During the latest regular legislative session the right wingnut controlled Missouri General Assembly failed to continue the legislation enabling the previously non-controversial Federal Reimbursement Allowance [FRA] program for Missouri.
There is a looming deadline for legislation to implement the program before it impacts Medicaid and forces cuts in other general revenue funded areas.
Governor Mike Parson (r) called a special session of the General Assembly in an attempt to deal with the mess.
Today in the Missouri House:
House Communications @MOHOUSECOMM
The House has truly agreed to and finally passed SB 1 (Extends the sunset on certain health care provider federal reimbursement allowances and modifies provisions relating to certain family planning health care services) with a vote of 140-13. #moleg
[….] 1:24 PM · Jun 30, 2021
Libertarians, you gave it the good old college try. Greens, really? There are that many people on the left in Missouri when faced with an obvious binary difference who decide, instead, to choose purity? Independents? Given old media memes you probably thought there were a lot more of you than you are. Democrats, keep chasing those “Independent” unicorns. Constitution Party, bless your hearts.
The distribution of seats by party in the Missouri House of Representatives – 2019 Session
So, the Republicans go into the 2018 legislative session with 116 seats in the House, Democrats with 47. We will all see the results of that distribution when bills for the 2019 session are prefiled in December.
There was some wingnut grandstanding, but Representative Emery does this or something like it every year, and even when the republicans had both chambers by wider numbers and the Governor’s office it went nowhere. That is because Matt Blunt would have signed it and nobody really wants it, but they voted for Emery’s perennial bill as an amendment to an omnibus bill that is never going to see the light of day. Perhaps you have heard of this game we like to play around here? It’s called “Missouri Politics.” Or Calvinball. They both work.
But on the other hand, P.Z. Meyers was paying attention to this idiocy, so maybe something got past me while I was gearing up for Truman Days? The fact that P.Z. was paying attention to our devolution experiment in the statehouse merited a little cursory legwork. Or at least picking up the phone and calling a couple of friends in the state lege. Specifically two Democratic state reps whose numbers are in my cell phone. (The stenographer ain’t the only one with cell phone numbers, you know. He just likes to remember when that was the case and pretend it still is.)
Let’s have a little background – the Missouri legislature is a textbook example of what happens when term limits become reality and any state considering them need only look at our statehouse to see the folly of that notion. There is no institutional memory, no comity and no cooperation; just agenda pushing and “making ones mark” in the limited time they have in office – because once they get there they like it and don’t want to leave. House districts are small, and there is a lot of competition for who can win the Crazy-stakes and get their name known so they can run for the Senate – where the numbers are far fewer. Hence we end up with morons equating SCHIP with slavery and a Representative who, in 2009, makes reference to the “War of Northern Aggression.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the republicans in the Missouri House of Representatives are, to a member, well and truly insane. They offer all manner of idiotic bills and amendments that will never see the light of day, and Emery attaching his bill as an amendment to SB 296, legislation dealing with professional registration, is merely supporting evidence of same.
“338.575. 1. No licensed pharmacy in this state shall be required to perform, assist, recommend, refer to, or participate in any act or service in connection with any drug or device that is an abortifacient, including but not limited to the RU486 drug and emergency contraception such as the Plan B drug.
2. No civil or criminal cause of action shall accrue against a pharmacy due to a refusal to perform, assist, recommend, refer for, or participate in any act or service in accordance with subsection 1 of this section.
3. No board, commission, or other agency or instrumentality of this state shall deny, revoke, suspend, or otherwise discipline the license of a pharmacy, nor shall it impose any other condition of operation due to a refusal to perform, assist, recommend, refer for, or participate in any act or service in accordance with subsection 1 of this section.
4. No pharmacy shall be denied or discriminated against in eligibility for or the receipt of any public benefit, assistance, or privilege of any kind due to a refusal to perform, assist, recommend, refer for, or participate in any act or service in accordance with subsection 1 of this section.”;
Yes, it is offensive wingnut language, but the only reason it passed was because it is dead on arrival back in the Senate, while giving some of the blue dogs and slightly less insane republicans (in a clinical setting they would be allowed the occasional daypass, vs. lockdown and chemical restraints) cover to pretend they tried to do something for the frothing masses who would turn back the calendar to pre-suffrage if they had their druthers.
And even if they had managed to slip Ruffies to the entire Senate – and nothing less would allow this horrible piece of legislation to move out of reconciliation and to the floor – much less to the Governor’s desk. And if it did make it that far it would be vetoed so fast that heads would spin. Unless someone in the wingnut caucus has mastered Jedi mind tricks, that is. And everyone knows that there is only one person in the state lege who possesses such a gift, and she is a Democrat.
