JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Is Sen. Gary Romine eyeing a bid for Senate President Pro Tem? A new political action committee could be a possible indicator of such a bid.
Paperwork for a new PAC, called the Southeast Missouri Conservatives PAC, was filed last week with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The treasurer for the new PAC is Jennifer Crouch.
But according to MoScout, the new PAC is a leadership PAC, which is often used by a politician to help others in their party by helping them raise funds. For many politicians, it’s a practice used to show their willingness – and ability – to raise funds to aid colleagues in campaigns, which is often a duty of leadership in the legislature. It’s typically a tool used in the nation’s legislature but has recently become more common as campaign finance laws still look to be sorted out following the passage of Amendment 2 in 2016.
If the senator from St. Francois County is looking at a potential bid for the pro tem seat, then he would be joining Sen. Bob Onder and Dave Schatz in the race to be the successor to Senate President Pro Tea Ron Richard, who is term-limited after 2018.
If that is the case, then the thing to watch will be whether the three men can work out a deal allowing each man to a position they may seek within the Senate, like majority floor leader (Sen. Mike Kehoe is also term-limited in 2018) or one of the most influential chairmanships.
It’s worth noting that in the past session, Romine played a key part in several pieces of legislation, putting forward the amendment in the Senate to fully fund the foundation education formula, sponsoring the employment discrimination bill, better known as SB 43, and also taking a firm stand on issues of utility regulation and ratemaking. During the special session on the proposed steel mill bill, Sens. Romine and Doug Libla stood firm against portions of the bill, which eventually led to the cutting of those provisions and the passage of the bill.
But, a committee member for the new PAC says the purpose of the PAC is to support whatever candidates or measures meet their values.
“I would not characterize the primary purpose of this PAC as being a leadership PAC or having any other direct connection with Sen. Romine. We will accept contributions from like-minded people, and those who also support Sen. Romine. This is a principle-based PAC, more than it is a candidate PAC,” Tom Burcham said. “We have made no decision to support any candidate or not at this time. We will consider supporting any candidate who shares the fundamental conservative principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. I would say we’re socially conservative.
“Again, it’s a principle-based PAC, not a candidate-oriented PAC. We’ll support any candidate or any other sort of measure that matches our values.”
The Missouri Times reached out to Sen. Romine’s office, who was unable to be reached for comment.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.