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September 17, 2007 

Robin's Announcement 

Next week Rep. Robin Wright Jones will make a formal announcement that she is running for the 5th Senate District.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Maida Coleman.  Wright Jones will join Rep. Rodney Hubbard as the only formally announced candidates. Rep. Tom Villa is also looking at the race.

I wrote about this race about a year ago in the St. Louis Business Journal. Since then Rep. Connie Johnson has apparently decided to pass on the race.  This changes the dynamics somewhat. But there will still be two African American candidates and one white candidate, raising the possiblity that the city will have an all-white senate delegation, something we haven't seen in a long, long time.

Last November Matthew Murphy created a spreadsheet to gauge how this race would split. That post is here.


Posted by: at 2:43 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (2)

September 14, 2007 

Blunt-Nixon race still #3 

According to's list of gub races to watch.  3. Missouri (R): Fundraising remains front and center in this contest between Gov. Matt Blunt (R) and state Attorney General Jay Nixon (D). After a mid-July decision by the Missouri Supreme Court that reinstated contribution limits for candidates for state office, the Missouri Ethics Commission followed up with a ruling earlier this week to send letters to the candidates to let them know they may be in violation of the law. A final decision on whether Blunt and Nixon will have to return contributions over the reinstated limits won't come until hearings are held on the matter. In the meantime, the two candidates are in limbo. Blunt has more -- literally -- to lose, as he would be forced to return nearly $4 million.; Nixon would have to give back a little more than $1 million. Blunt allies insist the governor is slowly-but-surely improving what was an admittedly poor political situation in 2006 and early 2007. The Blunt campaign recently passed along a poll that showed him trailing Nixon by 3 points -- not exactly a vote of confidence for the incumbent. (Previous ranking: 3) 

Posted by: at 10:09 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 5, 2007 

No Special in 18 

Don’t expect to see a special election called for Tom Dempsey’s Rep seat. Republicans figure they’ll just leave it vacant until the 2008 election. 

Two reasons: first, Rod Jetton has a tight enough grip on the House that he doesn’t really need another vote. The second reason is that although it’s a Republican district, it’s competitive enough (53% GOP performance) that it’d cost a boat-load of money to defend in a special and with funky turn-out possible, they might even lose it. So they’ll wait until 2008.


Posted by: at 8:32 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (3)

August 23, 2007 

Harris for State Rep. 

Robin Harris, that is. He's running for the 86th district where Jane Cunningham is teem-limited and seeking to replace John Loudon in the 7th Senate District.

Here's the release:

Robin Harris announced today that he will run for State Representative in Missouri’s 86th District. He has initiated a campaign committee, “Harris for the House”.

Harris was born and raised in Missouri.  He attended the University of Missouri – Rolla for one year and graduated from Maryville University with a B.S. in Biology. After college he worked as a Conservation Agent for the Missouri Department of Conservation for nearly seven years, where he received a number of awards for his performance.

In 1982 he joined the U.S. Navy and was a Naval Aviator. During his time on active duty, he performed duties which included Assistant Administrative Officer, Assistant Operations Officer and Training Officer. After seven years of active duty, he continued his service in the Naval Reserves and retired as a Lieutenant Commander.

Upon leaving active duty in the Navy in 1989, Harris became a pilot for Northwest Airlines. He is active in the Air Line Pilots Association where he is a project team member on the National Security Committee.

Harris is currently a DC-9 Captain, Instructor Pilot and Check Airman for Northwest Airlines. He lives in Chesterfield with his wife, Wanda, and has a son, Rob, who is beginning his senior year at Truman State University.


Posted by: at 8:28 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (3)

August 22, 2007 

Local Presidential Candidates 

What former Missouri state legislator is running for president, again?  George D. Weber

Under the Top 10 Reasons to Support him:

#5 "Sticks to his  beliefs, and his party.– Has always remained true to the beliefs of the  Democratic Party."

#8 "...George helped to organize their Reform Party and later  ran for the President in 2000 in the Reform Party." The Reform Party nominated  Pat Buchanan that year.


And also, Blake Ashby is running again. 


Posted by: at 9:07 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (2)

August 21, 2007 

Cleaver for Clinton - Clinton Ahead in Missouri 

Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo 5th) endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton in her Presidential bid and will serve as co-chair of the Senator's Missouri campaign.

“Americans are ready for change, and Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to deliver,” Congressman Cleaver said in a press release. “Hillary can restore America’s role as a moral leader at home and abroad.”

Cleaver joins former Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt who is serving as Clinton's campaign co-chair.

