If This Is It, Then What?

Short answer: Chris Christie.


Assuming that this affair was an anomaly in the governor’s life and stretch that assumption to also assume that the words of the woman on the tape were lies, then there might not be any more shoes to drop.

How does this session play if that’s the case?  One short-hand answer: Chris Christie – after Bridge-gate.   That is, basically bystander governor. The best he can do for the Republican agenda is to stay away from it.

One building denizen texts: “I think something else comes out. But if not, session will be challenging (that’s the nice way of saying it). Some legislators will treat Greitens like an illegitimate Governor…”

Another: “His only hope if he stays is a major natural disaster or riot, and then he handles that perfectly, only way to erase the stink of this mess.... never a good place when you are praying for a natural disaster.”

Anything that might require some political capital to get done is dead.  Crumbling roads gonna keep crumbling.  And then there’s the big fear: they might lose on the right to work referendum if the governor’s association with it gives opponents a boost.


Greitens Scandal Bits

MOScout Weekly Poll – full results and breakdown by groups – see it here.


File Under: “Missourians Not Entitled to Know Governor’s Whereabouts” From Monday Post-Dispatch article, the governor’s staff won’t even say where he is.  They continue to assume the truth will play worse than stonewalling.  They may be right.  Who knows?


Washington Missourians rips Greitens, say he should resign.  See it hereTo be clear, Greitens ceded the moral high ground long before this week’s stunning story broke of his affair and allegations of blackmail.  He campaigned on transparency and accountability, but has been the most secretive governor in modern history.  He has refused to disclose the sources of “dark-money” campaign contributions, the amounts donors gave to his inauguration festivities and even routine things like his daily schedule and travel logs. Greitens was fined by the Missouri Ethics Commission for failing to report the use of a fundraising list and is currently being investigated by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley for using a phone app that automatically deletes text messages… Greitens acknowledged the affair but denied the blackmail accusations. The incident is being investigated by law enforcement authorities, which will likely drag on for months, casting more ominous clouds over the Capitol. Whatever the outcome of this latest incident, this much is clear — Greitens isn’t the righteous, virtuous person he projected in his campaign…. He should do what is right for his party and for Missouri and step down. Lt. Gov. Mike Parson is more than capable of leading the state.


Columnist in Joplin Globe Q&As Should the governor at least temporarily step aside and allow a thorough, impartial investigation to re-establish public trust? Absolutely.  See it here.


Folks are passing around this column from a Navy veteran.  See it here.


The rest of the news….

PPP: Missouri Has “Shifted”

Public Policy Polling release a new Missouri poll.  See it here.

The release: A new Public Policy Polling survey of Missouri voters finds that Claire McCaskill leads Republican challenger Josh Hawley 45-44 for reelection. The political climate in Missouri has shifted in a number of ways since 2016 that greatly improve McCaskill’s reelection chances: Voters in the state are almost evenly divided now on Donald Trump, with 48% approving of him to 47% who disapprove. That represents a sharp decline in Trump’s popularity given his 19 point victory in the state, but is also consistent with the decline in his approval numbers seen across the country…. Public Policy Polling interviewed 965 Missouri voters on January 8th and 9th. Respondents with landlines were reached over the telephone, with respondents who don’t have landlines interviewed online. The survey’s margin of error is +/-3.2%. This research was conducted on behalf of The Majority Institute.


Stenger Quarter: Blowout

Tipster says: Look for County Executive Steve Stenger to announce today a blowout quarter with over 500K raised and $2.4 million cash on hand. Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent Mark Mantovani recently changed his campaign status from exploratory to candidate committee.  Should be interesting to watch how he explains to Democratic primary voters why he gave 20K to Eric Greitens


Funderburk for Elections Director?

One tipster says that former Rep. Doug Funderburk is among those mulling a run for St. Charles Elections Director.  He joins former Rep. Mark Parkinson, and Reps. Kurt Bahr and Chrissy Sommer in being mentioned for that spot.


Swan to White House

The press release: State Representative Kathryn Swan (R-Cape Girardeau) has been invited to participate in the White House Women’s Event on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  The event will feature prominent women within the Trump Administration.   Panel discussions will be held on the economy, jobs, healthcare, the opioid crisis, education and national security. The panels will feature Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, and CMS Administrator Seema Verma, among others. Rep. Swan will be on stage with the principals during the discussion and be part of the Q & A session during each panel discussion. As the only participant from Missouri, Rep. Swan indicates that she is honored to represent our state  at this event….


Engler for County Clerk

Rep. Kevin Engler has amended his campaign committee to run for St. Francois County Clerk.  The primary is this summer.


Hearings of Note this Week


Senate Ways and Means – 2PM, SCR1.

Sens. Andrew Koenig and Bill Eigel present their tax packages.


Senate General Laws Committee – Noon, SCR1.

Sen. Bob Onder will present SB 602 which would reshape public sector unions.


New Committees

Voices Of The People was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is Rosalyn Winston.

Barbara Marco formed a candidate committee (Marco For Missouri) to run as a Democrat for House 118.  The current incumbent, Rep. Ben Harris, is termed.  He’s the last remaining Democratic state representative in this part of the state.

Missouri Rural Economic Development Political Action Committee was formed.  Its treasurer is Emily Hood.


This Week’s Events

Tuesday – Fundraiser for Peggy McGaugh for State Representative at GibbonsWorkman, 115 E High St, Jefferson City, 6PM.

Wednesday – Foundation for Government Accountability will be holding their first-ever state legislative briefing reception at the Jefferson City  DoubleTree, 6:30PM.

Thursday – Better Together sponsors A Civil Conversation led by MO Historical Society’s Christopher Gordon at Vue 17, 1034 South Brentwood Boulevard, St. Louis at 5:30PM.

Friday – Raise-Up fundraiser featuring Congressman Lacy Clay & Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer at 409 N 15th St, St Louis, MO 63103, 5:30PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

Andy Blunt, Jay Reichard, Angela Schulte, Ginger Steinmetz, Noel Torpey and Chris Moody added Husch Blackwell Strategies; and deleted Statehouse Strategies.

Andy Blunt, Jay Reichard, Angela Schulte, Noel Torpey, and Chris Moody deleted National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, and Association of Dental Support Organizations.

Dawn Nicklas added Steven R. Carroll & Associates; and deleted Communication Workers of America District 6.


$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Katherine Hardy Senkel for Judge - $40,000 from David Senkel.



Happy birthdays to former Reps. Mary Still and Don Gosen.