State Senate Tip Sheet: July 2016

  

Heading into the home stretch of the primary season and with the 2nd quarter financial reports in, we took a look at the contested primary and general senate elections in the state.

 

COMPETITIVE PRIMARIES

#1 SD 23 TOSS UP
R+3.3 (Dempsey)

This race is a TOSS UP, but it has been a roller coaster. Initially many felt that Rep. Zerr would cruise to victory. However, as late spring turned into early summer, Eigel seemed to be gaining steam and may have even opened up a lead. Zerr has the experience campaigning in St. Charles County and big names like Ehlmann, Gross, and Dempsey are behind her, but Eigel has attacked her record as not being conservative enough.

SD23 GOP candidates debate on TWMP on Sunday, July 17
SD23 GOP candidates debate on TWMP on Sunday, July 17

Now Zerr’s campaign seems to be firing on all cylinders, and Eigel has proven to be a campaigning machine. Sen. Bob Onder has been very active in this campaign and many Republican mega-donors have weighed in on his behalf. Eigel has the benefit of no record so he can chart his positions from today forward, but Zerr is attempting to drive home the point that he just moved to the district a year ago.

Then there is Michael Carter, a judge with tons of personality who can remind you of Donald Trump at times, and he is quick to encourage that comparison as he boasts of self-funding his campaign.

Right now, speculation on the ground is that Eigel has a small lead, but the first attacks on him have just hit and the race is tightening. If it is a 2 or 3 point race on election day and comes down to turnout, Zerr could have an advantage. However, look for Carter to perform better than anyone expects as the attacks between the frontrunners fly. Bottom line is this race isn’t over and it will be a nasty last two weeks in St. Charles.

  • Michael Carter

Cash on Hand: no report filed
Raised this Quarter: no report filed
Raised this Cycle: no report filed

  • Bill Eigel

Cash on Hand: $345k
Raised this Quarter: $173k
Raised this Cycle: $445k

  • Rep. Anne Zerr

Cash on Hand: $324k
Raised this Quarter: $99k
Raised this Cycle: $382k

 

#2 SD 15 TOSS UP
R+9.3 (Schmitt)

This race sat under the radar leading up to the end of session, but what was discovered was that Koenig was hustling doors for months and the financial advantage that many assumed Stream would have never came.

Stream on TWMP
Stream on TWMP
Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 11.32.36 AM
Koenig on TWMP

As they approach the finish line, they are both scrambling for funds and hitting doors. The conventional wisdom on the ground is that Stream had a lead, but Koenig has not only caught up with him, but may have opened up slight lead.

There are several factors at play here as David Humphreys and several interest groups have weighed in for Koenig after they bought into the theory he could win and are assisting him with independent expenditures and straight cash. Also, Koenig has a competitive multi-candidate primary for his House seat that should generate extra votes for him while Stream’s former House seat is at best a 50/50 Republican seat.

Stream certainly still has a name ID advantage after his hyper-competitive county executive race two years ago and is the rare person in politics with very few enemies. However, it stands to reason that Koenig’s ground game will be superior at turnout and having a 2-to-1 cash disadvantage makes the race too close to call. If there is a race where a special interest could tip the balance, it would be this one.

  • Rep. Andrew Koenig

Cash on Hand: $207k
Raised this Quarter: $105k
Raised this Cycle: $232k

  • Former Rep. Rick Stream

Cash on Hand: $97k
Raised this Quarter: $81k
Raised this Cycle: $135k

 

#3 SD 11 LEAN RIZZO
D+8.9 (Levota)

This race has the potential to get nasty quick, but it looks likely that Rep. Rizzo won’t fire the first shot and currently sits with a 4-to-1 cash on hand advantage to respond.

Rizzo
Rizzo

It’s puzzling to many how this primary developed, and then accelerated when the Kansas City Building Trades endorsed Jessica Podhola, whose background with the Painter’s Union likely carried the day. However, there hasn’t been a great deal of financial backing that has gone to her since garnering that endorsement while Rizzo is up on television and we understand that he is doing doors daily from early afternoon until dark.

Podhola is executing a ground game as well, but some have questioned her inability to file her campaign reports on time, and they may have been tardy this quarter as well. This race could be viewed as a microcosm of the changing Democratic Party, but as of today, it looks like a potentially very competitive primary that may be less eventful than first thought.

  • Anthony Banks

Cash on Hand: $128.65
Raised this Quarter: $1k
Raised this Cycle: $1k

  • Jessica Podhola

Cash on Hand: $35k
Raised this Quarter: $31k
Raised this Cycle: $85k

  • Rep. John Rizzo

Cash on Hand: $147k
Raised this Quarter: $118k
Raised this Cycle: $295k

 

#7 SD 21 SAFE HOSKINS
R+4.9 (Pearce)

This is a race that just really isn’t one. Former Rep. Mike McGhee looks more like he is kicking the tires on a race than actually running. We understand that it was told to him that his backers from four years ago would not be funding his race against Rep. Hoskins.

denny hoskins
Hoskins

Rep. Hoskins has been fully supported by not only outgoing Sen. Pearce, but most of the groups who helped make up his winning coalition in 2012. If you want to bet on one winner next month, it’s that Rep. Hoskins will become Sen. Hoskins.

