Q&A #1: What’s the Senate Line?
Short answer: +2 Dems
Subject to revision, but given the political environment, there are more seats in play than I previously thought.
Consider: though President Donald Trump handily won Missouri, beating Hillary Clinton by 19 points. But his popularity has waned since then. In 2016 Trump tallied about 57% of the vote. However according to a poll last month his job approval among Missourians is down to 48%.
While Trump’s popularity has declined, Governor Eric Greitens’ has plummeted. In January of 2017, his job approval rating was 50%, nearly equal to the 51% of the vote he had won in his race against Democrat Chris Koster. But last month, under criminal indictment, Greitens’ job approval had collapsed to 29%.
Equally important is the absence of a Democratic president. Republicans can no longer use the politics and personalities of Barack Obama and Clinton to batter Democratic candidates. Tying Democratic state house candidates to Obama was a standard Republican tactic for a decade. It worked well. And it’s gone.
The recent MOScout polls in Jefferson County and St. Joe have shown the difficult environment that Republicans face.
There are four hot spots for this cycle: Clay County, Jefferson County, Springfield, and St. Joe. My guess is that Dems can split the races, taking two.
Curtman Contra Gardner
After calling for Auditor Nicole Galloway’s resignation, now Rep. Paul Curtman, Republican candidate for auditor, is calling for Kim Gardner to be disbarred. One building denizen called this the “Trump strategy” or getting free media by staking out the extreme positions. See it here.
Pull Quote: On Monday, Curtman filed a complaint with the Missouri Bar Association (MBA). The subject of his complaint is St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, the prosecutor in question. Curtman believes the MBA should investigate Gardner for “prosecutorial and legal misconduct” in her investigation of Greitens. If the MBA finds her in violation, Curtman believes she should be disbarred immediately….
Rep. David Gregory did something pretty unusual for a first term representative last week. He held a successful $1,000/head funder – and he did it in his district, without relying on the Jeff City PAC crowd. Of course, he also held an event the same week in Jeff City, and between the two, raising roughly $30K in a week. He did it with some help: the current Speaker swung by his district event while the Speaker-elect attended his Jeff City one. That's a sign, of course, to close Capitol observers that Gregory is on a leadership track. With numerous more events planned after session, Gregory will be well-positioned to dole out checks in competitive races and donate to the caucus, helping make friends throughout the caucus. All of this – along with his legal background, substantive engagement on several non-trivial pieces of legislation, and a head of hair that has the Capitol’s Schlemeiers green with envy – suggests that Gregory is someone to watch.
Senate 16: Franklin Antes $100K
Before the quarter deadline Rep. Diane Franklin contributed $100,000 to her campaign account. Franklin is running in the Senate 16 Republican primary where Sen. Dan Brown is termed. Brown’s son, Justin Brown, is seeking to replace his father. Sen. Brown has shifted $210,000 from his campaign account to his son’s campaign account. And Rep. Keith Frederick is running.
While Brown has the incumbent’s last name, folks see geography favoring Franklin. And so far, not one of the candidates has proven that they can distinguish themselves I the fundraising field. So independent expenditure could tip the balance there.
As of the January quarter, Justin Brown had $200,000 on-hand; Franklin had $11,000 on-hand; and Frederick has $18,000 on-hand.
Senate 34: Backlash Over Van Meter?
News Press reports on the intrigue in Senate 34 where an incumbent Democrat has filed as a Republican drawing charges of foul play. See it here.
Pull Quote: When a donkey becomes an elephant, the whole zoo gets a little spooked. In an already contested primary race for the District 34 Missouri Senate seat, another candidate filed just minutes before the deadline. Scot Van Meter, the current democratic Buchanan County assessor, filed to run for the seat as a Republican against Harry Roberts and Tony Luetkemeyer in the primary. Party members are crying foul. “It’s a travesty that this would be allowed to happen,” James Rooney, chairman of the Platte County Central Committee for the Missouri GOP, said… Rooney doesn’t care who made the call, but does believe an outside actor encouraged Van Meter to run, splitting the Buchanan County vote and paving an easy path to victory for Luetkemeyer – a Platte County Republican. The boundaries of District 34 include all of Platte and Buchanan counties… Van Meter said no one asked him to run and he’s been mulling the idea for a while. As for his change of party, he said the Democrats don’t align with his core values anymore.
Hawley to Investigate Facebook
Attorney General Josh Hawley held a press conference to announce that he’d “issued an investigative subpoena to social media giant Facebook Inc. in connection with a new investigation into the company’s business practices related to the sharing and tracking of consumers’ user data. Recent news reports reveal that at least 50 million Facebook profiles may have been shared with third-party software developers. Facebook has nearly 2 billion user profiles around the world…”
Facebook has no lobbyists registered in Missouri.
Where We Are
With no word from Chair Jay Barnes, the working assumption is that this will be a wrap-up week for the House Special Investigative Committee, and they’ll be issuing a report next week... This no time to misplace your reading glasses….
Post-Dispatch reports on a St. Louis suburb school board election tomorrow. See it here. A dark money organization has become involved.
Rep. Courtney Curtis is suing to get onto the Senate 14 ballot. See the Post-Dispatch article here.
From the Austin Business Journal (see it here): Husch Blackwell Strategies has hired a pair of experienced government relations executives to work in Austin and Houston, where the fledgling firm has recently opened new offices. HB Strategies, which opened for business in January based in Jefferson City, Missouri, is a joint venture between its top executives, Andy Blunt and Gregg Hartley, and Missouri-based law firm Husch Blackwell LLP. Joining HB Strategies in Austin is Mark Vane, who has worked on multiple lobbying campaigns in the Texas capital...
In the large contributions (below) Mark Mantovani contributed another $250K to his bid for St. Louis County Executive. That brings his total contributions to $1 million.
