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Cierpiot: Biden is best bet for Democrats in 2020 but likely won’t get the chance


Of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, Vice President Joe Biden is the one with the best path forward in Missouri — but he probably won’t get the opportunity to win over the state’s voters, state Sen. Mike Cierpiot said. 

Appearing on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics,” Cierpiot, a Republican, said he doesn’t believe Biden “will be the guy” at the top of Democrats’ 2020 ticket. 

“I just think the Democratic Party is way left,” Cierpiot said. “I just don’t see how when some of the progressive candidates start dropping out, how their support is then rallied to Biden. I think they’ll stay with [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren or somebody like that.” 

However, Cierpiot said Biden would be the most viable candidate for Democrats in the Show-Me State. Recent polling showed Biden with a commanding lead over other Democrats among Missouri voters. 

Cierpiot also discussed national Democrats moving forward with impeaching President Donald Trump — and how that could “light the fire” for Republicans, turning them out for 2020 state races. 

Cierpiot noted his own campaign last year saw a boost following the hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. During his confirmation process, Kavanaugh was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct stemming from his time in high school and college. Only one accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, testified during a hearing before lawmakers; Kavanaugh vehemently denied the accusations and was eventually confirmed to the bench. 

“Last year, I hate what Judge Kavanaugh had to go through — it was awful for his family — but I know in my campaign headquarters, the interest took a jump when that happened because Republicans were just irritated [by] what they were doing to that man,” Cierpiot said. “It was unfair, it’s still unfair, and I think a lot of that will be the same for Trump.” 

Cierpiot, who represents part of Jackson County, also praised new Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat. 

“I don’t know him well yet, but I think he’s going to do a good job,” Cierpiot said. “He’s got a lot of energy, good ideas.” 

Addressing violent crime

Democratic state Rep. Raychel Proudie and GOP political consultant Michael Hafner joined the panel during Sunday’s episode. In addressing violent crime in the St. Louis area, Proudie called for more conversations that are not partisan or argumentative in nature. 

“I’ve never been the type of politician or educator or anything that says at least we’ve done something or let’s just try this. I think that it takes a lot of concerted thought, some real effort, some real conversations that’s not sparring, that’s not ‘I got you’ or who is one-upping who on Twitter because at the end of the day there are children who are dying, and I think that’s where I’m disappointed,” Proudie said. 

In agreeing with Proudie, Hafner said “there is a discussion to be had” about how much the state should get involved during this time. He also noted there’s been an issue with crime across the state — not just in St. Louis. 

“When we’re talking about crime, in particular, a lot of these are systemic issues that aren’t going to be solved overnight,” Hafner said, praising Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt for their “leadership” with the issue.

Watch the full “This Week in Missouri Politics” episode for more on who Cierpiot said is running an effective “shoe-leather” campaign for state Senate and a discussion on how the new abortion law could impact the future of Missouri politics.