A poll on August 6th by the American Research Group showed Clinton leading among likely Democratic primary voters in Missouri with 40%. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and former Senator John Edwards (D-NC) clocked in at 22% and 15% respectively while 12% polled said they were undecided.

The same poll showed that likely primary voters have shifted towards Clinton (30% in January, 40% in August) and Edwards (17% in Jan and 22% in Aug) and away from Obama (18% in Jan and 15% in Aug) during the past year.

However the all-important independents (17% of those polled) show a strong preference for Obama with 34% while Clinton ring in at 25% and 15%. 

Posted by: at 12:44 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (7)

August 17, 2007 

Vogt Endorses Gunn 

Looks like Dems avoid a primary in 15.

Here's the release:

ST. LOUIS - State Representative Mike Vogt joined Kevin Gunn today to announce his endorsement of Kevin Gunn for the 15th Senatorial District.  "I believe Kevin Gunn will effectively represent the Democratic Party in the upcoming elections," said Representative Vogt.  "More importantly, he will be a great Senator for the people of the 15th District.

"I am honored and flattered to have the support of Representative Vogt," said Gunn.  "His strong leadership and vast contacts will be invaluable to my campaign as we work on ensuring victory in November of 2008."
Kevin Gunn is a City Councilman in Webster Groves as well as an attorney with Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal law firm in St. Louis.  Gunn was previously the Chief of Staff for Congressman Dick Gephardt.  Kevin and his wife Amy live in Webster Groves with their 2 kids.


Posted by: at 6:42 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (3)

Koster - Welcome 

I shadowed Chris Koster on the day of his announcement. This is part two (of three parts) of what I saw. Part one is here.   


It’s 7:45 in the morning of that morning. Senator Chris Koster, like most senators, is a multi-tasker. He’s driving; he’s fiddling with his speech; he’s talking on the phone.  

On the line is Senator Tim Green, wishing him a hearty welcome to the Democratic Party.  Green and Koster are legislative allies, bound by their devotion to the cause of labor.

Months ago Koster had described to me his political philosophy as one that was pro-business and pro-labor.  Initially, it sounded like the boy who wants to be everything to everyone.  But he explained it in terms of a business spreadsheet. And as he did, it made sense.

There are lots of line items, he said.  The revenue line – he wants to help business grow that line; the taxes line – he wants to help business reduce that one; on each line he’s on business’ side. Except when it comes to the labor line item. Then he says, No way. No cutting there. He’ll help business every way he can, but never on the backs of labor.  He won’t help them make money by taking it out of the pockets of workers.

It was a remarkable conversation, to me because he had taken what are normally opposing sides and moved the argument about like Rubik’s cube, until it all lined up into a coherent and persuasive case.  He was either an extraordinary thinker or an extraordinary communicator.

After saying goodbye to Green, he calls his secretary at the Capitol. He’s concerned that the Republicans may play petty.  They might come, box up his possessions and kick him out of his office.  He asks that she take care of his personal items, but in the end it seems he has only one possession he cares about.  It’s a painting, one he commissioned, of the Senate Chamber. Could she put it in a safe place? If they are rough with other things that’s okay, but try to protect the painting.









An hour later – 8:36 am – Koster is knotting his necktie by the reflection in his SUV car window.  He’s a half hour away from making the big announcement, but seems utterly calm.

During the drive to Columbia from Jefferson City this morning, Chuck Hatfield tossed possible questions to Koster.  It was practice, but also playful. Hatfield predicted that the media would focus largely on “process” questions and little on policy issues, but he hits Koster from all angles.  I noticed the day’s karma appeared to be favoring Koster: each time he got zinged with a particularly tough question, his phone rang.

The phone rings. It’s Attorney General Jay Nixon calling to welcome him to the Party. 


It’s a good crowd as Koster starts to speak in front of the pillars of the University of Missouri.  There’s a healthy press contingent, but because Columbia is a hop from Jefferson City, the crowd is flavored by the denizens of Missouri politics.

Jeff Harris’ team has the strongest showing. Vince Currao, Harris’ fundraiser, shows up, wearing sunglasses and as looking inconspicuous as possible. And Sean Spence, also a Harris supporter, who ran Susan Montee’s auditor campaign, just happened to be out jogging that morning.  

There’s a high school-aged boy handing out fliers who looks like he’d rather be rolling dice and slaying dragons.  The fliers expose Koster’s unDemocratic record.  It’s a hit job produced by the Boone County Democratic Central Committee. Boone County is where the crowd is assembled and it’s Harris’ home turf. The flier is identical to the email I received from a Harris consultant that morning.

