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TWMP Column: Fillibuster fall out

The filibuster has broken and now it’s time for both sides to claim victory.

Let’s look at who won what:

Senate Republican Leadership

They planted their flag in the ground, stood up to the conservative/freedom caucus, took their chairmanships and actually made them go all night on a filibuster in January.

It’s pretty much what the majority of their 17 members have been wanting for some time now, and it worked.

I don’t really see what they gave up. Last year they did IP reform, they planned to do IP reform this year, only now a few weeks earlier.

The real bonus for Senators Rowden, O’Laughlin and Bean is that instead of a group of 17 who was mostly untied by their dislike of Senator Eigel is now untied behind their elected leadership, that will matter when they tackle big bills.

Senator Ben Brown

It’s a good day to be now Senate chairman Ben Brown. He has put his head down, learned the senate, built relationships with most all members, and is reaping the rewards. Don’t short sell his chief of staff Frank Catanzaro’s role in his impressive 13 months.

He is obviously gonna feel a little awkward about how some of this went down, but he has earned his good fortune. The only way to make it right is to do a tremendous job.

Senator Curtis Trent

He just gets it. The junior senator from Greene more than held his own in an inquiry from Senator Eigel a senior senator who is fantastic on the floor, then he brushed off a friendly but awkward inquiry from Senator Schroer at the start of the chaos.

Senator Trent is putting together an impressive resume of relationships and key moments on the floor to vault him to the front of his class.

Former Senator Dan Hegeman 

A true statesman, and it proves that if you do it right you will have plenty of friends even after you have termed out. Good things happening for a good man.

The opposition

There was a reward for the last three weeks, but it’s a little harder to see. There is no question that they filibustered for three weeks to get IP reform referred and likely passed a few weeks earlier than last year. While that is a win, I’m not sure Senator Koenig would have traded his coveted chairmanship for it.

The bigger issue is that while they have built an impressive following of grassroots supporters when you tell activists how vital legislation is you have to be careful that it doesn’t begin to look like you’re the one holding the vital legislation up. Activists run a hot engine, and they are like having a tiger by the tail, you have to be careful that the tiger doesn’t turn on you.

Senator Bill Eigel

He has worked for years to create a scenario where if legislation passes, then he takes a victory lap, but if legislation fails he fastens the blame onto Senator Rowden, and now Senator O’Laughlin. In the end, it’s simply true that IP reform was referred earlier than last year, and could pass the Senate earlier than last year. However, that is really a pretty minor victory for all the floor time spent.

However, Senator Eigel really won this fight by obtaining the notoriety and credibility for fighting “the establishment” that came from losing his chairmanship. There is no question he would have gladly traded four months of a pretty minor committee chairmanship for the attention he garnered for his Governor’s race. To his not insignificant and more importantly growing audience this was a home run. In terms of policy, more of a respectable single.

Senator Rick Brattin

This is the type of fight that Senator Brattin is good at, and typically he is a talented enough politician that this type of thing ends up working for him. However, he has a three-way primary that could develop into a perfect storm. Part of that storm would be Reps Houx and Haffner passing several bills with anti-landfill legislation in them, while he cannot get that legislation through the Senate.

There is no question that the events of the last couple weeks have only made Senator Cierpiot’s job harder, and some are speculating that it is impossible to get Senator Brattin’s bill through.

Senator Andrew Koenig 

Senator Koenig is the one member of the opposition who actually likes to pass legislation, and he is good at it. He also obviously enjoyed having one of the most prized chairmanships in the Senate. Something changed a few weeks ago when Senator Rowden inquired of him on the floor, it was almost like he was done with the voting against him and apologizing routine. I also tend to doubt that he did his Treasurer’s race any favors by voting to advance a slate excluding former Senator Hegeman. Those northwest Missourah boys ain’t known for forgetting much.

All in all, he got the worst end of this.

Senator Nick Schroer 

Nick is one of the most talented politicians in the party and the state. If he could have pulled off another amazing walking between the raindrops move that he did last session he would have escaped to calmer waters of next session with little to no collateral damage from his first two years and no enemies and winning on all sides.

However, it became clear this session that he has to pick sides and honestly no matter what side he picks there is fallout for him now.

I tend to think if left to his own devices he would not have voted to advance a slate excluding former Senator Hegeman, and he is fortunate that he was ultimately confirmed or I suspect that he would no longer be leading JCAR.

You can tell he wants the Republicans and the opposition to get along, but if the FRA is anything like the last couple of weeks he will continue to be put in these no-win situations.  No senator would benefit more from the next four months of session being canceled than Senator Schroer.

Senator Mike Moon 

I don’t know why he allowed Senator Hegeman to go forward, but it was a classy move not to block a former senator.

The Democrats 

The ending of this could be problematic for them. Not that the opposition and the Republicans will actually get along, but that the Republicans are very untied behind their leadership now in a way they simply weren’t before.

Remember, history dictates that no matter how much the opposition treats the Republicans like shit, they always screw over the Democrats for them in the end.

Midweek Update
I interviewed Sen. Denny Hoskins for this week’s Midweek Update. You can watch it here