Wednesday February 7, 2018

Special Election Results

Peggy McGaugh won the election in House 39 to replace her son, Joe Don, who became a judge.

Mike Revis buoyed Democrats with a win in House 97, replacing John McCaherty who resigned.

Jeff Knight crushed the Democratic opponent in House 129 to replace Sandy Crawford who is now in the Senate.

Chris Dinkins won in House 144 to replace her boss Paul Fitzwater, who took an appointment.

Republicans won three of the four specials.  One Republican texted me: “HRCC deserves extreme credit it did this well.  Someone needs to point that out.  3 out of 4 is HUGE in this environment!!!”

And indeed it was the one loss with Dems flipping a seat in Jefferson County that folks seemed to focus on last night.


Q&A #1: Are Greitens’ Scandals to Blame?

Short answer: Looks like it.


Scott Dieckhaus, former director of the House Republican Campaign Committee, took to twitter to vent about the lost“I am going to say what no one else is right now - we (Missouri Republicans) just lost a MO House seat because of @EricGreitens and his refusal to put our party over his ego. @RobertKnodell and the @Missouri_HRCC team ran a hell of a race and deserved a win.”

GOP strongman Jeff Roe disputed that assessment with this tweet.

The polling from that district that Republicans were circulating last night showed the collapse of Greitens’ image in the district.  He had a 53% favorability in November, but then in January with the news of his affair it dropped to 36%.  He was underwater at that point with a 49% unfavorable rating.  President Donald Trump’s number during that time stayed relatively stable 50-45 fav/unfav to 48-46.


Why House 97 Matters

Republicans still hold their supermajority in the House with a several-seat cushion.  It’s not a big deal from an immediate governing perspective.

The argument about whether Greitens’ unpopularity is to blame for House 97 is an argument over whether his scandals will inflict larger damage on the state party.  It will make those who love the party nervous.  But also those who want to get re-elected.  It may send a sharp jolt of self-preservation through Republicans in swing districts, or even areas considered safe for Republicans.  Will this governor hurt their chances in ten months?

A few points on this:

First, while optimists think that all the bad news is out, and he can recover his standing over time, that really is an optimistic viewpoint.  Nobody knows where the various investigations will lead, how soon they will wrap up, and to what end.

Second, and maybe more importantly, there’s no indication that Greitens cares.  Remember he sees himself as the outsider and them as the corrupt career politicians.


Q&A #2: Can the gov’s $1 million ad campaign effectively counter the constant stream of news stories about his misbehavior?

Short answer: No.


It helps.  Of course, it helps.   But when there’s a regular news diet (See last night’s ABC17 promo here), paid media is never going to overcome that.


Winner Last Night

Missouri State Teachers Association’s Impact Committee endorsements went four for four last night.


Hawley Raising $$$ in Naples

Tomorrow night, Attorney General Josh Hawley will be in Naples fishing for money for his U.S. Senate race.  See the invitation here.

It shows that Hawley is working the money circuit – contrary to some of the recent criticism.


Willard Gets Gigs

Looks like Aaron Willard has landed a pair of jobs.  He’s joining the Public Service Commission, working for Commissioner Ryan Silvey (see it here), and also, Missouri Times reports that he’s the new executive director for Josh Hawley’s SuperPAC (see it here).


Roeber Charter Bill Voted Out Of Committee

Rep. Rebecca Roeber’s charter school bill was voted out of committee despite the chairwoman, Rep. Kathy Swan voting against it.  The bill will expand charters.  “[A] charter school may operate in any school district in which at least one school has received an annual performance report score of 60% or less for two of the three most recent reports available when the charter school applies to open a school.”


The other education issue – the real education issue that animates a lot of folks – is the budget issue.  See page 78 from the budgetSee it here.  It shows how woefully underfunded the schools’ transportation budget has been for years and years.


In Praise of Rowden

Yesterday the Senate debated a higher education bill.  A few people noted that they were impressed with Sen. Caleb Rowden calming guiding the process to a compromise.  He’s mentioned as a possible floor leader next year.  It was a good audition.

Lobbyist #1: Not a bill I cared about, but I found myself listening to most of the debate. Rowden continued to amaze me with his floor presence. He's cool under fire and delivers the right facts at the right moment…

Lobbyist #2: Huge shout-out to Caleb Rowden.  He brokered a deal on Wasson's Higher-Ed bill today that not only got opposition (Schaaf and Romine) to let it go but to also vote for it.  This is an indication of how the Senate should work and could work…


Dueks: Statute of Limitations

Lobbyist Jane Dueker tweets that there’s a timeline on allegation of the governor taking a photograph of his hairdresser.  See it here“A three year statute of limitations for Invasion of Privacy on a pic a taken in March 2015 is approaching soon…”


Dems Question DSS Salary Set Up

The press release:  Missouri Department of Social Services Director Steve Corsi receives a portion of his taxpayer-funded salary through the state Department of Health and Senior Services in an unusual salary arrangement that appears intended to pay him more than is allowed by law.

Information the social services department submitted to the House Budget Committee lists Corsi’s salary as director at $128,244 a year. According to the Missouri Accountability Portal, however, Corsi is paid an additional $13,756 through the health department for a total annual salary of $142,000.

