Mr. 2020 Wildcard: Jay Ashcroft
What’s in the mind of Jay Ashcroft?
Ashcroftologists have been trying to discern the motivations of the Secretary of State. There’s been some buzz since he enlisted Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway to help investigate the allegations that Republican US Senator Josh Hawley inappropriately used state resources when he was attorney general. One interpretation is that it’s a warning shot: Ashcroft will do what’s best for his political career.
Why an Ashcroft primary of Governor Mike Parson might not be completely off-the-table…
· After being passed over for AG, Ashcroft might sense he’ll be dissed again if there’s a US Senate opening (Roy Blunt retiring, for example) in the future.
· Similarly, LG Mike Kehoe is seemingly next in-line to run for governor when Parson is termed in 2024.
· The Ashcroft last name in a Republican primary is exceptionally strong. Despite being farther down on the ballot, Ashcroft received 130,000 more votes than Parson in 2016.
· Ashcroft is the only state-wide Republican who didn’t endorse the gas tax proposal. It gives him a point of contrast which would resonate with GOP voters.
· Consistently underestimated by the political class, Ashcroft raised $1.75 million in his 2016 SOS race.
· Ashcroft’s chief of staff Trish Vincent is considered a politico will “killer instincts.”
Driving the Week
· House Democrats will hold a news conference on Monday at 1:30PM to discuss their healthcare legislation.
· MOCyber Week has events Tuesday and Wednesday to draw attention to cyber security issues. Tuesday’s panel includes Rep. Travis Fitzwater, and Community Colleges’ Brian Millner… Noon-1:30PM in House HR2… Register here.
· Committee work continues on the budget and on the Republican priorities – infrastructure, workforce development, and tort reform…
Libla On Track to Pass Senate’s First Bill
Sen. Doug Libla’s SB 20 was passed out of committee and is now on the Senate calendar for perfection, putting in the pole position to be the first bill passed out of that body.
SB 20 extends a court surcharge for the DNA Profiling Analysis Fund.
Team Hancock lands a humdinger of a story about now-U.S. Senator Josh Hawley evading the state’s Sunshine laws. See it here. “Not long after Josh Hawley announced in 2017 that he was exploring a U.S. Senate run, Democrats requested records of any emails between his attorney general’s office and the consultants running his campaign. Hawley’s office told them they didn’t have any emails to turn over. But the emails did exist… ‘It’s an astonishing development,’ said Mark Pedroli, a St. Louis attorney and founder of the Sunshine and Government Accountability Project. ‘This appears to be a full-fledged conspiracy by government officials to communicate off government servers for the purpose of concealing government records from the public. They actively concealed documents until their hands were forced.’”
The News Tribune reports that “Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services ‘purposefully’ violated the state's Open Records (or ‘Sunshine’) law, Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce ruled last month. She fined the department $500 for the violation but also ordered them to pay $10,754.97 to cover the ACLU's costs and attorneys' fees for bringing the lawsuit… The case began Sept. 17, 2017, when St. Louis County police confiscated some liquid from some people attending a protest — then sent the ‘unknown chemicals’ in a bottle labeled ‘apple cider vinegar’ to the state Health Lab for testing, according to an ACLU news release… But, when the ACLU asked the department for ‘copies of lab test results relating to any liquid alleged to have been thrown at police during protests,’ the state refused to release the records…”
Columbia Mayoral Race Heats Up
As the mayoral race in Columbia heats up lobbyist Mayor Brian Treece, who isn’t a lawyer, is being accused of using lawyerly words. See it here.
A dispute over the word “negotiations” has joined the list of contested issues in Columbia’s mayoral election. The question of whether Mayor Brian Treece interfered with a proposed partnership between Columbia Public Schools and the city of Columbia to transport students on city buses surfaced at a candidate forum in January…
At the Jan. 10 forum, Chris Kelly attacked his opponent, Treece, for lobbying against a proposal similar to [Rep. Chuck] Bayse’s last year… Treece said in an interview with the Missourian that he didn’t identify himself as Columbia’s mayor when testifying. Treece also said the City Council hadn’t taken an official position on the idea when he lobbied against the bill. When the council agreed to add the legislation to the city’s lobbying agenda at its April 3, 2017, meeting, Treece abstained from the discussion. Since then, Treece said he hasn’t lobbied for or against the proposal and that he won’t lobby against Basye’s bill. Treece said he plans to abstain from the council’s discussion of the resolution supporting Basye’s bill Monday night…
Treece also refuted Kelly’s criticisms. “Mr. Kelly’s comments were false,” Treece said. “The city did not negotiate with the school district.”
To corroborate his statement, Treece gave the Missourian an email exchange between himself and interim City Manager John Glascock…
Kelly, who also received the Jan. 15 email from Glascock, dismissed Treece’s position as a “linguistic trick.” Noting that there’s “nothing inaccurate” in the email, Kelly said Treece asked very specific questions to elicit very specific answers.
Conversations about transporting students on city buses were taking place before Treece testified in Jefferson City. “Whether you characterize ‘conversations’ as ‘negotiations’ is Trump-esque,” Kelly said….
· The Missouri Ethics Commission fined Floyd Blackwell, who ran unsuccessfully for House 73, $10,380 for a multitude of campaign violations; and fined Wendy Campbell, Lanel Crum and the 20th Ward Open Democratic Organization $4,440 for many violations as well.
· Governor Mike Parson appointed Kyndra J. Stockdale as the Associate Circuit Judge for the 16th Circuit, Division 32.
· Eapen Thampy notes on Twitter that Governor Mike Parson announced his support of expungement of misdemeanor marijuana convictions.
· Post-Dispatch’s Kurt Erickson reports that “As part of routine training against potential cybercrimes, the Information Technology Division has previously conducted tests on workers to see if they click on malicious emails…”
· Karen Englert is leaving the American Heart Association. She’s heading to the Boys and Girls Club of St. Charles County.
· Jim Lembke is now listed on the Senate staff webpage. He’s staffing “Districts 20, 21, 23.”
Derrick Nowlin formed a candidate committee (Nowlin For The 134th) to run for House 134 as a Democrat.
Steven Tilley added University of Missouri System.
Happy birthday to Danny Pfeifer.