JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Twenty state representatives are being attacked across the state by a Humphreys Family-funded committee, The Committee for Accountable Government in Missouri, who today announced the beginning of a campaign to “hold the group responsible” for their votes against Right-to-Work.
The committee called the proposal “pro-growth” in a statement sharing their outdoor, digital, radio, and television ads against the twenty reps.
Last year’s right-to-work bill failed to be overridden after Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it, falling short of the 109 votes needed. The committee’s statement said the twenty “sided” “against their more than 90 Republican colleagues.”
One representative on the receiving end said that they didn’t side against them but instead stood up for their constituents.
“They’d rather have yes-men who do what they’re told instead of doing what they know is right and representing their constituents,” said Rep. Ron Hicks, R-St. Peters. “It saddens me that they’d rather have a bunch of soldiers who fall in line with their agenda. That’s the problem in politics, and not just in our state. They’re trying to get rid of a bunch of good state representatives over one issue: labor. Is it worth it to the people to get rid of all the good that we do? There’s a lot of good people on that list.”
The ads open with the statement:
When special interests open up their wallets in Jefferson City, some politicians say ‘no thanks,’ but not Representative _____.”
The advertising then goes on to identify how much money and gifts each legislator has taken over his or her career from labor unions, lobbyists, and their related allies.
“We expect our Republican elected officials to do what’s right and support pro-growth, pro-jobs legislation,” said Brandon Moody, a spokesperson for the committee. “But these twenty Republicans who opposed Right-to-Work have received tens of thousands of dollars from labor unions. So, it should really come as no surprise that they are all in the pocket of these special interests and lobbyists.
“Missourians won’t be able to turn on Fox News, scroll their newsfeed or drive down an interstate without seeing one of these twenty Republican legislators identified as opponents to economic growth in this state,” Moody added. “This is a heavy buy for this time of year.”
Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, saw protesters last week in his district and at least $10,000 has been spent on radio ads in his district.
“They’re running $10,000 on radio stations in my district,” Engler said. “Maybe the thousands of laborers in my district will hear the ad. I appreciate them clarifying that I support the unions.
“I’ve got better things to worry about. It’ll be interesting because Republicans obviously don’t want a supermajority.”
Engler said this is the first time he’s seen negative advertisements during the Christmas season. The radio ad targeting Engler starts, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas comes early when special interests start handing out money and gifts to politicians in Jefferson City…”
“You’d think Santa’s little helpers would be busier this time of year,” Engler said. “I’ve never once in my life seen anyone take a time of celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and use it for negative campaigning.”
A “super poll” conducted by Remington Research Group in April, with more than 10,000 Missourians participating, found that 54 percent of respondents supported Right-to-Work while only 35 percent opposed the legislation.
“I have received donations from a wide variety of people and organizations,” said Rep. John McCaherty, R-High Hill. “Some with whom I agree, and some who I do not. I meet with my constituents regularly and listen to their opinions, then do the best job I can.
“No one buys a vote, but in order to run for office, funds must be raised. I do find it interesting that no one has tracked the money given by the proponents of the RTW issue, only those that opposed it for whatever reason.”
Representatives are convinced that the issue is not dead and stand by their vote.
“We’ll see it again and again,” said Hicks. “They’ll push, they’ll bully, and they’ll get the people out of office who said ‘no.’ I don’t think Right to Work is that magic pill. If we’re number one in business creation, we’re not as bad as they say we are. This is a business-friendly state. I like that we’re different than the states around us. We’re the Show-Me State. We show people that we can think for ourselves, otherwise, we wouldn’t be one of the best business states in the United States.
“Our jobs are to go up there and fight for smaller government – isn’t that what conservatives are supposed to do?”
All television ads can be viewed here.
The Committee for Accountable Government in Missouri, who is responsible for the advertising, has raised more than $1 million for the campaign to date. Two of the donations, each for $500,000, are from David Humphreys and Sarah Humphreys Atkins.
Learn more about the campaign at www.boughtandpaidfor.net.
The twenty targeted are listed below:
- Galen Higdon, HD11
- Nick King, HD17
- Kevin Corlew, HD14
- Bill Kidd, HD20
- Sheila Solon, HD31
- Jeanie Lauer, HD32
- Bart Korman, HD42
- Anne Zerr, HD65
- John McCaherty, HD97
- Kathie Conway, HD104
- Chrissy Sommer, HD106
- Ron Hicks, HD107
- Shane Roden, HD111
- Becky Ruth, HD114
- Elaine Gannon, HD 115
- Kevin Engler, HD116
- Linda Black, HD117
- Dave Hinson, HD119
- Sue Entlicher, HD133
- Paul Fitzwater, HD144
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.