Bruce Franks unseating of Rep. Penny Hubbard produced one of the most bizarre electoral outcomes this week. Franks ran a Bernie Sanders-style campaign focused on change, pitting the Hubbard family as the same.
Of the race there were a few obvious winners starting with Franks, but also credit for his win should go to the Post-Dispatch as they really pushed his campaign. It may be true that print media companies like the Post-Dispatch are down, but they can still matter in Democratic primaries. Of course, any Republican who is endorsed by the Post is attacked in a primary, but this was an environment where they shined. The reports of the Post-Dispatch’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated.
A couple other subtle winners would also have to include Tishaura Jones’ campaign for mayor of St. Louis. Sure, the 78th is a very odd situation, but if the Franks voters can be turned out on a rainy odd Friday in September they may turn out in March for the mayoral primary, and as the cards are currently dealt, Jones is the likely winner of their support.
More important to the rest of the state isn’t the effect of Franks replacing Hubbard. Both are going to consistently vote against the conservative agenda of House Republicans and, as members of a super minority will have little effect on state policy.
However, the overturning of the election and the intense news coverage and investigations surrounding it may have the effect of reducing the absentee vote in the City of St. Louis, which votes 105% Democratic every general election.
When I was a young man in West Butler County, I watched election returns come in at the Legion Hall on election night. I was just sure Jim Talent would be governor until the state representative at the time, Mark Richardson – who had seen several election nights – warned us against getting too excited as the City of St. Louis hadn’t come in.
It did and Talent lost. The question is: will Senator Parson be up on election night just like Talent? Will it be enough to defeat him this time when the City of St. Louis comes in without their absentee programs producing hundreds of Democratic votes?
The last note on the race is who will fill the House Democratic slot on the powerful Certificate of Need Committee? It will probably tell a lot about the direction of that caucus as that is one position where a member in the minority can raise money.
Veto session was a good day for the Republicans, and on every front a bad day for the Democrats. The NRA and the Cattlemen had big days. The Giddens Group worked from breakfast ’til literally the last bell in the House rang getting the Cattlemen’s bill through.
Denny Hoskins’ last in the House was a productive one, moving several bills through the override process. Rep. Jay Barnes continued a white hot streak holding the line on court bills in the House after representing the Medicaid 23 and being an early supporter of the big winner on primary day Eric Greitens.
However, the biggest question that likely impacts next session is why did the Democratic minority force PQs during veto session. To be clear typically when a PQ is moved the majority is criticized for a lack of leadership and compromise, but during veto session this looks like a minority living in denial.
The voter ID bill was so watered down it’s barely worth doing, and the Democrats allowed it to move to a vote during session. Why not now? A PQ was forced in the 2014 veto session when the minority went back on a deal over an abortion bill. Many would argue that made the PQs of 2015 much easier to do.
It’s common sense that the more something happens the less controversial it is. Why would Senate Democrats force PQs in a veto session where they look bad over it on legislation where deals have already been worked out? This will likely make it easier to see more PQs next session.
On a lighter note it’s been great seeing the growing support for the Kansas City Chiefs in St. Louis. It’s a fun way to bring the state together, and in a shocking turn for St. Louis NFL fans the Chiefs actually win once in awhile. One idea might be to play one pre-season game in St. Louis. It would officially put the Chiefs stamp on the largest group of unaligned NFL fans in the country, and for St. Louisans whose love and devotion for the Cardinals have always made it less than an NFL town a preseason game and a Missouri team to root for might be adequate to scratch their NFL itch.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton, Mo; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff, Mo.; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.