This week’s special election in Jackson County has been the focus of state politics for the last several weeks and didn’t disappoint. It ended up with Republican Mike Cierpiot winning with a little over 50 percent, Republican-turned-Democratic dupe Jacob Turk with 7 percent, and Democrat Hillary Shields at 43 percent.
In all honesty, this district with two good candidates running strong races is probably a 55 or 56 percent Republican district, so this outcome is basically representative of the population of Lee’s Summit and southeastern Jackson County.
Mike Cierpiot didn’t “hang on,” as some wrote. He ended up carrying about 90 percent of the Republican vote, which in the 8th district was enough to carry 50 percent of the overall total. However, the way the race unfolded was fascinating.
I read one account of what happened from the The Kansas City Star as, “Dirty politics were rewarded in the race.” That is just bizarrely untrue.
Now, you all know your favorite hillbilly columnist can very accurately be called many terrible and awful things, but sanctimonious ain’t among ’em. Were there lines blurred, intentions masked, and some aggressive politics on display, sure. Dirty politics, no.
If you’re a Republican, it’s just whining to complain about the Democrats using Jacob Turk to siphon off votes. It was smart politics. More to the point, it was maximizing the existing laws to their advantage. It’s healthy for the state to see the Democrats having some fight in them.
Hillary Shields was a good candidate and is someone you’re likely to see again on the ballot. If she moves a little closer to the city, she would be a great candidate to pick up one of those state house seats the Republicans picked up under Obama that they probably shouldn’t hold anyway.
If Jackson County Republicans want to be mad at someone for the situation in the 8th, it should be themselves for nominating someone for Congress that was clearly more about himself than their cause. I’d expect Turk to make another bid for Congress, mostly because his family derives an income from his congressional campaign account, so we will see if there is anything real to their angst.
If you’re a Democrat, it’s whining to complain about the Republicans fundraising advantage or campaign ads. First of all, yes, the new campaign finance laws aren’t good. Many people tried to sound warnings that Amendment 2 would only make things less transparent, and, of course, they did.
The problem is that many of the people writing these ballot measures are not people who have worked on campaigns. It helps to have a pragmatic person with on-the-ground experience to write a good law. More to the point, you’re not going to get money out of politics, you can make coordination laws much more strict, but I think everyone involved knows that the transparent system is far better than the new system.
Seems fair to debate if Shields was strong enough in standing up for the Senate in suggesting Senator Chappelle-Nadal resign instead of demanding she be expelled. In fairness, she condemned her, but also, she could have gone farther.
In the end, this all falls back on Senate Democrats for not stepping up during the veto session and defending the integrity of the senate. No Republicans will have any backlash for trying to expel her, but Senate Democrats will face these ads in the fall, and likely see the Senator from the 14th turn on one of them this session for their efforts. Id look for the roulette wheel to fall on either Senator Jason Holsman, John Rizzo, Scott Sifton, or Jacob Hummel before session is over.
On the editorial, some think that criticizing it means you dislike or disrespect the paper, and for some maybe it does, but to me, their editorial page is beginning to matter again. Colleen Nelson and crew have changed the page to where you can’t be sure what they are going to say on an issue, its no longer predictably liberal – it’s interesting. Our family became a subscriber this summer mostly because of it.
I can assure you that if that same editorial was written by some of the old crew like Yael, no one would be debating it because… no one would have cared.
In the end, the person whose politics best reflected that district won, and it may be the case that Senator Cierpiot will lessen some of the load Senator Ryan Silvey has been carrying for the Kansas City region the past few years in the majority.
A couple other hillbilly observations while you’ve been obliged to click:
  • You know that Congressman Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania who resigned after trying to talk a lady into having an abortion brings back memories of Senator Joan Bray’s old quote about how some Republicans view abortion differently depending on whether a wife or a girlfriend is pregnant.
  • Hat tip to Geoff Gerling who helped the Democrats make the Republicans work harder than they wanted to in SD 8. 
  • Also, a hat tip goes to Brett Dinkins, who ran the Cierpiot race. It was a tough race to turn people out on a cold random day in an off-year while having to go on the attack in a three way race, but he got it done. Looking around the nation at other races on Tuesday where republicans had terrible night makes his work look even more impressive.
  • Kinda sad the way the proof is trickling out how the DNC cheated that old socialist last year. It’s almost like he thought Clinton would do all the work and pay for everything, but he would get an equal benefit…
  • Interesting how the federal gub’ment came in and bullied St. Louis County from building an ice rink. He may be too busy these days but you really couldn’t script a better scenario for our new Attorney General to step in and show people what he meant when he promised to be a constitutional lawyer suing to keep Washington out of Missourah. 
  • Lastly, I’m sure that Roy Moore is an awful guy, but I caught that Saturday Night Live skit about him. It was really more a window into how east coast liberal folks view us in middle America.
    Mostly as incest-having, illiterate, backward drains contaminating their good oxygen. In January, when you see the contribution lists of your favorite politicians, just know that when you see east coast addresses on those contributions, they are taking money from people who think you’re a product of illiterate, backward, incest having rubes that they would prefer never to contaminate their good oxygen.