The Incredible Shrinking Dem Map
Immediately after the primary elections, I wrote out a list of 20 competitive House districts. It was based on conversations. But it was also largely based on the map and the notion that President Donald Trump’s boorish behavior might turn off some voters and create opportunities for Dems to reclaim legislative seats.
The thinking is that the suburban pockets of the state are particularly ripe for Democrats… Jefferson County, Jackson County, Boone County, and St. Charles County.
Initially this line of thinking led me to believe that Dems would be picking up 6-7 seats with Republican spread too thin to capably defend all the seats.
Now, instead of an expanding map where the Republicans will be forced to decide which incumbent to protect, the map appears to be shrinking – mainly because of fundraising.
On the Republican side, a $1 million check from David Humphreys, together with their existing fundraising efforts, has ensured a well-funded HRCC operation.
On the Democratic side, several candidates in these potentially competitive districts have grossly underperformed in fundraising, practically taking them off the Watch List.
Ten weeks to go, it’s possible that these candidates could rally, but that’s not realistic. Their 8-Day Reports show they’ve spent incredibly little effort raising money for their campaign. Why would they start now?
House 11 – Republicans have a strong candidate in Brenda Shields while the Dem candidate has $65 cash on-hand.
House 14 – A district Hillary Clinton won, but Republicans have a great campaigner in incumbent Rep. Kevin Corlew. The Dem candidate has $1,059 COH.
House 20 – This used to be considered a swing district, but it looks like Rep. Bill Kidd will go unchallenged. The Dem candidate has $378 COH.
House 32 – With Rep. Jeanie Lauer is termed, it’d be a good time for Dems to strike. The Dem candidate hasn’t even started a campaign committee.
House 44 – Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch seems to attract minor controversies. But the Dem candidate has $188 COH.
House 114 – Since Rep. Becky Ruth took this seat from TJ McKenna, Dems have coveted the seat as part of winning back JeffCo. The Dem candidate $211 COH.
House 116 – There may or may not be enough blue in St. Genevieve to power a Democratic win of this seat (Kevin Engler termed). But the Dem candidate probably won’t find out with $1,469 COH.
House 118 – This is the district where Ben Harris held out against a red tide and remained as the only Dem legislator in Jefferson County. That looks to be ending. The Dem candidate here, the only one on this list who had to spend money on a primary, has $606 COH.
Perhaps not all hope is lost for Dems. The Missouri Democratic Party has $216,015 and the House Victory Committee has $162,100. Maybe they can prioritize and focus and win a couple.
Meanwhile in Senate 16…
I’ve been hearing from Dems about the inspiring candidacy of Ryan Dillon in Senate 16. He’s working work and they think he can make a play for the seat.
Sally Fields is coming in to support him next month. Yes, that Sally Fields.
Others are not so sure this deserves to be in the competitive column. One building denizen: “Drebes, you're so far off here, buddy. Trump won Phelps Co with 69% in 2016. Every GOP Statewide had over 60%. Hawley had 70% in 2016 and 60% last night. 4x as many GOP pulled a ballot than Dems in the State Senate Primary… This is over quicker than [stuff] through a tin horn…”
And take a look at this crazy red map.
Follow-Up on Summer Caucus
One reader took note of the check from the Mike Parson-aligned Unifying Missouri PAC to HRCC in yesterday’s list. It was for $50K. “That’s a huge number for a governor. Nixon never did that and Blunt helped a little after he decided not to run, but not even at that level.”
Of course the reader didn’t even compare to Greitens.
The PAC is not directed by Parson, but it’s interesting that “Team Parson” is making it a priority to protect the legislative majority right now, instead of increase their 2020 war-chest.
NEA for CLEAN
In the large contributions (below), Missouri National Education Association sends $250,000 to the campaign committee of CLEAN Missouri. The NEA has been a staunch part of the Democratic coalition for decades. This will just reinforce the perception among GOPers that the ballot initiative is a trojan horse to shuffling the redistricting deck in favor of Dems.
Follow-Up on Richardson
After my rumor yesterday that lame-duck Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson was “angling to be hired as executive director of the office of prosecution services which doubles as top staffer for the Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys Association,” I heard from a well-respected Republican legislator who declared that idea “should be dead on arrival if the prosecutors want someone who will be respected by leaders on either side of the aisle. Jason Lamb has been an effective advocate because legislators trusted him. Between the Greitens non-prosecution and the Senate protester prosecution, Richardson doesn’t have any friends in positions of influence on either side.”
Divine Intervention in House 102?
A press release from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft yesterday says that he’s “opened an investigation into a polling place closure that may have changed the results of an election. The doors to a St. Charles County polling place remained locked for 90 minutes past opening time on Tuesday, Aug. 7, the day of the primary election… On election day, the Secretary of State’s office received comments through social media and telephone in regard to the locked polling place doors at Monticello Clubhouse. The office contacted the county election office, which confirmed the doors were locked and malfunctioning due to a lightning strike. Later, the Secretary’s office was told instead that the building owner had changed the locks and the election judges did not have the correct key to enter the building… Unofficial vote tallies in the Republican and Democrat primaries to represent House District 102 were within one-half of one percent (.05) – close enough for any of the four candidates to request a recount as provided by Section 115.601, RSMo. Out of a total of 7,699 votes cast, just four votes separated the Republicans and 15 votes separated the Democrats…”
The unofficial results….
State Representative - District 102
Ron Hicks Republican 2,281 50.044%
Bryan Cooper Republican 2,277 49.956%
John F. Foster Democratic 1,578 50.239%
Gary Wester Democratic 1,563 49.761%
Humane Society Legislative Fund Of Missouri PAC was formed. Its treasurer is Brennan Tucker.
Analea Patterson added PGA Tour Inc.
CLEAN Missouri $250,000 from Missouri National Education Association Ballot Issue Crisis Fund.
SaferMo.Com - $20,000 from A Better Road Forward.
Happy birthdays to Jim Cooper, David Hageman, Shane Schoeller, and Sammy Panettiere.