We started out the day in Kansas City, and when Gussie is in Kansas City you either get him LaMar’s Donuts or you get a bruised shin. We then headed over to the KCMO studio to visit with Pete Mundo.
- This was the morning after his yuuge Politics and Pints with Eric Greitens. It was a very successful event, and he had an entire row of very prestigious and very jealous journalists in attendance lined up in the back.
- This was also the morning after the Trafalgar poll showed Schmitt continuing his momentum climbing to 26.5%. We discussed how Hartzler was continuing to rise in the polling, now to 24.4% without much change in the undecided number that still stands at around 15%.
- I get the sense that of that 15% some of them are Greitens voters who don’t wanna admit out loud that they are sick freaks. Some of them just won’t vote at all, and I’ve always felt that the rest were voters that Hartzler had the best shot at.
From there we went to Carrollton to the Show Me Ethanol plant.
- We took a tour of the plant with Rep. Rusty Black, and maybe his most effective supporter Rep. Peggy McGaugh
- Watching Mrs. McGaugh work a room, I’m immediately reminded of how Judge McGaugh will one day be Governor McGaugh.
- At the plant, Rep. Black already knew that each year they take 21 million bushels of corn and turn it into 65 million gallons of gas.
- Topically enough the plant was initially built with MASBDA tax
credits and wants to expand. They have the lot already picked out but will need the legislature to renew the program in order to expand.
- Some would call me and Rusty “conservative” and some would call us “cheap.” But we were both prolly most impressed that from day one the plant has been zero waste. Meaning they use every piece of raw material for something.
- I visited with “Bob the Waterboy”. He earned that nickname because he makes high-quality H2O. His take on the state senate race and politics in general was pretty simple. “We need folks in office who understand agriculture. If politicians don’t understand agriculture then someday that corn won’t show up at the plant. If that corn doesn’t show up at the plant then there ain’t no need for a plant,” the Waterboy told me. Simple but true, and I’m pretty sure he had no idea he was in the same room as a politician who was an FFA teacher for 30 years.
- When I visited with Rusty about the race he knew the race was exactly 203 miles wide, and that he spent $982 dollars on gas last month. I spent $423 dollars on gas this week. Again I know that might mean to some that we are conservative, but I reckon I couldn’t argue if you also called us cheap.
- He said his key to the race was his support from traditional Republicans along with organizing the 58 ag teachers in the district.
- He is right — I still remember Mr. Magruder who everyone at Neelyville High School in WBC loved. Not as much as my buddy Will Spargo. He loved FFA so much that he joined the Magruder family, marrying Mr. Magruder’s daughter. On second thought, maybe he loved Terribeth so much that he joined FFA? Either way, he now spends time in low places hanging out with Gary Wheeler and the Soybean guys.
- I got a kick out of his story that one of his favorite places on the campaign trail was visiting Watson up in Atchison County, the home of his ag teacher in high school.
- Lastly, I got a quote from Peggy. I’m just gonna transcribe it here so that I don’t screw it up: “The newly drawn 12th Senatorial District is blessed with three great candidates who would do a good job representing the Great Northwest,” Judge McGaugh said. “I have nothing against the other candidates but I have actively been supporting Rusty Black. As a family friend and my first seatmate on the floor of the House my Freshman year, I learned how to be an effective legislator for my area with his help. When the House redistricting map drew our districts together, the situation was not ideal. After the Senate redistricting map allowed Rusty to remove his name from the Representative race and file for Senator for the 12th District, it allowed me to remain on the ballot as the incumbent and I appreciate him for that. I look forward to working with him in passing legislation for Northwest Missouri.”
We then backtracked over to Independence to Big Boys Burgers in Jackson County.
- I caught up with Mike and Connie Cierpiot, the original Jackson County right-wingers.
- I asked Connie, who is the boss of this operation, how it felt to be one of the founders of the Right to Life movement in Jackson County (long before it was popular to be Pro-Life) and today see her husband attacked on the issue. I’m just plain afraid of Connie so I’m not gonna try and edit her quote for spacing: “It is pure insanity that Missouri Right to Life — an organization that Mike and I helped build in Jackson County — are trying to defeat Senators including my husband who passed the Heartbeat Bill which effectively outlawed abortion as of last June. Making Missouri the most pro-life state in our nation because of this. Missouri Right to Life has lost its way. MRL should be hosting a celebration after the demise of Roe vs Wade after 50 years. Instead, they are attempting to destroy their long-time friends of life.”