Eleven seats. Jake Zimmerman told the West County Dems that that’s the magic number to take back the House in Missouri. Eleven is a lot of seats to take, so Dems will be looking to expand the playing field from the obvious chances.
Of the close-to-thirty Republican-held seats that might possibly be vulnerable next year, it’s easy to identify the top ten. Webster Groves, a St. Louis suburb, is a great example of an obvious chance for us. Last year, Jim Trout, a relatively unknown candidate, didn’t have big bucks but he knocked on a lot of doors and came within 150 votes of toppling a three term incumbent Republican. That’s three terms the Republican had. So Trout’s opponent is termed out next year, and you’d better believe that we’ll be targeting that race like crazy and so will the Rs.
Jim Trout and Jeanne Kirkton, who made a run for that seat in ’04, are vying for the nomination, so Jake figures that one way or another, we’re going to have a good candidate there. And if the Dems have a good year with high turnout, in a district with that DPI and no incumbent, we ought to win that sucker.
We’ve got a bunch of opportunities like that around the state, for instance several in suburban Kansas City. Another top spot we’ll be targeting is in south St. Louis County:
Perhaps you’ll remember Jim Lembke, the diabolical, despicable Jim Lembke, who’s now running for the state Senate, and who must be stopped at all costs. But for purposes of the House, the diabolical, despicable Jim Lembke leaves that seat open. And suddenly you don’t have the hard-working creature of Satan, who’s been there for, like, six years, you’ll have some new creature of Satan, who nobody really knows who they are yet. And that’s potentially four or five percentage points of difference with a good Democratic candidate. Thank god we have a good Democratic candidate, whose name is Vicki (Englund), and she’s been working hard and raising money early. I like that district. Republicans’ll probably invest some money there because they’ll try and force us to work for it. But, you know what, I think the odds are very good we’re going to win it.
Jake could mention other great opportunites like that one, but where it really gets interesting is in the second and third tier opportunities. Those races are what give us a chance to get to that magic number of eleven–and to give Jake a chance to be called Mr. Chairman instead of Hey Dumbo. There are so many Nancy Boyda opportunities. Deb Lavender is just one of a crowd of Boyda-type candidates.
The seat that Judi Parker ran for last time, for example. That seat has the potential to be open because Jim Avery’s been expressing no interest in running again as the incumbent. And there are multiple open seats in St. Charles. Nobody thinks of St. Charles as a hotbed of Democratic territory:
But make no mistake. Claire McCaskill is a U.S. senator today because of St. Charles and Springfield. Think about that. You know, lots of people like to pat themselves on the back about how, you know, St. Louis came out great for Claire. But it came out for Claire about the way it’s supposed to come out for any Democratic candidate. Ditto Kansas City and the area of eastern Jackson County. But St. Chuck! St. Chuck turned out to the tune of 30,000 more than she was supposed to get there, than those old DPI numbers said. Springfield showed up in the neighborhood of about 18,000 votes more than the DPI numbers said Claire was supposed to get there.
Now that tells you a couple of things. First of all, it tells you that demographics change, that the DPI numbers reflect past elections. And, what it really tells you is that there is a shift going on.
It’s like the shift that’s taken place in St. Louis County. In the seventies, that was a Republican bastion. Democrats couldn’t dream of winning there. And most intelligent observers of the process would have said it was going to stay that way.
But it didn’t stay that way. Part of the change was about white flight to suburbs like St. Charles and part of it was just about political maturation. But whatever the reason, St. Louis County is now overwhelmingly Democratic and elects an African-American County Executive, Charlie Dooley.
St. Charles, too, is facing many of the same pressures that turned St. Louis County Democratic. It’s no longer just acres on acres of new developments, mixed with a few farmhouses, filled with people who moved out there to get away from people with a different skin color.
It’s maturing. Some of the people there have already raised their kids. Local issues are developing as the communities solidify, and land use is becoming an issue. There’s conflict between the Adolphus Busch camp, people who want to protect their duck hunting rights, and the developers. The fights on city councils and the recalls of councilmen over whether to protect land or doom it to strip malls are signs that this community is maturing and that we have a more competitive chance there.
It’s not an accident that Dems have three good opportunities in St. Charles next year. The first of those chances will come as a special election on primary day, Feb. 5th. Tom Fann is running for the seat that Republican Carl Bearden resigned from. It’s not the closest shot of the three districts, but it’s a real chance. And if any you want to contribute time and shoe leather, you could do a lot of good because in a special election anything can happen. And if Fann wins, whammo, we have the power of incumbency in that district.