RMSo. 105.950 requires most department directors to be paid according to salary ranges set by the state Personnel Advisory Board. Under the most recent executive pay plan published on the Office of Administration website, annual pay for an Executive I position ranges from a minimum of $88,212 to a maximum of $128,244.

The later amount is identical to what Corsi is paid by the social services department. As a result the additional compensation from the health department boosts Corsi’s total annual salary beyond what is permissible for a Department of Social Services director under state law….


Cort Goes Indy in Senate 30

The press release: David Cort, a candidate for Missouri’s 30th State Senate District, has announced a formal break from the Republican Party. Cort will run for the Springfield State Senate seat as an Independent… The move leaves Greene County Commissioner Lincoln Hough as the only candidate who has declared for the Republican nomination for this seat… Mike Moon, Republican Representative from the 157th District, said of Cort, “He is a thinker. Dave understands the problems facing our state and will work hard to find appropriate solutions. I look forward to working with Dave Cort in Jefferson City. I must say that this has been a hard decision to make. But I know it’s the right thing to do, it’s the principled thing to do. You cannot identify the Republican Party as part of the problem and then ask to become part of the problem.”


Grid Legislative Love

The press release: With the Missouri legislative session only weeks old, numerous business organizations and local economic development groups have already endorsed comprehensive energy legislation to cap rate increases and modernize Missouri’s grid. The groups argue that the status quo is hurting Missouri’s economy and forcing large, unpredictable rate hikes on families and businesses… The following business and economic development groups have announced support for capping rates and improving Missouri’s energy grid: Arcadia Valley Chamber of Commerce, Brookfield Industrial Development Authority, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Consumer Energy Alliance, Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council, Midwest Cybersecurity Alliance, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Missouri Economic Development Council, Missouri Grocers Association, Missouri Retailers Association, Missouri Society of Professional Engineers, Missouri Solar Energy Industry Association, Moberly Area Chamber of Commerce, Southern Boone County Economic Development Council, and St. Louis Regional Chamber.


eMailbag on Greitens’ Legislative Outreach

Is he 'doing different" the past month? Yes, he is.

Will it measurably change things? No, it won't, for two reasons: 1) everyone sees right through it - that he's been told, this is your only route back...these people now hold your fate in their hands. Before, when his goal was to run for president as an outsider, he *needed* to be at war with them. Now the more urgent goal is basic survival, so he *needs* to be at peace. The Leg isn't comprised of rocket scientists, but they do, collectively, understand human nature, and they know this recent outreach is not motivated by some sudden interest in good public policy, Missouri, or collaboration with them.

2) He hasn't develop overnight the type of policy breadth and depth than a Koster, or even an Eric Schmitt, has, or the political acumen in dealing with the Leg that, say, Govs. Bond, Ashcroft, or Carnahan possessed.. So his outreach isn't likely to be that impressive or successful.



Reuters reports on the nascent attempts to regulate disclosure of political ad buys on the internet.  Read here about what the City of Seattle requires from Facebook. Facebook must disclose details about spending in last year’s Seattle city elections or face penalties, Wayne Barnett, executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, said in a statement… Legislation is pending to extend federal rules governing political advertising on television and radio to also cover internet ads, and tech firms have announced plans to voluntarily disclose some data….


The Missouri Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against Columbia Mayor Brian Treece and others concerning public use of funds.  See it here.


Help Wanted

ABC17 News seeks a full-time Multimedia Journalist/Bureau Chief for our Jefferson City newsroom.  “Applicant should have six months to one year of experience reporting in a local commercial television newsroom and have the flexibility to work in the modern newsroom where setting up and performing live shots, beat reporting, shooting video, producing, web writing and more are all a must. The successful candidate duties will include gathering information, writing, shooting, running live shots, cultivating sources and editing stories on strict deadline for nightly newscasts and station website…”

See it here.


New Committees

No New Tax was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is Henry Carner.

Middle Class Missouri PAC was formed. Its treasurer is Scott A Wilson.

Brush Fire PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is Margaret C Yaudes.

Georjene Tilton formed a candidate committee (Tilton For Missouri) to run for House 137 as a Republican.  The current incumbent, Rep. Lyndall Fraker, is termed.

Joseph Poor formed a candidate committee (Joe Poor For Missouri) to run for Senate 28 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent is Republican Sen. Sandy Crawford.


Lobbyists Registrations

Courtney Kawelaske added Missouri Department of Public Saftey.

Lucy Williams added Alzheimer’s Association.

Andy Blunt, Chris Moody, Angela Schulte, Jay Reichard, Ginger Steinmetz and Noel Torpey added B & B Amusement of Illinois.

Andy Blunt, Chris Moody, Angela Schulte, and Noel Torpey added Paraquad.

Jay Reichard, Angela Schulte, and Noel Torpey added Heider Properties Inc.

Ginger Steinmetz and Noel Torpey added Cornerstones of Care.

Noel Tropey added DXC Technology Company, and Martiz Motivation Solutions Inc.

Angela Schulte deleted Rockwood Asset Management.