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Senate tipsheet: Competitive races ahead of primary elections

  

#1 (2) SD 31 (R+6.2) Sen. Ed Emery is term-limited.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: GENERAL: SAFE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: LEAN BONDON
This race has been hot from the start, and in the closing days has become the hottest in the state. Most groups are all-in on the 31st with a week out. Most of the regular associations and typically Republican groups like the Missouri Chamber have gone all-in for the accomplished legislator in Jack Bondon. 

However, CL PAC has pretty much been Rick Brattin’s only source of funding — until this week when Club for Growth came in for Brattin. Missouri Right to Life has weighed in on the grassroots side for him as well. 

While when it’s over Bondon will probably have more money spent on his behalf than Brattin in the final two weeks, they will be close to parity. However, Bondon has already booked broadcast TV in Kansas City and has been up big in the Joplin market for some time. 

The district breakdown is as follows: Barton- 14%, Bates- 8%, Cass- 52%, Henry- 13%, Vernon- 12% which makes every percent in Cass County vital. 

As Moon, Ross, and Rehder built up leads, this race has seen the most attention. We have had this race LEAN BONDON for over a year and are sticking with that in the hottest Senate race in Missouri for the 2020 cycle. 

(R) Rep. Jack Bondon
Contributions this quarter: $40,259.00
Cash on hand: $25,959.45
PAC: Western Missouri Leadership
Cash on hand: $1,060.15
(R) Fmr. Rep Rick Brattin
Contributions this quarter: $28,965.00
Cash on hand: $14,337.09
PAC: The Brattin Brigade PAC
Cash on hand: $3,140.37


#2 (5) SD 25 (R+11.4) Sen. Doug Libla is term-limited.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: GENERAL: SAFE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: LEAN BEAN
From the beginning, we have been telling you that the most important number in this race was the three hill counties of Butler, Carter, and Shannon totaling 44% of the vote and the five flat counties Stoddard, Dunklin, Pemiscot, Mississippi, New Madrid, and Mississippi totaling 56% of the primary vote. 

When filing began, Rep. Jeff Shawan started out as the favorite over former local party chairman Eddy Justice because of his money advantage and experience running for the house. However, as former Rep. Steve Cookson who lives in Butler County got in the race and farmer and the son of former Rep. Ot Bean, Jason Bean from the Bootheel got in the race, the dynamic changed.

Justice came out of the gates after Memorial Day swinging with some really aggressive attacks on all three candidates which affected Shawan the most. The attacks were pretty much unanswered, and up to two weeks ago he was in the lead. 

While going up early was clearly a good move for Justice, once he was in the lead Shawan and Bean focused their attacks on Justice, and some of those attacks — such as attacks on their lack of support in the primary for Trump — look quite hypocritical when answered. To be fair, Justice fell in line after the primary, but he was not a fan of Trump until Trump won it. Now in all reality, many Republicans felt as Justice did, but few of them sent hundreds of thousands of mail pieces calling others out. 

In the end, hat tip to Axiom for having Justice’s back in this primary after a long relationship with him, but his path to winning is that Bean or Shawan pull their attacks off him, and the lead he built holds. Cookson will get more votes than some would think, especially in Stoddard County where his father is a legend and there is a hot sheriff’s race. 

Shawan’s path is that Justice has started only attacking Bean, and he picks up undecideds in the hills turned off by Justice’s attacks on him. He still has money he can spend if he chooses, and Shawan’s work in Stoddard County has held up in every poll. He will do well there and isn’t out of this race. 

Bean’s path started as the clearest and still is with a week out. His and Shawan’s attacks on Justice have brought him down, and Bean now has a lead. If both he and Shawan continue another week of attacks on Justice and Bean holds his base in the Bootheel he should win, but it’s a hot one in SEMO. 

(R) Rep. Jeff Shawan
Contributions this quarter: $3,581.84
Cash on hand: $21,854.16
PAC: Conservative Future Fund
Cash on hand: $2,768.29
(R) Eddy Justice
Contributions this quarter: $6,529.98
Cash on hand: $53,787.87
PAC: Justice for All
Cash on hand: $3,755.23
(R) Former Rep. Steve Cookson
Contributions this quarter: None reported
Cash on hand: None reported
(R) Jason Bean
Contributions this quarter: $66,753.00
Cash on hand: $12,020.09


#3 (1) SD 27 (R+16.4) Sen. Wayne Wallingford is term-limited.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: GENERAL: SAFE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: LEAN REHDER
This race has seen a lot of early spending by Rep. Holly Rehder, and that aggressive approach has seen her build a lead that — depending on who is publishing the numbers — ranging from 5% to 30%. It’s not hard to see Rehder winning the race, but it is hard to see her winning Cape County by enough to win that district by 30%. 