So, between now and next November, Jake Zimmerman and Rachel Storch will be huddling behind closed doors, deciding where to put their resources, asking themselves: “Where can we win? Where can’t we win? Where have we got a shot? And where should we get involved on the ground just to make life miserable for the Republicans?
And, of course–as always–they’re at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to money. They’re sitting on about $200,000 right now, whereas the Republican HDCCC has about $800,000. What’s interesting about the gap is that both sides are getting about the same amounts from institutional sources–from the sort of people who just want to back a winner. They’ve been writing checks in about the same amounts to both sides, which is a pretty good gauge of what those folks think is coming.
The difference in funding is that individual Republicans can put the arm on individual wealthy contributors and get money from sources like the local Chamber of Commerce. Those candidates raise more money than our candidates do and turn a lot of it over to their HDCCC.
One way to put a dent in the funding difference is to urge Democratic legislators in safe districts to contribute to the HDCCC. Any of you who are regular readers of the national blogs will remember that sites like Kos, MyDD, and others put pressure in the last election cycle on Democrats in safe districts to contribute from their campaign war chests so that the DCCC could help out candidates in close districts. That’s a project we need to undertake in Missouri this cycle.
Jake suggested that those of us living in safe Democratic districts make it a project of ours to find out whether our reps have contributed to the HDCCC. If they haven’t, we need to urge them to do so. Let me take it a step further. As the campaign season progresses, this blog site will collect that sort of data and put pressure on Democratic reps in safe districts to invest some of their money for the good of the party.
But, at the end of the day, how our party does in an election is less about how much money we have and about how Jake and Rachel strategize than it is about having good candidates. It is the job of all activists to keep an eye out for the people who’d make good candidates.
In Chesterfield, for example, that Republican affluent bastion, with a DPI of 42, the right candidate could pull it off. Jane Cunningham, the wingnut who’s held that seat, is more interested in censoring people’s crotch activities than in good governance. But she’s popular. And she’s gone. Okay, not gone. She’s running for the state senate, and as such presents a threat that, like Lembke, must be stopped at all costs. But her House seat is empty, and that means that you can take away five DPI points from the Republican candidate. It means that, with no incumbent to face, the right Democrat might able to take that seat.
Maybe a strong D candidate wouldn’t win there, but, if not, we’ll win somewhere else, we’ll take some of those second and third tier races. And the more good candidates we field, the more we’ll spread the other side’s resources thin, increasing our chances of taking those eleven magic seats.
In the last few days three individuals have announced as Democratic candidates for the open seat in the 121st Legislative District.
The 121st includes the cities of Warrensburg, Holden, and Knob Noster in Johnson County. The University of Central Missouri and Whiteman Air Force Base (B-2 bomber) are also in the district.
Both Anthony Arton and Jeff Alvarado announced last Thursday at a meeting of the Johnson County Democratic Club in Warrensburg. Alvarado ran in 2006. Jim Jackson (who ran in 2002) announced today at the 4th Congressional District Federation of Democratic Women’s Club meeting in Warrensburg.
David Pearce (r-plastic smile) currently holds the seat. He has opted to run for the open 31st District Senate seat in 2008. In an open seat race in 2002 Pearce defeated Jim Jackson 4984 to 3301 – this was the most expensive race in the history of the district. In 2004 no Democratic party candidate filed. Pearce defeated a Libertarian candidate 10,212 to 1685. There aren’t that many Libertarians in Johnson County, but a significant number of Democratic voters weren’t going to cast their votes for Pearce. In 2006 Pearce defeated Jeff Alvarado 6405 to 2708 with a different Libertarian candidate getting 448 votes.
Anthony Arton, a University of Central Misouri student, is a former president of the College Republicans at Central, served as a legislative intern [pdf] for David Pearce, and is the student member [pdf] of Central’s Board of Governors. He grew up in Warrensburg. Arton switched from the republican party to the Democratic Party in August 2007.
Jeff Alvarado ran a small (and under financed) campaign in 2006 – at times he must have felt like he was tilting at windmills. Alvarado is retired from the Air Force. He lives in Warrensburg.
Jim Jackson is a former Mayor of Warrensburg. For close to 25 years he owned an operated an appliance store in downtown Warrensburg (the store was destroyed by a lightning caused fire a few years ago). He has been active on a variety of boards and in community issues.
In the interest of full disclosure: I participated extensively in Jim Jackson’s 2002 campaign.
Rumors abound about republican candidates. From “no one, yet” to notorious Johnson County Clerk Gilbert Powers.