Driving the Day: DC SCOTUS Hearing
The conventional wisdom is that the Brett Kavanaugh hearings are going to be a watershed national moment. With six weeks left, a president for whom going off message is the message, and the social media driven news cycle, I’m guessing we’ll have a few more of these days before Election Day.
This week’s MOScout poll asks whether the Kav hearings are influencing decision in voting for Claire McCaskill or Josh Hawley. The poll is in the field last night and tonight so, unfortunately, today’s hearing won’t be fully present in the results.
Over $2.3M Raised for SaferMO.Com
In the large contributions this morning, Civic Progress gives $125K to the transportation tax campaign committee, SaferMO.Com. This comes on the heels of $100K from Centene earlier this week, and $600K from the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council. Safer has received 47 large contributions this since the start of August totaling over $2.3 million.
What It Means
As important as this figure is – they’ll need money to blanket the state during the final weeks to cut through the onslaught of US Senate ads – the more important number is $0. That’s what we’ve seen from the opponents. No organized opposition to the tax increase is a big positive for the campaign.
Cort News Network?? CNN Move CD-2 Rating
CNN moved CD-2 from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. See it here.
MO-02: Stivers, the NRCC chairman, says GOP Rep. Ann Wagner told him not to spend resources on her re-election bid, signaling a level of confidence in her campaign. It also doesn't hurt the three-term incumbent was sitting on nearly $3 million in the bank as of mid-July compared with $454,000 for her Democratic challenger, attorney Cort VanOstran. The 2nd District includes upscale suburbs of St. Louis where nearly half of residents 25 years and older have at least a Bachelor's degree. Trump's 52% vote share in the district was his lowest of the six GOP-held seats in the Show Me State, down from Romney's 57% mark in 2012.
What It Means
It continues the narrative that this race is getting more interesting. But remember grabbing that last point or two to pull off an upset can be the hardest. There are oceans of almost upsets: folk build a groundswell of energy, build an incredible campaign, run points ahead of where they “should be,” and still come up slightly short.
Senate 12: Hegeman Looks Safe
More Republican polling… this one, conducted last week, shows that – as expected – Sen. Dan Hegeman looks safe in his re-election bid. Here are the bottom-line numbers
Dan Hegeman: 54%
Terry Richard: 25%
CLEAN: Be Not Afraid
In the continuing debate abot the impact CLEAN Missouri would have on African American representative in the state legislature, one supporter sent me back to the document… back to the section just before where I quoted yesterday.
I missed “order of priority” statement. Yes, it says the maps must comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But furthermore, because that’s listed first in the document, it’s the top priority for the demographer to take into consideration.
Senate 16 Oppo Lands in PD
Post Dispatch reports that “Ryan A. Dillon, a Democrat running for a southern Missouri state Senate seat, threatened to beat his college roommate's ‘a—' in 2006, the woman told police at the time… The woman, who was Dillon's then-21-year-old roommate, told police that minutes earlier, Dillon had stood outside her bedroom door and the two began to argue. When she shut the door, she told police, Dillon had yelled through the door: ‘Fine, I'll just beat your a-- in the bathroom,’ according to the police report… According to the police report, the roommates' feud started in December 2005, when Dillon had allegedly read his roommate's emails that she had sent his ex-girlfriend….”
What It Means
Ironically this could be good news for Dems. Between last week’s MOScout polling (which showed Republican Justin Brown 19 point in front of Dillon) and this offering of opposition research made public, perhaps Dems won’t unwisely invest money in the very very red Senate 16 District, but instead put it where they have a better chance for a flip.
DESE Unveils New Webpage
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education unveiled a new portal yesterday. See it here. It allows you to look at districts – and chart schools – “at a glance” to see how their proficiency scores and graduation rates compare to the state as a whole.
Feebees Looking at Jackson County $$$
Kansas City Star reports that “the FBI is investigating a lobbying contract between Jackson County and Polsinelli, a top law firm in Kansas City… A federal judge referred to the investigation of a lobbying contract last week as she sentenced former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and top aide Calvin Williford to prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. But Judge Roseann Ketchmark did not disclose details other than the contract had resulted in a $200,000 loss. She did not explain who lost the money. Sources later told The Star that the contract involved Polsinelli and Jackson County. Polsinelli confirmed that on Wednesday and said it was cooperating with a probe… It’s not publicly clear what investigators are examining, but multiple sources have said part of the investigation concerns questionable travel expenses. Records obtained by The Star show that former Polsinelli senior partner Pete Levi authorized tens of thousands of dollars on trips taken by Jackson County employees and elected officials to cities across the country… Sanders approved the 2016 contract on the day he left office…”
Smithville Fire Mess
Auditor Nicole Galloway issued a report on the Smithville Area Fire Protection District. It’s not pretty. See it here.
Among the findings:
The Smithville Area Fire Protection District paid $209,072 in year-end incentive payments (including fringe benefits), to all full-time district employees (including the Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief) between December 2011 and December 2015. These payments are likely bonuses and in violation of the Missouri Constitution…
The Board authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds in 2015 with the proceeds to be used for the construction of a new fire station, Station #3, at a cost of approximately $1.8 million. However, the Board did not ensure the district had sufficient funding available to staff the station and cover ongoing and future operational and maintenance costs associated with it. Additionally, the district did not retain any documents related to preplanning and development of the station…
Smithville is represented by Rep. Ken Wilson and Sen. Dan Hegeman.
On Twitter Will Schmitt announces “Today was my last day at the Springfield News-Leader. I have been very lucky to have wonderful co-workers and supportive editors over the very eventful last 25 months. I'm going to miss Missouri — but I can't wait to build my life in California…”
It’s “kick your feet up on the desk” time for lawyers who have been wrangling over ballot initiatives during the past several months. No more lawsuits, the ballots are now fixed.
We’re #14! Tax Foundation says Missouri ranks 14th for best tax climate. See it here.
Inside Higher Ed reports that “Carlos Vargas, the president of Southeast Missouri State University, apologized Saturday for drinking from a beer bong during a tailgate party after videos of the spectacle made the rounds on social media, the Kansas City Star reported. In his statement, Vargas said that his actions projected an image ‘I am not proud of, is not flattering, and certainly not expected from the president of Southeast Missouri State University. During my attendance at a tailgate party prior to the Southeast football game on Sept. 15, I was observed being offered and accepting to drink beer from a beer bong, a device normally associated with excessive or binge drinking, which is conduct I do not condone,’ Vargas's statement read. A video posted to a Twitter account called Barstools SEMO shows the president kneeling and taking an eight-second pull from a beer bong, much to the delight of student bystanders. Any backlash on social media over the video seems to be minimal, as users appear more miffed that Vargas apologized…”
Reception for Sen. Jamilah Nasheed at Steven Tilley’s home, Chesterfield – 5:30PM.
Bryan Struebig formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Struebig) to run for House 124 as a Democrat… in 2020.
Justin Idleburg formed a candidate committee (Idleburg 4 Moving Forward 26Th) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 26, as a Democrat.
BNSF Railway Company RailPAC Missouri Federal Committee. Its treasurer is Trevor Murphy.
Citizens For Jake Zimmerman $5,500 from Professional Firefighters of North St. Louis County PAC.
Missourians for Effective Leadership PAC - $95,000 from Burns & McDonnell International, Inc.
SaferMo.Com - $125,000 from Civic Progress.
Happy birthdays to Rep. Becky Ruth, Richard Moore, David Sweeney and Paul Wagner.