What is the likely scenario is that Rehder has built up a lead with that early spending. In the final days, Rep. Kathy Swan will have a significantly larger presence on broadcast TV than Rehder. Factoring in that Cape County has a very heated sheriff’s race, and it will matter more than ever. Remember the county vote breakdown is approximately:

Bollinger 8%
Cape Girardeau 46%
Madison 7%
Perry 13%
Scott 18%
Wayne 8%

We are hearing that Swan needs to carry Cape County by nearly double digits at this point. If that is true then Rehder has a lead that should inspire confidence. While that is true, never underestimate Cape County voters’ preference for Cape County candidates. However, we are still dropping it down the list because as of now Rehder’s lead is real. 

(R) Rep. Holly Rehder
Contributions this quarter: $26,090.00
Cash on hand: $33,648.20
PAC: Holly PAC
Cash on hand: $6,407.55
(R) Rep. Kathy Swan
Contributions this quarter: $98,302.65
Cash on hand: $41,463.18


#4 (7) SD 3 (R+4.1) Sen. Gary Romine was term-limited prior to receiving an appointment.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: SAFE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: LEAN GANNON
This race has been trending towards Rep. Elaine Gannon since she entered the race. While Kent Scism started out as the clear favorite, he was hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars of CL PAC money spent by veteran Josh Barrett. Barrett, being from Farmington as Scism is, meant that most of the support that Barrett picked up in the polls came from Scism. 

Gannon is from Bismarck in north St. Francois County — and yes, there is a rivalry with Farmington — and represented a large portion of the district in Jefferson County where her husband is the very popular county executive. She also has the support of a large number of the representatives in the area who have taken this race on as a cause for them. 

There is some controversy surrounding Barrett. As Scism has hit Barrett, he has peeled some support off, but he absolutely has a core of support from a large number of right-wing Republicans who are for him no matter what. It seems likely that as Scism hits Barrett, he pulls his support down, and Gannon wins a close race. 

(R) Kent Scism
Contributions this quarter: $104,384.07
Cash on hand: $70,264.51
PAC: Keep Missouri Great
Cash on hand: $29,425.91
(R) Rep. Elaine Gannon
Contributions this quarter: $97,005.01
Cash on hand: $0
PAC: Six County PAC
Cash on hand: $97,425.50
(R) Josh Barrett
Contributions this quarter: $1,400.00
Cash on hand: $21,568.44
PAC: Patriot PAC
Cash on hand: $4,426.33


#5 (4) SD 29 (R+19.9) Sen. David Sater is term-limited.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: GENERAL: SAFE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: LEAN MOON
You can hear rundowns of this race everywhere from Rep. Mike Moon has the race sewn up to there is a flood of money being sent in on behalf of David Cole and he is surging at the right time. The likelihood is that Moon’s lead was real. Real enough that it inspired a lot of folks into action for a late push for Cole. 

You get the sense that Cole is going to need all of the traditional Republicans to turn out to mount a comeback. We are rating this race LEAN MOON, and that is where it is with a week to go. However, it’s lean because Cole will have more money hitting the district than Moon in the last few days, and Moon’s lead could evaporate. Cole can still win, but you will be able to call it a comeback. 

(R) David Cole
Contributions this quarter: $61,395.00
Cash on hand: $108,576.46
PAC: Southwest Missouri Conservative Values PAC
Cash on hand: $29,880.01
(R) Rep. Mike Moon
Contributions this quarter: $42,635.40
Cash on hand: $2,891.90
PAC: Table Rock Conservative PAC
Cash on hand: $3,835.77


#6 (6) SD 5 (D+39.9) Sen. Jamilah Nasheed is term-limited.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: SAFE DEMOCRAT PRIMARY: TOSS UP
This race has been most impacted by COVID-19 and is one of the hardest to read in the state. Rep. Steven Roberts has the best-funded and most organized campaign, and therefore, has a slight advantage in the final days. The Michelle Sherod campaign has really come on in the last few days and is peaking at the right time. 

