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This Week in Missouri Politics Column: Fun Times in Missourah

  

When people mock the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for being the wokest people in all of Wildwood, it isn’t just because St. Louis’ premier social justice warriors bolt from downtown at 5 p.m. to the furthest place geographically possible in St. Louis County from those they claim to care so much for. 

It’s more the hypocrisy of things like the story indepthly scrutinizing the fundraising reports of Sen. Brian Williams and inferring that the spending of his campaign funds on meals was improper. 

Now, anyone who has ever stepped foot in the Missouri Capitol knows that when Clean Missouri banned “lobbyist gifts,” the spending on meals would simply shift from lobbyists paying the tab directly and documenting when the meal was purchased and who was there to lobbyists contributing to campaigns — and the campaigns paying the tab without the documentation. 

That is the law of the land the people of Missouri voted for, so it seems natural that their elected representatives follow it — as the senator did. It would be interesting if PR consultants had to report their spending on members of the media. 

However, the glaring hypocrisy comes in when you compare the level of scrutiny of the African American legislator from the diverse suburban district to the level of scrutiny of the lily-white legislators from the lily-white suburbs. At the very least, if you’re going to use annual totals for the African American legislator don’t use quarterly totals for everyone else. 

What is even more rich is to observe the legislators who decry the awful influence of “lobbyists and special interests” who then pay for their groceries at Costco on campaign accounts funded by “lobbyists and special interests.”

Special elections

Interesting group of special elections today. Democrats Yolanda Young and Mark Sharp of Kansas City, as well as Mike Person of St. Louis, will be joining the General Assembly in January. 

Two potential stand-out new members who will be elected are Rasheen Aldridge of St. Louis and Scott Cupps of Shell Knob — ones to watch. Cupps could be a future Speaker of the House if he isn’t a senator first. 

However, the race to watch today is HD 99 in suburban St. Louis where Democrat Trish Gunby of Manchester is squaring off against Lee Ann Pitman of Ballwin in a race to replace now-executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, Jean Evans. 

While the 99th saw the Republican score a 6 percent win in 2018, the seat has been overwhelmingly Republican dating back prior to the Teasdale administration. 

Forty years ago, back in the 1980s, the then-94th District was represented by Republican Stephen Blanton. 

In the 1990s, Republicans Pat Secrest of Manchester represented the 93rd and John Loudon of Ballwin represented the 88th. 

The 2000s saw the Republican dominance continue with the easy election of Neal St. Onge. 

In 2008, Andrew Koenig of Manchester was elected to his first term in a race, wherein a very good Democratic year, the Democrats didn’t bother to file a candidate. 

Some are citing that there could be a different wind blowing in West St. Louis County, but U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner looks to enter the holiday season without a serious announced Democratic opponent. 

While she is unquestionably one of — if not the — top campaigner in the state, you would expect if these undercurrents were real, the Democrats would have been able to recruit an opponent by now. 

Gunby has raised over $100,000 to Pitman’s $25,000. However, HRCC and other outside groups have spent over $200,000 on Pitman’s behalf. 

Republicans nearly always over-perform in special elections, and HRCC has a long history of dominating special elections. Pitman has all the advantages in the race in a district that a Republican losing would equate to a Democrat losing The Plaza in Kansas City, or The Loop in U City. 

However, if it is closer than expected, some will wonder if Pitman’s message should have been closer to that of the extremely popular Gov. Mike Parson’s message of workforce development and infrastructure. 

Lastly, courses could be taught on how Republican strategist Gregg Keller destroyed another Post-Dispatch story trying to smear Attorney General Eric Schmitt for previously accepting campaign contributions from Paul McKee prior to taking the office.

I remember a time when the Kansas City Star promised the children of the Kansas City School District they would only take half the tax subsidies they were approved for — then, of course, went back on their word and took all of them, literally taking pencils and textbooks out of the hands of school children. I don’t remember then-Attorney General Chris Koster looking into it.  

It’s always interesting to see where the corruption claims fall, and where they don’t. Each year, some actual conservatives attempt to reform the literal highway robbery racket newspapers have on legal notices. Each year the legislation is killed with little coverage from those who directly financially benefit. 

Now, I’m just a simple hillbilly, but you have to wonder if their standard of corruption applies if any of the legislators who kill this common-sense reform every year take any money from anyone connected to the Missouri Press Association. Now, there is no way that is corrupt, right? Of course not, just ask them. 

Be sure to check out this week’s Show Me Missourah from Linn County, featuring the home of Walt Disney, General Pershing, and Jeff Roe.