As lively as the primary season has been and as the upcoming general election season is anticipated to be in a lot of places, that’s how boring it is and will be around here. The only statewide office on the ballot this year is Auditor, and Tom Danforth has no serious opposition. There are anticipated to be no party flips in any of the state’s Congressional seats, because the 2011 redistricting process was designed to engineer six reds and two blues, and none of the incumbents are facing serious primary challengers.
All that’s on my radar for August 5 are two state Senate races, five statewide ballot measures and the St. Louis County Executive Democrat primary.
Issue: The farming rights amendment
Recommendation: Don’t care
Analysis: This is basically agribusiness versus the animal rights crowd. I’m not fond of either gang.
Issue: The RKBA amendment to the state constitution
Analysis: It does not matter if this wins or loses, nothing substantial will change legally speaking. It makes me wonder why all the time was spent in the General Assembly earlier this year bickering over this thing, and yes, I pretty much had a front row seat to this baby being born.
Issue: The three-fourth cent transportation sales tax
Analysis: This was almost a proposal for a full cent sales tax increase. Since St. Louis City and St. Louis County got the City-Arch-River sales tax last year, I predict that Amendment 7 loses in St. Louis County and therefore has no chance statewide. It may seem curious that Kander put this on the August and not the November ballot, thereby making it far more likely that it loses. However, Kander and Nixon are both elected Democrats, Nixon opposes 7, and I don’t believe his purported reason even though I have no line on his real reason, and Kander is following Nixon’s lead.
If this was a quarter cent instead three-fourths of a cent, I would lean toward voting for it and think that it has a good chance of passing.
Issue: The state lottery should create a “Veterans Lottery Ticket” with proceeds going to projects and social services relating to military veterans.
Recommendation: Don’t care
Prediction: It has “veterans” in it, so it will pass
Issue: Adding electronic communications and data to the list of things that are secure from unreasonable searches and seizures in the state Constitution’s Bill of Rights
Analysis: But because so much of these communications and data transfers go across state lines, and therefore become a Federal object, this will have exceedingly little positive effect. This vote is more of a non-binding referendum on the NSA.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE, DEMOCRAT
Race: Charley Dooley, Incumbent, versus Steve Stenger, County Councilman from South County
Analysis: I think it will be fairly close. Dooley will sweep the black vote from North County, of course. Stenger should vastly clean up in his own County Council district. And I think West, Northwest and Central St. Louis County will make the difference. And also, if this was just about blacks versus South County, I think Stenger would still win because someone from South County will be far more likely to turn out on August 5 than a black voter anywhere in St. Louis County.
I live in Ballwin, (just outside Senate-24, see below), and if I had a competitive Republican race on my ballot, I would be taking a Republican ballot. But I will be taking a Democrat ballot just to vote for Stenger and to vote out Dooley. I have a somewhat personal reason for wanting Dooley to retire from politics.
Race: Bob Onder, Vicki Schneider, Chuck Gatschenberger
Analysis: My job had me out at the St. Charles County Fair in Wentzville the previous three evenings, and Wentzville just happens to be within the confines of Senate-2. I met all three candidates over these past three evenings, had a chance to talk to them enough. And I am somewhat more impressed with Chuck Gatschenberger than the other two. Now, this is not a situation where there’s a huge difference between the three of them. However, since this is one of those red districts where the Republican primary is the election, these relatively minute differences become all the more important.
My spidey sense tells me that Bob Onder will eke this out, because he’s got one thing going for him in a political climate like this: He has never held public office before. But this isn’t his first time trying: If “Bob Onder” is familiar to you, it should be from six years ago. I endorsed Onder over Blaine Luetkemeyer that season, but the voters saw differently. And to confirm a thought I had here in the recent past, I have heard credible gossip that Blaine Luetkemeyer is thinking about running for Governor in 2016.
But if there are enough undecided voters who are making up their minds based on the County Fair, Gatschenberger can pull it out. In which case there will be a good chunk of St. Charles County who will be represented by two different people with hard to spell last names.
Race: Robb Hicks, Jack Spooner, Jay Ashcroft
Prediction: Duh, he picked the right father
Analysis: I don’t live too far from this district.
I’ve met Jay Ashcroft in passing, and while I wouldn’t consider him Satan incarnate, I don’t think he’d be my favorite person in the whole world either. He’s just one of many people who think they deserve something just because they’re the son or daughter of someone important.
I don’t know anything about Jack Spooner off hand, and while I haven’t met Robb Hicks personally, I know enough about him from second hand sources to know that he’s the most reliable of the three.
BONUS COVERAGE: SENATE-10
Not relevant for August 5, because there’s only one Republican and one Democrat on the ballot. But it’s going to be a weird situation.
First off, the incumbent for that “district,” one Julie Justus, a Democrat, is term limited out. The catch is that she’s only the “incumbent” for Senate-10 because she won her second and final term in Senate-10 when it was a Kansas City-area district, in the last decade. In 2011, Senate-10 was redistricted to east central Missouri and this year is the first time that Senate-10 is up after the redistricting.
Second, don’t be surprised if the Democrat wins the new Senate-10 this year, though since it would be replacing another Democrat, it would not result in a party flip. The Democrat nominee will be current Rep. Ed Schieffer, from Lincoln County, and the Republican nominee will be Rep. Jeanie Riddle, who was Assistant Majority Leader in the House for one term. She lives in Callaway County, namely the town of Mokane. The only way anyone knows where in a general sense Mokane is if one is driving to or from Jefferson City along Highway 54, where Highway 63 splits off from/joins with 54 north of Jefferson City across the Missouri River is also where Route 94 ends. The first town along Route 94 heading back east is Mokane, and it’s just a dot on the map.
While Schieffer is a Democrat, and one of the rare rural Democrats left in the General Assembly, he’s pretty sane and pretty rock solid and grounded. He gets along well with Ed Kaspar, who owns the two stations in Warrenton, KWRE and KFAV, and also buys a lot of ads on both stations during both political season and sponsors their Christmas music.
Lincoln and Warren Counties are the two big population centers of the district, both are considered St. Louis exurbs, and both are part of the St. Louis MSA according to the Census Bureau. Callaway County has plenty of people of its own, Holts Summit and New Bloomfield are Jefferson City bedroom communities. But still, whoever wins Senate-10 will have to go through Warrenton and Troy. Schieffer’s advantage in November will be his home base of Lincoln County, the most populous county in the district, and probably Warren County, too. Riddle’s advantage will be that she’s a Republican running in a Republican-friendly climate.