Alderwoman Megan Green is rivaling Roberts and would surprise no one if she ultimately won. She has the most energy behind her campaign, and with COVID and mail-in balloting, this is the definition of a toss up. 

(D) Rep. Steven Roberts
Contributions this quarter: $44,980.00
Cash on hand: $37,249.20
(D) Alderwoman Megan Green
Contributions this quarter: $10,157.70
Cash on hand: $21,402.77
(D) Michelle Sherod
Contributions this quarter: $6,802.39
Cash on hand: $27,275.68


#7 (3) SD 33 (R+15.7) Sen. Mike Cunningham is term-limited.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: GENERAL: SAFE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: LEAN ROSS
Rep. Robert Ross has the lead, and while there is serious money behind Rep. Karla Eslinger in the final days as she held most of her spending until the end, he should be able to hold on. Team Robert PAC has been aggressive with the attack mail pieces. One, in particular, saw blowback with approximately $80,000 being put into the Van Kelly campaign and a series of earned media pieces defending Eslinger with Senator Mike Cunningham taking the lead on the pushback. There can be no doubt that Cunningham is all-in on this race for Eslinger. 

Ross has the most money and the lead going into the final weekend. We are staying LEAN ROSS as we have from the beginning, and with enough of a cushion, we have dropped this race down to No. 7. 

(R) Rep. Robert Ross
Contributions this  quarter: $23,428.80
Cash on hand: $25,433.59
PAC: Team Robert
Cash on hand: $77,684.05
(R) Former Rep. Van Kelly
Contributions this quarter: $98,050.00
Cash on hand: $16,408.25
(R) Rep. Karla Eslinger
Contributions this quarter: $21,398.70
Cash on hand: $122,625.12


#8 (8) SD 13 (D+27.5) Sen. Gina Walsh is term-limited.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: SAFE DEMOCRAT PRIMARY: LEAN PIERSON JR.
In a race that has been hard to read, it’s going to come down to the end. Rep. Tommie Pierson has turned it on in the closing days despite a bout with COVID-19 and that should be enough to win a race where he has the big cash advantage. Rep. Alan Green has a base of support, and his support probably comes more from voters who would otherwise choose Pierson — so as his totals rise that could be good for Angela Mosely. 

Mosley has the very well-oiled Walton family machine behind her and is mounting a serious challenge. 

(D) Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr.
Contributions this quarter: $25,060.60
Cash on hand: $24,878.50
(D) Rep. Alan Green
Contributions this quarter: $535.00
Cash on hand: $9,278.97
(D) Angela Mosley
Contributions this quarter: $985.00
Cash on hand: $6,349.56


#9 (10) SD 9 (D+33.9) Sen. Kiki Curls was term-limited prior to receiving an appointment.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: SAFE DEMOCRAT PRIMARY: SAFE WASHINGTON
Rep. Barbara Washington will be heading across the rotunda to the upper chamber after consolidating support behind her before filing closed. Solid effort by Alderman Ryan Myers, and his is a name you will hear again. It’s a testament to him that we moved it up one spot on the competitive race list. 

(D) Rep. Barbara Washington
Contributions this quarter: No report
Cash on hand: No report
(D) Raytown Alderman Ryan Myers
Contributions this quarter: $1,601.80
Cash on hand: $2,844.76


#10 (9) SD 23 (R+3.3) Sen. Bill Eigel is running for re-election.
TIP SHEET PREDICTION: SAFE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY: SAFE EIGEL
The primary was always likely to end with the incumbent being re-elected, and it’s going to end that way. The record-setting dark money drop into the race didn’t end up being all being spent on the 23rd, and Senator Bill Eigel took the race seriously from the end of session on and will be re-elected — which is why we dropped it down to last place on our competitive race list. 

(R) Senator Bill Eigel
Contributions this period: $55,405.00
Cash on hand: $55,126.74
PAC: Believe in Life and Liberty (BILL)
Cash on hand: $279,200.15
(R) Eric Wulff
Contributions this quarter: $6,475.00
Cash on hand: $3,464.54
PAC: Voters for Good Government
Cash on hand: $63,399.65