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Texts from the Trail: It is getting more bizarre out there

In a week that saw pre-filing begin and a gubernatorial forum, by far the biggest news of the week was Lt. Governor Peter Kinder dropping a news bomb on the weekend at 4:30 Friday that a former campaign aide had stolen nearly $70,000 from his campaign coffers during and just after his 2012 re-election.

Logan Thompson
Logan Thompson

Kinder filed over a dozen amended campaign finance reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission revealing nearly $70,000 in previously unreported payments to former campaign staffer Logan Thompson.

Thompson was basically out of politics by 2014 after a string of failures and burned relationships and had been, until recently, working as a personal trainer. It should be noted that nowhere has Kinder been implicated in any wrong doing.

Kinder’s revelation has set off a chain of internal audits in the limited number of other campaigns Thompson played a role. He is listed as a bookkeeper in several of the filings.

Kinder’s drama is fresh off the heels of the leaked recording of a phone call between Eric Greitens and John Brunner. While neither looked good, it’s likely to be a blip on the radar by the time media buys begin. However, this has fed the persistent campaign by conservatives and a PAC to highlight Greitens’ recent past as something less than a “conservative outsider”.

It was only a matter of time before the biggest intellectual bull in the Greitens campaign, David Steelman, weighed in on the controversy, and over the weekend, he did so with his legendary bravado.

Who would have thought nine months ago that the Hanaway campaign would have the least drama in the Republican field?

The Missouri Farm Bureau held what may have been the best of the gubernatorial forums Sunday. Since none have been debates, it was a far better setup to have each candidate on stage one at a time.

koster twmp december 6, 2015This forum included Attorney General Chris Koster, who was also the featured guest on This Week in Missouri Politics. In his remarks at the forum, he gave what one insider felt was a poke at Republican rival John Brunner when he spoke about his contrast between broad statements offered by his opponents versus those who have  rolled up their sleeves and learned the issues.

Joplin businessman David Humphreys’ contributed $50,000 to Bill Eigel’s state senate campaign. Humphreys’ previous large donations were to oppose state legislators who had opposed Right to Work business regulations.

Speaking of the 23rd, Rep. Anne Zerr had a “Who’s Who” of St. Charles Republicans at her fundraiser last week. There is a clear distinction in St. Charles County between Republicans who worked to turn legislative seats Republican and those who came in once it was no longer a swing county.

The big news in the consulting world was proof that you can go home again. Robert Knodell is going back to run HRCC. Scott Dieckhaus and Jon Ratliff have gone to Barklage & Knodell after one of the most successful runs in legislative political history at HRCC.