The donor community is an odd place where motivations are sometimes challenging to ascertain. Often times when donors have simple and direct goals, such as electing Republicans, or passing a certain bill, then one donor with enough money can be very successful. However, its usually when a donor tries to accomplish multiple goals at the same time they can become frustrated and often not accomplish anything.
It’s a tried and true media past time to hate on donors, but there is a connection between support and access. Therefore, when a donor does things that are exceedingly confusing, it can have an impact on the political and legislative process.
That brings us to the Humphreys Family – they are some of the long-time donors of the Republican Party back when the thought of a supermajority would engender a snicker among those involved in politics.
However in 2016, they have stepped up their efforts to a new and somewhat peculiar level. They have become famous for funding a group to target Republican incumbent legislators who opposed right-to-work. The Humphreys and those who purport to know their intentions were very vocal that their top legislative priority was passing right-to-work. However, towards the end of the regular session, some led by a railroad lobbyist began to expand their focus of interest to an expert witness law.
Just after veto session, where right-to-work failed to become law, the Humphreys Family donated a half a million dollars to University of Missouri professor Josh Hawley. It’s his right to spend his money however he sees fit, but how did Sen. Kurt Schaefer feel, who voted not only for the bill, but for the PQ? The second he was of use to him he turned the knife. You’re telling me other legislators whose arms they will twist next year on the issue weren’t watching?
If you have ever heard of the term “upper chamber” or “traditional senate,” the only thing that separates the Senate from the House is the PQ. In the House, they move them multiple times a day, in the Senate, it’s typically seen as a failure of the majority to win over the body. The PQ over an abortion bill at veto session a couple years ago being the outlier.
Senators typically hate voting for them, and it really reduces an individual senator’s power in favor of senate leadership – just like in the House. Sen. Schaefer voted for the PQ, but opposed the expert witness law, which opponents say would make it easier for the government to take citizens property via eminent domain. You have to wonder if he would like to have that vote back.
Sen. Will Kraus also voted for both the bill and the PQ on right-to-work, as well as supported the expert witness law. You have to think he would be on the top of Humphreys’ list of candidates to support. However, last weekend, Humphreys donated $150,000 to his opponent in his secretary of state’s race. The senator from the 8th has to be wondering what it takes to win his support.
Lastly, Sen. Mike Parson checks all the boxes. He is normally thought of as a senate traditionalist, but he voted for the PQ on right-to-work, and on the expert issue bill he moved it through his committee in one week and is handling the bill on the senate floor. You would assume that combined with his also been his being from Southwest Missouri, he would be one of Humphries’ favorites.
However, just after the quarter ended, Humphreys gave $50,000 to his opponent in his lt. governor’s race. It’s an odd strategy, but either way, with friends like these, who needs enemies?
On the senate campaign trial, the hottest primary in the state is in the 23rd, and it may have just got hotter with former Rep. Joe Smith looking to enter the race that includes Rep. Anne Zerr, Bill Eigel, and Municipal Judge Mike Carter.
The 4th quarter fundraising winners have to include: Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, Eric Greitens, Attorney General Chris Koster, Senator Eric Schmitt, and Senator Mike Parson.