Republicans are also present, including Chris Roepe, Senate Floor Leader Charlie Shield’s chief of staff. Though this morning Roepe was without his usual chirpy demeanor; And the ever-pleasant Farrah Fite, the communications person for the Republican’s Senate Majority Caucus, is taking notes.


After the press conference ends, I’m walking towards the car with Koster. We’re alone.

“You’re a Democrat now,” I say.  He smiles and we cross the street.

Like a walk down the aisle, it’s meaningless until you say, “I Do.”  Koster had just said I Do to the Democratic Party.  And part of the vow was a change in his abortion stance.  He was previously both pro-life and pro-stem cell.  With the change in party, he decided to “rip the band-aid off,” and committed to fully support the “Roe framework.” 

He explained the change in position as fruit from the same contemplation and self-reflection that had yielded the party switch. And it largely escaped the press corps’ notice this day until Koster’s last appearance in St. Louis, home of the Post-Dispatch’s canny investigator Jo Mannies.


In St. Louis, near the end of the day, Koster met with two of the city’s prominent African American leaders – Representative Rodney Hubbard and former mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.  Koster had made a surprise appearance at Hubbard’s state senate campaign kick-off a few months before. Hubbard had shown Koster the town during one of his previous visits. The two have a kinetic bond.  A bond of the fearless, a bond of those who defy fences, kindred spirits who choose their friends despite the world.

So the book-ends of Koster’s announcement day were two very different Democrats.  Tim Green and Rodney Hubbard.  Catholic and Muslim, white and black, pro-life and pro-choice, pro-labor and pro-business.

Perhaps being welcomed by such opposites of the Democratic Party gave Koster a sense of home that night.


Posted by: at 9:32 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (7)

August 16, 2007 

Mike Evans Makes It Official 

His announcement has a new contact person. 

Posted by: at 1:31 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (2)

August 10, 2007 

New name in the 15th 

Some Republicans aren’t thrilled with Rep. Jim Avery as the front-running candidate to replace Senator Mike Gibbons in the 15th district. A new name they’re putting up: Dr. Joseph Forand. He’s an anesthesiologist.


Posted by: at 7:17 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (14)

August 9, 2007 

Zoole to run in 87th 

Mark Zoole started a campaign committee to run for the 87th Rep. District as a Democrat.

Zoole is an attorney and adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law.  He expects to emphasize his support of first-responders, stem cell research and his opposition to new taxes.

Though the district is solidly Republican, Cynthia Kramer netted 45% last cycle.  She spent $130,000 to do so; Zoole expects to raise a similar amount and thinks that Kramer's showing demonstrates that the district is winnable for Democrats.


Posted by: at 3:02 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (17)

Rezek in 108 

Tony Rezek is jumping into the race for the 108th State Rep District.  Rezek, a retired firefighter, is the second candidate for that seat.  The first declared candidate was Jake Hummel. The current rep., Tom Villa is term-limited.

There has long been a rumor that the firefighters would have a candidate.  Villa has feuded with the firefighter over their efforts to repeal the residency requirement.

Still, if Villa runs for the 5th senate district, their rift may a limited impact on the race.



Posted by: at 2:59 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (6)

August 8, 2007 

Lembke for Senate 

As expected, Jim Lembke amended his campaign committee, changing the office sought from Rep to Senate.  Lembke seeks the 1st district seat, which Harry Kennedy will vacate because of term limits. 

Former state representative Joan Barry is running on the Democratic side. 


Posted by: at 2:15 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (0)

Pritt Quit 

Drew Pritt, Mike Evans' former campaign manager, called today.  He says that he quit the campaign because Evans did not pay him.  This is contrary to Evans' campaign finance filings which, as we noted yesterday, show Pritt being paid $4,500 on June 1.  

Posted by: at 12:52 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (16)

August 6, 2007 

Ince Starts Campaign Committee for Governor 

Cecil Ince started a campaign committee to run for Governor as a Republican. He's the Missouri coordinator for the Republican Liberty Caucus. 

Posted by: at 3:00 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (2)

August 3, 2007 

Newman's in; Hartmann's her Treasurer 

Stacey Newman will file with the Ethic Commission today. Here is her announcement.  Publisher Ray Hartmann will act as her campaign treasurer. Newman is currently executive director of the Missouri Women's Coalition.

She joins Steve Brown and Gina Mitten in seeking the 73rd District seat to replace Margaret Donnelly who is running for Attorney General.


Posted by: at 9:18 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (15)

August 2, 2007 

Walton to Primary Green? 

It's been rumored for a while, but Rep. Juanita Head Walton officially started a campaign committee for the 13th Senate District.