  • Rep. Denny Hoskins

Cash on Hand: $125k
Raised this Quarter: $58k
Raised this Cycle: $174k

  • Former Rep. Mike McGhee

Cash on Hand: $2k
Raised this Quarter: $11k
Raised this Cycle: $11k

 

COMPETITIVE GENERAL ELECTIONS

#1 SD 19 TOSS UP
D+0.7 (Schaefer)

This is just simply the heavyweight fight in the state. It could be that come late October this is the most competitive race on any ballot in the state. Rep. Webber is the type of candidate and the 19th is the type of seat that Democrats are going to have to win to be competitive again in the General Assembly.

Rep. Stephen Webber advocates for unions at a VFW labor event in Columbia May 31.
Rep. Stephen Webber advocates for unions at a VFW labor event in Columbia May 31.
Rep. Caleb Rowden speaks at a campaign headquarters opening in Boone County June 4.
Rep. Caleb Rowden speaks at a campaign headquarters opening in Boone County June 4.

Conversely, Rep. Rowden is just the type of candidate that Republicans have to have to win these type of hyper-competitive seats in Boone County.

Both campaigns will be fully funded and then some. While the national mood will likely play a factor, Columbia has a way of making its own decisions. It’s likely the conservative bonafides that Senator Schaefer spent the last few years brandishing won’t serve Rep. Rowden well. He is a marketer by trade and has a very accomplished campaign team who know how to win races in Boone County. It will be fun to watch.

  • Rep. Caleb Rowden

Cash on Hand: $357k
Raised this Quarter: $170k
Raised this Cycle: $476k

  • Rep. Stephen Webber

Cash on Hand: $784k
Raised this Quarter: $259k
Raised this Cycle: $881k

 

#2 SD 1 TOSS UP LEAN DEMOCRAT

D+5.1 (SIFTON)

This race is building in South County out of a mix of factors. First of all, Sen. Sifton is one of the leading senators in the minority, and the one that Republican senators fear the most, which makes them have a little added incentive to target him. Second, there will be no place to spend the money that the Senate Majority Fund is raising except SD19 and this seat. Third, the seat is winnable for Republicans and there is a chance that Donald Trump could do well in South County.

Sifton on TWMP
Sifton on TWMP

While Randy Jotte has run several times before for more local offices, he is a doctor and that is how he is being marketed to voters. This race will be targeted, and it’s one that the Republicans could flip. However, a motivated, fully engaged Sen. Sifton will bring up turnout and could be the difference in a few House races in the 1st. Sifton should win this race and he will have the advantage. But the Republicans are going to make him work for it, and he may make them regret it when session gavels in.

  • Randy Jotte

Cash on Hand: $191k
Raised this Quarter: $225k
Raised this Cycle: $227k

  • Senator Scott Sifton

Cash on Hand: $650k
Raised this Quarter: $202k
Raised this Cycle: $1.2 million

 

#3 SD 17 LIKELY REPUBLICAN
R+0.8 (Silvey)

Silvey floor
Silvey

Senator Silvey has played his cards masterfully. He serves in one of the most evenly partisan-divided Senate seats in the state and managed to not only raise enough money, but to earn enough respect from people on both sides of the aisle to fend off a primary opponent in an increasingly divided Republican Party. He was also able to dodge a top-tier Democratic opponent which is why this race is rated LIKELY REPUBLICAN.

However, one of the largest contributions from an individual to any Senate Democrat of the cycle came to his opponent, Josiah Bechthold, from David Humphreys, who we’re pretty sure is a Republican donor. It’s basically the only money he has taken in, and just goes to show how bizarre the world of Republican politics is these days. Sen. Silvey is almost certain to return to the Senate, but in the swirling winds of billionaires, anything is possible.

  • Josiah Bechthold

Cash on Hand: $19k
Raised this Quarter: $25k
Raised this Cycle: $25k

  • Senator Ryan Silvey

Cash on Hand: $553k
Raised this Quarter: $133k
Raised this Cycle: $824k

*Senators Libla, Wallingford, Emery, Nasheed, Holsman, and the Republican primary winner in SD21 have marginal or third party opponents.

 

 

2017-18 Missouri Senate Projection:

24 Republicans, 9 Democrats, & 1 Toss Up

 

Notes:

Governor Nixon has set at special election concurrent with the general election to fill SD4 which will is a safe Democrat seat likely to be filled by Rep. Jake Hummel.

Republican senators Parson, Kraus and Brown are all running for statewide office, and if successful could reduce the Republican majority to 21. However, it’s highly unlikely that all three are successful, but it is likely that at least one of the three will move to the executive branch next year.

Precedent has been that some governors, such as Governor Holden, held a special election in February after Senator Maxwell was elected Lt. Governor, while others such as Governor Nixon have left Senate seats open for well over a year. Each of the three seats are likely to elect a Republican so look for a Republican governor to schedule a quick election where a potential Governor Koster would be slower to schedule a special election.