Nov. 3, 2020 was an amazing night for Missouri Republicans. It’s the kind of night that is about more than one candidate or one issue; it was the kind of night that speaks to the dominance of a brand.
There was another Nov. 3, one 28 years ago in 1992 when the Democratic Party started a 20 year run as the natural party of government in Missouri. Last night, the Republican Party, with supermajorities returned in the legislature and a full statewide slate, re-elected in landslides the natural party of government in the Show-Me State.
Gov.Mike Parson won by 17 percent, but let’s look a little deeper at the numbers.
Parson tripled the margin of victory from the 2016 governor’s race while seeing the top of the ticket drop 4 percent.
This against a very qualified and fully-funded opponent. And he did it with every dollar of his campaign and his PAC being disclosed. At this point, he is literally more transparent than the media covering him.
Nicole Galloway was qualified to be governor and is a good person. However, I will say that her campaign seemed a little bland. There was a DGA cookie cutter element to it. For instance, she never hit Parson on the legislation allowing Chinese companies to own more Missouri farmland. That attack has worked nearly everywhere it’s been tried.
I think they key point in the race was when Governor Parson tested positive for covid. His response with the videos was outstanding and probably put the race away at that point.
One thing about being the leader of a decimated party is that there is no one to challenge her as its leader. There is a Senate race coming up in two years that she still has first dibs on the nomination for. She has the ability to sit back and wait and see if former Gov. Eric Greitens enters that primary before she has to make her decision. If he does then that race will look a lot more appealing to democrats.
The biggest win of the night for the GOP was probably Congresswoman Ann Wagner’s re-election — and by a comfortable margin. Many had written this race off. Even the Cook Political Report moved it to Lean Democrat before Election Day. Her 7 percent win was almost an upset, and now she can remake that district to be even more Republican friendly.
Some, even my pal David Barklage, thought the House Republicans could lose more than a half dozen seats. However, they only lost one seat, proving their effectiveness and that maybe you probably shouldn’t hire a babysitter from Lee’s Summit. Those folks have a creepy look about them right now.
In the Senate, Andrew Koenig not only won, but won by nearly 10 percent. He was massively outspent. Hell, Don Draper even endorsed his opponent, but Koenig still won a race where many felt he was doomed. Look, the dude has personally knocked more doors than any elected official in Missouri politics. He earned it.
He also was able to pivot his message after the primary to being pro-police. Probably the most impactful endorsement was the St. Louis County Police Officer’s endorsement. He used it in everything, and it was the right message at the right time. It was also good for
Missouri Right to Life.
They caught some grief over how far-reaching the abortion bill was a couple years ago and thought Koenig would pay for it at the polls. He was hit for it all cycle, and won anyway, bigly.
Sen. Caleb Rowden is probably the only person on earth besides Norm Stewart who could have won that race. Every cycle, he is the underdog, and every cycle, he just wins. That could be the toughest election of his career, and that career could absolutely include the Governor’s Mansion.
You know, the only person I spoke to who predicted this out come was Andy Blunt. His projections were spot on — down to nearly the point.
The lone Democratic bright spot was Rep. Doug Beck holding SD1 in South County. God forbid a moderate white male who is supportive of the police gets nominated by the Democrats. Oh yeah, he will take the very competitive seat from Scott Sifton. Maybe the Democratic establishment should take note. Winning looks fun, maybe they should try it.
Speaking of remarkable feats, congrats to Rep. Dean Plocher on winning the House Floor Leaders race. He is in an incredible position. A very volatile Speaker means he will be at the center of every deal with the Governor’s Office and the Senate. And I have to say, his win is a bit of an upset. Congrats to a truly good guy on a good win. Also shout out to his wife Rebecca
Plocher, a true powerhouse couple. Moreover, in a time when politicians are vilified their relationship is a real example to others just entering politics.
Catch our Show Me Missourah episode in Franklin County with Tim Brinker and our old friend — okay, most of our friend —Dave Hinson. On Sunday, This Week in Missouri Politics will talk about all the highs and lows of the 2020 cycle.
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.