That seat is currently held by Sen. Tim Green. Walton is term limited.


Posted by: at 9:59 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (5)

July 25, 2007 

92nd Update 

A Republican primary is brewing to replace Rep Portwood in the 92nd.  Portwood is termed.

Bob Tullock is an Alderman with the city of Manchester and has taken aggressive anti-eminent domain stances.

His opponent is Susan Allen, a physical therapist, with no political background. The treasurer of her committee however is Dr. Gina Loudon, wife of Senator John Loudon.


Posted by: at 8:49 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (5)

17th Update 

It's a little bit further from the arch, but St. Charles' 17th Rep district might be interesting.  Vicki Schneider will get a rematch from Kenny Biermann.  This district wasn't on anyone's radar in 2006, and Biermann nearly upset Schneider, scoring 49% of the vote.

Some say that Schneider was simply caught by surprise and will win handily this time.  Others think 2006 was an indication of St. Charles' changing political landscape and he may well unseat her in 2008.


Posted by: at 12:30 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (1)

73rd Update 

In addition to Steve Brown, two more candidates appear poised to enter.

Jo says that Stacy Newman's entry announcement is imminent.

Another name that's circulating is Gina Mitten. She is president of the Hadley-Lincoln Township Democratic Club.  The rumors of Mitten's candidacy seem well-founded considering the evidence.

UPDATE: Here is Mitten's press release announcing her candidacy.


Posted by: at 1:45 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (0)

15th Senate District Update 

Gibbons is termed.

Republican Rep. Jim Avery says he still hasn't made up his mind for sure, but all indications appear that he's going to do it.

If so, Concord Township Committeeman Mike Leara is poised to run for Avery's Rep seat. Leara is a 47 year old investment representative. He's been committeeman since 2003.

On the Democratic side, Webster Groves Councilman Kevin Gunn has filed a committee for the 15th Senate.  Gunn served as Congressman Gephardt's chief of staff.


Posted by: at 8:51 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (4)

July 23, 2007 

I Tube, You Tube 

Going one step further than April's MSNBC/Politico debate between the candidates for the Republican nomination, CNN/YouTube debate will allow inquiring minds to ask questions directly to the candidates through YouTube video entries chosen by the CNN political team.

Beginning tonight at 6 p.m. central with the Democratic candidates, those asking the questions will see their submitted questions, live, on CN.

They are asking for intelligent questions and creative presentation. Given the quality of entertainment on YouTube, lets hope they respond with gusto.

Cranky chicken
That said, they are unlikely to chose anything as interesting as this submission.

Here are some of some of the nearly 3,000 entries submitted as of this morning.

Those who are interested can join the Drinking Liberally Debate Watch Party tonight at the Schlafly Taproom, 2100 Locust, beginning at 5:30 pm.

The debate, hosted by Anderson Cooper, begins at 6 p.m.

Posted by: at 12:52 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (1)

Steve Brown Enters 73rd 

Attorney General Jay Nixon's Former Deputy Chief Counsel Steve Brown Files
For 73rd District

Nephew of Sue Shear Runs for Her Old Seat


ST. LOUIS -- Steve Brown, former deputy chief counsel for Attorney General Jay Nixon and nephew of legendary Representative Sue Shear, announced today his intention to run for Shear's old seat. In paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission Brown indicates that he will run for the 73rd District recently vacated by Margaret Donnelly's Attorney General's campaign.


"In the 70's as a student at Glenridge Elementary, I stood outside my school and handed out election flyers for my aunt," Brown said. "I listened to her talk to constituents about protecting the health of women and children and fighting for those less fortunate.  Her words still ring in my ears and although great strides have been made, there is much work to be done.  My goals in Jefferson City would mirror the progressive tradition of this seat as set down by people like Sue Shear and Margaret Donnelly."

* *

Continuing in this tradition, Brown's priorities will be fighting the Republican assault on Medicaid and expanding access to affordable healthcare, using his background in the Attorney General's office to protect Missouri's environment from corporate polluters, and protecting women's reproductive freedom and lifesaving stem cell research.

* *

"The people of the 73rd District deserve a strong, progressive voice," said Brown. "As a husband, father, and lifelong St. Louisan, I will go to Jefferson City to expand opportunity for all, and to return common sense to Missourigovernment by rescuing it from the reactionary Republicans now in charge." 

Posted by: at 6:58 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (5)

July 20, 2007 

It's Official - Donnelly's In 

For AG.

Here's the press release.


Posted by: at 12:55 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (5)

July 11, 2007 

Coburn for Gov 

An Independent enters the race.

Her website.


Posted by: at 3:54 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (3)

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