Dearth of Dem Names for 2020
I’ve been talking to Dems the last few days about their 2020 statewide prospects. Three takeaways:
#1 No confidence that 2020 will be a good year
· 2018 was supposed to be a great Dem year, and it fizzled here in Missouri.
· While it’s possible President Donald Trump will capsize amid the turmoil multiple investigations, it’s equally possible that Dems will nominate a presidential candidate with an ideology similar to Leonard Brezhnev and Trump will roll Missouri by 20 points again. That’s why one Dem wonders if the presidential cycle is no longer good for Dems in Missouri. “Politics become more nationalized (in presidential cycles), it may be that midterms are better.”
· There’s a dearth of strong Democratic candidates (see point #2).
#2 Thin Dem Bench
· Forget about message and the challenges of selling the Democratic brand in Missouri for now because the immediate problem is a lack of candidates.
· One dead-hard Dem lays out the hard truth: “It’s really bad. Five spots up and we simply don’t have five Democrats who can be credible statewide candidates.”
#3 Almost Everyone Is a Question Mark
The only person who seems to be all-in is Sen. Scott Sifton. Everyone else seems to have an asterisk by their name. Meanwhile Sifton is gunning for governor while most people think he’s a better fit for attorney general or another office.
· Nicole Galloway – as the only Dem to win statewide in recent years, she’s at the top of everyone’s list. But with young kids and being young enough herself to wait, she might pass on this cycle.
· Jill Schupp – she has the ability to raise money and is an excellent communicator, but it’s not clear she’s willing to take on a grueling statewide campaign.
· Jason Kander – his abrupt departure from the KC race to deal with medical issues makes his return uncertain.
· Tracy McCreery – gets mentioned, but unclear if she’d be willing to run, and if she can raise money.
· Lauren Arthur – would have to give up her Senate seat for a run which is a tough sacrifice to make when you’ve just gotten elected.
· Russ Carnahan – with his wife running for alderman in St. Louis City, some think the Carnahans are ready to re-engage.
A lot of toe-tapping now waiting to hear about who will get which committee chair. Here are some bits.
· On the House side, the talk is that we won’t be getting assignments until after the first week. We’ll have the speechifying on opening day January 9, and then maybe get everything up and running the following week to refer bills the week of January 14. We’ll see…
· On the Senate side a few folks say that we’ll likely see a couple freshmen grab gavels. The rumors are Sen-elects Tony Luetkemeyer (Judiciary) and Mike Bernskoetter (Agriculture).
· Also apparently there was talk of splitting the Education Committee into two: a “Higher Ed” and “Lower Ed (DESE)”. But it sounds like resistance has squashed that idea.
Hegeman on LIHTC
Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Hegeman used his most recent Capitol Report to talk about the issue of LIHTC reform. See it here. He cites a Galloway audit: “[M]ost of the money is being siphoned away by housing developers. In a 2017 report, the state auditor found that only 42 cents of every dollar spent on these credits actually goes toward providing low-income housing. The governor has requested the Legislature work to establish a more efficient program for administering these tax credits…”
It’s a percolating topic. I believe there are folks on the House side huddling about finding a compromise. It’s one to watch this session.
I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Hemp.
Cannabis advocate Eapen Thampy posts on Facebook: Today I drove to Warrensburg MO to meet some large landowners and speak about hemp agriculture...tomorrow I'll be in Brookfield/Chillicothe doing the same thing. In the last several months I've been to Dexter, Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Saint Genevieve, Vandalia, Arnold, Hallsville, Harrisonville, Marshall, Sedalia, St. Joseph, Fulton, Lexington, and a dozen other places with the same message -- Hemp is here to shake things up. The amount of acreage that will transition from other uses to hemp agriculture in Missouri is millions of acres. It's unreal thinking about what's coming.
It could be that while everyone is gold-rushing medical marijuana, hemp is the hill with the real money.
STL City Drama
Can we have a little more drama in the STL please?
Kim Gardner was fined by the Missouri Ethics Commission. See it here. One MOScouter ponders: An interesting aspect of this is typically, if the violation rises to potential criminal violations, the matter is referred to the local prosecutor. In this case, that would be Kim Gardner… And a consent order doesn't preclude prosecution… Based on the conflict, the MEC may have thought about running it by a special prosecutor. If they didn't it raises questions of potential conflicts because the MEC relies upon local prosecutors for enforcement. Hard to say if she got a special deal because of that or not...
KMOV says that Rep. Bruce Franks’ social media accounts show he wasn’t working when his timesheets say he was. One politico says we’ll be hearing more about this story. See it here.
And St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the St. Louis County Police Department is down for hooking up with the City Police Department, but thinks the Podunk departments that folks lack confidence in can stay. See it here.
· Yesterday I noted that Sam Wiles registered to represent several law firms (Niemeyer Grebel Kruse, Holland Law, Onder Law, O’Brien Law Firm PC, and Schlichter Bogard & Denton). In asking around, it appears that this is in preparation for what’s expected to be a big legislative smash-up.
· Yesterday I wrote that several PACs appeared to be emptying their bank accounts into America Dream PAC. I’m told that American Dream is a pro-Mike Kehoe PAC. A large cash on-hand position may dissuade others from taking on the incumbent lieutenant governor in 2020.
Former Missouri lobbyist Jay Atkins is running for school board of the Columbia Public Schools. See it here.
Gov. Mike Parson appointed Judge David Chamberlain to fill the position of Circuit Judge for Division 4 of the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Clay County.
eMailbag on Leadership Change at Children’s Division
Missouri picked someone from KS to lead child welfare?! KS is an absolute disaster when it comes to kids in foster care. And Missouri has been a leader in this regard. Hope this new guy is an outlier. Some reporter needs to ask some tough questions…
State treasurer seeks General Counsel, Director of Communications, and Executive Assistant.
See the job opportunities here.
Professional Firefighters of Central St. Louis County PAC - $6,400 from Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri PAC.
Pol PAC - $60,000 from Polsinelli.
Kathryn Reichard added Missouri Primary Care Association.
Romona Diane Hall deleted AARP Missouri.
Elizabeth Johnson and Michael Martinich Sauter deleted Missouri Attorney General Office.
Larry Dority deleted Windstream Communications Inc.
Happy birthdays to Jeff Windett, Adam McBride, and Rep-elect Dottie Bailey.
Saturday: Joe Adams, Rep-elect LaKeySha Bosley, Sara Lampe and Emilee Lakin.
Sunday: Sen. Bob Onder, House Floor Leader Rob Vescovo, Genise Montecillo, Mike Daus, Stacy Morse, and Geoff Gerling.
We’re back to a normal schedule now… The Weekender returns tomorrow.