James Harris and family posted twitter pics of their time at the White House Easter Egg Hunt. See it here.
Mik Chester formed a candidate committee (Chester Victory Committee) to run for House 9 as a Republican.
Christopher Evans formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Chris Evans) to run for House 9 as a Republican.
Linda Greeson formed a candidate committee (Greeson4house) to run for House 59 as a Democrat.
Donald Mayhew formed a candidate committee (Donald B Mayhew Fsr) to run for House 121 as a Republican.
Gayla Dace formed a candidate committee (Vote Dace) to run for House 146 as a Democrat.
Angela Thomas formed a candidate committee (Angela Thomas For State Representative District 160) to run for House 160 as a Democrat.
Wendi Bridges formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Wendi Bridges)to run for Clay County presiding commissioner as a Democrat.
Dominic Habjan formed a candidate committee (Habjan For Missouri) to run for Vernon County Clerk as a Democrat.
Relax PAC was formed. Its treasurer is Bradford Goette Brad.
This Week’s Events
Nicole Galloway fundraiser – Café Napoli, Clayton -5:30PM.
Election Day – municipalities across the state.
Student Advocacy Day at the Capital.
Fire Fighter Day at the Capital.
Erica Hoffman (Dem, House 96) fundraiser – PJ’s Tavern, Kirkwood – 6PM.
Lauren Arthur (Dem, Senate 17) Senate Kick-off – UAW Local 249, Liberty, MO – 5PM.
American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Advocacy Day.
Rep. Rory Rowland Town Hall Meeting – North Independence Branch Public Library – 6:30PM.
Spring Canvass Kick-Off & Volunteer Training for Hillary Shields (Dem, Senate 8) – 513 SE Miller St., Lee's Summit – 9:30AM.
Missouri Democratic State Committee fundraiser featuring Claire McCaskill – IBEW Local 1 Labor Hall, St. Louis – 10AM.
Washington University seeks Director, Community Relations & Local Government Affairs. “Serves as Washington University’s lead liaison and the Chancellor’s representative to local governments, associations, organizations, and neighborhood/community groups. Develops and communicates University positions on local policy issues to elected/appointed officials in Clayton and University City, Missouri. Advises and guides internal University groups about engagement with the local community and local elected officials. The Director is a strategic leader who develops and implements significant local initiatives of importance to the University’s mission… University’s lead liaison to Clayton and University City elected/appointed officials and their staff; back up liaison for City of St. Louis and St. Louis County…” See it here.
Secretary of State seeks Chief Counsel. “The Chief Counsel provides legal advice to the Securities Division and the Commissioner of Securities. The Chief Counsel will review pleadings filed in administrative proceedings before the Commissioner and advise the Commissioner regarding these pleadings, which may involve drafting orders and helping the Commissioner manage the docket. The Chief Counsel tracks major developments and changes in securities laws and capital markets, drafts legal memoranda on those matters, advises the Commissioner on the same, and assists in the development and legal analysis of policies and rules adopted or promulgated by the Division. The Chief Counsel guides the review of proposed state legislation, and drafts or reviews fiscal notes from the Securities Division. The Chief Counsel aids in the drafting of legislation and rules and reviews existing statutes and rules to maintain current with federal and state laws. The Chief Counsel assists the Commissioner with drafting no-action letters and responding to sunshine law requests. The Chief Counsel may occasionally be asked to prosecute enforcement matters, and in connection therewith prepares petitions, motions and discovery; drafts proposed orders; conducts depositions; and negotiates consent orders…..Salary: $6,250-$6,875 per month…” See it here.
Emily LeRoy added Missouri Department Of Agriculture.
Stacy Reliford deleted American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Kristian Starner deleted Axiom Strategies, and their clients.
Jeff Brooks, Bill Gamble, Cynthia Gamble, Kathryn Gamble, David Jackson, Jorgen Schlemeier, and Sarah Topp deleted Polaris Industries Inc, and BankLiberty.
Patricia Strader deleted Missouri Academy Of Family Physicians.
Jon Gubera deleted Gubera Public Affairs LLC.
Friends for Diane Franklin - $100,000 from Diane Franklin.
A Better Missouri Political Action Committee - $10,000 from Anheuser-Busch Cos.
Missouri Senior PAC - $10,000 from MO Majority PAC.
Missouri AG PAC - $10,000 from MO Majority PAC.
Missouri C PAC - $10,000 from MO Majority PAC.
Missouri Growth PAC - $10,000 from MO Majority PAC.
Regional Progress PAC - $12,500 from Simmons Hanly Conroy.
Connect KC - $6,500 from HDR Inc.
Citizens for Steve Stenger – $17,500 from Regional Progress PAC.
Citizens for Steve Stenger – $20,000 from Leonard Dino.
Citizens for Steve Stenger – $50,000 from MACFPD.
Missourians For Sean Smith - $30,000 from Sean Smith.
Kansas City Missouri Republican Senate PAC - $50,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.
New Approach Missouri - $10,000 from Bob Finance and Leasing Company Two LLC.
Anderson for Jackson - $10,000 from Jalen Anderson.
Friends of Jimmy Morris - $7,000 from James Morris.
Chester Victory Committee - $5,200 from Mik Chester.
Find the Cures - $15,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.
Mantovani For STL - $250,000 from Mark Mantovani.
Missourians For O'Laughlin - $15,000 from Russell and Cindy OLaughlin.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $25,000 from Friends of Todd Richardson.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Fitzpatrick for House.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Friends of Elijah Haahr.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Friends of Rob Vescovo.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $5,001 from Alferman for Missouri.
Happy birthday to Dusty Schnieders, Charles Portwood, Ron Schieber, and Eapen Thampy.