Driving the Day
· Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt will host a press conference to announce his Safe Cities initiative. The initiative will aim to cut down on alarming violent crime rates in Missouri’s cities by facilitating unprecedented cooperation between the Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as well as other law enforcement agencies… 10:30 A.M… at Old Post Office Building, downtown St. Louis...
· Meanwhile in Jeff City, the legislature gavels in at 4PM.
Parson Loads Up
Governor Mike Parson posted a monster January quarter last week. His candidate committee raised $783,934 during the three months ending December 31. The committee spent $122,739, and finished with $935,597 on-hand.
That’s a huge acceleration for Parson. When he entered the summer as lieutenant governor, he only had $46,835 on-hand according to his April 2018 report. He now has nearly a million dollars on-hand.
What It Means
Still, Parson’s position is much stronger than even these numbers show.
· First, the candidate committee was constrained by the $2,600 limit on contributions. However, after the primary, those donors who maxed out can give another $2,600 for the general election. In other words this isn’t the end of the low hanging fruit for Parson; there’ll be a second wave in a year.
· Second, the independent PAC run by John Hancock to support Parson has also been actively fundraising. Uniting Missouri PAC’s last report was the 30-Day After Primary report where it showed $581,000 on-hand. However, an additional $1.5 million in large contributions have been reported since then. On other words the Uniting Missouri PAC is probably sitting at or over $2 million right now.
· Third, and maybe most important, these donors – to both the committee and PAC – that are being gobbled up by Team Parson are the tangible representation of a widening coalition. The odds of a serious primary challenge to Parson have dropped dramatically in the past few months. He’s clearly the Republican nominee in 2020 and his donor list shows it.
Ross for Senate
The race for Senate 33 may have already started… Rep. Robert Ross has amended his committee to run for the seat. Ross is a firebrand conservative and budget hawk in the House. The current incumbent Sen. Mike Cunningham, is termed. In addition to making the change to his committee, Ross is taking other steps as well.
He’s met with Axiom about the race – though it’s unclear if the relationship has been formalized. However, the biggest hint of what’s to come is in the formation of a PAC, Team Robert PAC a third-party.
We’ve seen this approach in other senate races. It sounds remarkably like other Axiom clients’ PACs (Team Cindy, Team Justin and Team Mike). It’s done in the post-Sauer Amendment framework to allow larger resources to be marshalled through independent expenditures.
Rumorville: Meet the Conservative Caucus?
This week may see the formal debut of a group of senators dubbing themselves the “Conservative Caucus.”
Word is we’ll be seeing about a half dozen senators go public with a platform stating positions on issues ranging from PDMP to roads to the budget to education.
Top priorities for the group: budgetary control, tax reform, education reform and infrastructure…
Follow-Up on O’Laughlin’s Math
One MOScouter read my bit last week about a Facebook post by Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin on Governor Mike Parson’s SOTS address.
They looked closer at her post, and noted that her math about Parson’s proposed pay hike for state workers was flawed – by a factor of three.
Her equation used 150,000 state employees when there are actually closer to 50,000.
MEC to AG: Can We?
The Missouri Ethics Commission updated its CLEAN Missouri guidelines. According to the document (see it here): [A]t its January 15, 2019 meeting, [the MEC] took the following action: The Commission voted unanimously to request an advisory opinion from the Attorney General’s office regarding Amendment 1. The question is: Amendment 1 provides that “no person serving as a member of or employed by the General Assembly shall act or serve as a paid lobbyist, register as a paid lobbyist, or solicit prospective employers or clients to represent as a paid lobbyist during the time during the time of such service until the expiration of two calendar years after the conclusion of the session of the general assembly in which the member or employee last served…” It also contains the following prohibition: “No person serving as a member or employed by the General Assembly shall accept directly or indirectly a gift of any tangible item, service, or thing of value from any paid lobbyist or lobbyist principal in excess of five dollars per occurrence.” Does Section 105.957.1(6), RSMo, authorize the Missouri Ethics Commission to accept complaints regarding alleged violations of these provisions and to issue advisory opinions pertaining to these provisions?
McDowell, Political Consultant
Former Republican auditor candidate Saundra McDowell announced that she’s going to be a political consultant…. @mcdowellformo: Announcement! I will continue to fight for Missouri and our country to help other conservative candidates be successful in their elections this year. My commitment to conservative values is why I have accepted a Principal Consultant position with North Horizon.
See New Horizon’s website here.
Happy birthdays to Reps. Lynn Morris and Andrew McDaniel, Michelle Colbert, Anne Marie Moy, Jay Hahn, and Mike Lodewegen.