- They were out putting up signs, it clearly galled Mike that his opponents were just sticking up signs in the medians where he was using his lists that he and Connie spent 20 years building to place signs where they had got permission.
- I asked him how the race was going: “We are knocking on doors, we have a very good ad on tv, a good radio campaign, and I’m especially happy with our mail. I feel like many people run on attacking things they have no power to influence. I’m really proud of the record of actually impacting things in the office the people of this district have elected me to, and that’s what I’m running on, and I believe that is what we are going to win on.”
From there we took I-49 down to the watermelon feed in Neosho. I still never drive through Lamar without thinking about Ed Emery.
I’ll say this for Big Springs Park in Neosho, it holds the heat well. It was still 102 degrees at 7:00 when we got there. The park was packed, maybe 250 or 300 in attendance.
- The watermelon was perfect. Literally couldn’t have been better.
- The only US Senate candidates there were Mark McCloskey and Vicky Hartzler. Folks loved McCloskey’s speech. I’ll say it here for the last time, if he would have taken his machine gun it would have been a home run.
- Congresswoman Hartzler stuck around after her speech and I actually think shook every hand, many of them twice.
- Scott Fitzpatrick was here and he made his pitch to be Auditor. I would think that of the 300 people in the crowd he can prolly count on 290+ of them to vote for him, and that’s assuming he double parked his truck and blocked someone in.
- The 7th district folks spoke. Former Senator Wasson was giving hell about the $2 million spent to buy lies about him. I saw one of the ads on KY3. It was a pretty weak hit accusing him of supporting Mitt Romney in ‘12. I wasn’t a Romney fan at the time either, weak handshake, daddy’s boy and all, but still, did they want him to support Obama?
- Senator Burlison gave his stump speech, he was good. He spoke about social issues and he is very genuine when he is speaking on those issues. Senator Moon gave his speech, and mentioned his gripe with the Missouri Firearms Coalition. Now you can like Senator Moon or not — but he ain’t a liar. I tend to believe him when he says he didn’t get a survey.
- By the way, nobody gives Mike Moon the credit he deserves for what an incredible retail politician he is. Worked the crowd better than anyone else there, and it wasn’t real close.
- Prolly the biggest drama is the state Senate primary where Senator White is running for re-election against a first-time candidate with a lot of steam, Jill Carter. She spoke first and the 25-30 people she brought with her did their share of cheering. Senator White spoke second about his record and defending it against the attacks that have been lobbed at him.
- I visited with one of my favorite hellraisers Lisa Pannett who has been down from St. Louis causing trouble for incumbent state senators this summer. Her take was that the voters are upset and she believes they are going to let the incumbents know about it next week. This ain’t Lisa’s first rodeo at being a burr under the establishment’s saddle and she has some pretty developed theories on how to win campaigns while being outspent.
- Then I visited with Sophie Shore, an up-and-coming operative on the right who ran Senator Moon’s campaign, and is running the Carter campaign. Keep an eye on her because she is talented.
- I spoke with my buddy William Lynch the Prosecutor down there. He is a cop, but he is an alright guy. He gave me his take on things in Newton County. He is supporting Vicky, he was also impressed how long she stayed around after she spoke, visiting and taking pictures with folks. He thinks Vicky ultimately wins when she consolidates a lot of support among folks from the other candidates who want to support someone who can win. He also thinks Senator White gets re-elected, but it’s close.
- Visited with a real good dude taking pictures for the newspaper. We visited about how folks love to threaten to sue newspapers, but rarely ever really do.
- Before I left I saw Rep. Dirk Deaton, one of the hardest working guys in politics. My mama is a church secretary so I’ve met a lot of preachers, and Dirk has the spirit and voice and just countenance of a minister. The older he gets the more pronounced it is. Gussie remembered meeting him at the capitol and took a liking to him.
- We got on the road after having an extra piece of watermelon, and went by the spot where the elected Missouri Legislature voted to secede from the union there on the northwest corner of the courthouse square in Neosho. Gussie loves the Angler’s Lodge in Springfield. I assume one day he will develop his dad’s love of the Vandivort, but until then it’s either we stay at the Angler’s Lodge or I get the German side of his temper.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.