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Missouri Demsí thin bench
Politico ^ | 3/27/14 | JUANA SUMMERS

Posted on 03/27/2014 2:52:08 PM PDT by Second Amendment First

The Missouri state auditor’s post has been a launching pad for politicians with higher aspirations like Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former GOP Sen. Kit Bond. But this year, Democrats concede they won’t field a serious candidate against incumbent Republican Auditor Tom Schweich — sparking questions about the strength of the party’s bench in the red-trending swing state.

Schweich may also be using his position to mount a bid for higher office in 2016, making Democrats’ historic failure to recruit an opponent for Schweich even more costly.

“The reality is we believed we had a candidate who withdrew mid-cycle, so people who might have otherwise taken a hard look at it didn’t get that chance. So you were asking people to make decisions relatively quickly,” Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple said in an interview. “We weren’t successful in finding a serious challenger.”

State Rep. Jay Swearingen, a North Kansas City Democrat, bowed out of the race in January, saying that he wanted to step aside for a Democrat who was better able to raise money for the contest.

Democrats last held the post in 2010, when Schweich defeated incumbent Susan Montee.

In an interview, Schweich said he was “pleased that for the first time in over a century the Democrats have failed to field a Democrat for a statewide seat in Missouri.” But he said he wasn’t sure if that was due to their lack of credible candidates, or his own fundraising strength.

“I think Missouri is basically a conservative state,” he said. “Governor [Mitt] Romney won by 9 or 10 points and we lost 5 out of 6 statewide elections in 2012 for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the people of Missouri disagreeing with us.”

Temple pushed back against the idea that the Democrats lack talent that could ascend to top offices such as the U.S. Senate or the governor’s mansion, saying that there’s an “extraordinary talent base on the Democratic side.”

“We have very serious stars in Attorney General [Chris] Koster, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, Secretary of State Jason Kander,” he said. “You have a two-term governor who has plenty of political energy left in his tank. There are skillful and talented politicians distributed widely around the rest of the state.”

While Missouri has trended away from Democrats in recent years — the state was a closely-contested presidential battleground in 2008, but President Obama conceded it in 2012 — the party has won key elections over the past few cycles.

Republicans saw a big opportunity in 2012 to topple McCaskill, one of the Senate’s most endangered incumbents. But she won handily over then-GOP Rep. Todd Akin, whose comments about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy torpedoed his campaign.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon easily won reelection in 2012 over GOP challenger Dave Spence, a relative political neophyte who jumped into the race when Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder dropped his bid for governor in November 2011.

Nixon will end his second term in 2016 and cannot seek a third; many Democrats assume he’ll run for U.S. Senate in 2016 when GOP Sen. Roy Blunt is up for reelection.

Schweich is widely expected to run for governor, and the boost he’ll get after winning reelection unopposed could add heft to a future campaign. Former state House Speaker Catherine Hanaway has also announced that she plans to run for the Republican nomination.

Temple called the absence of a Democratic candidate for the auditor’s post“ disappointing” but said it would “certainly make the 2016 GOP primary for governor more interesting to watch.”

“I would think [Schweich] would marshal those resources and assuming he gets into that primary, he’ll be well funded,” he said. “Sparks will fly, and I will watch and be entertained.”

“If I had a chance of recruiting someone who had a credible chance of winning, I would have done so,” he added. “But I wasn’t able to do that. There’s no reason to put up someone for the sake of it, especially if he’s likely to store his money up and use it against a fellow Republican.”

Schweich declined to discuss his future political plans, saying he’s been “very careful not to talk about 2016 right now.”

Koster, the state attorney general, has said he intends to seek the Democratic nomination. But there are few other Democratic prospects to point to.

The only two Democrats in Missouri’s House delegation represent the state’s most populous urban areas – Rep. Lacy Clay of St. Louis and Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver of Kansas City – and neither is seen as likely to ascend to the governor’s mansion or the U.S. Senate.

The state’s other House seats are largely out of Democrats’ grasp because of the most recent round of redistricting, in which Republicans held heavy sway. Republicans control the state legislature, and though Nixon vetoed the Republican-written remap, but his decision was overridden by the General Assembly.

The remapping of districts pitted Clay against fellow Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan in a primary in a district with roughly 50 percent black population; the Democratic electorate is significantly more African-American than that. Clay defeated Carnahan easily in the 2012 primary.

The state’s six GOP-held House districts, Temple, the state Democratic chairman, said, “are very challenging districts by design.” Democrats failed to earn even 40 percent of the vote in any of these seats in 2012, while Clay and Cleaver coasted to easy wins in their districts.

Temple seemed bullish about his side’s chances in 2016, despite the state’s overall trend away from Democrats at the presidential level.

“In constitutional offices, U.S. Senate races, everybody starts with a jump ball. In those, we have any number of high quality candidates that can credibly present themselves for those positions and have a very high chance of winning,” he said. “There will be some shuffling of the decks and I like our stable better than theirs.”

TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; US: Missouri
KEYWORDS: 2014election; 2014midterms; 2016election; chriskoster; clairemccaskill; clintzweifel; election2014; election2016; jasonkander; jayswearingen; missouri; mo2014; susanmontee; tomschweich
Nixon and McCaskill are the last dems you will probably see in Missouri.
1 posted on 03/27/2014 2:52:08 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Second Amendment First

If I was Blunt, worry about Nixon. Although Nixon is an idiot, Blunt is an elitist so I would expect many not showing up election day or voting Libertarian. Libertarians poll pretty well here...

2 posted on 03/27/2014 2:57:18 PM PDT by 11th Commandment ("THOSE WHO TIRE LOSE")
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: F15Eagle

The Democrats have been corralled into three oblasts: St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia. They lose more voters state wide every year, so they are fading except in the holdouts aforementioned.

McCaskill won only by the monumental stupidity of Todd Akin and the many who stood blindly by him as he augured in. You all know them well here on FR.

4 posted on 03/27/2014 3:25:09 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: Second Amendment First

I’m not sure what party Carl Edwards is, but if he ever ran for office in Columbia, MO, he would win. He’s from Columbia.

5 posted on 03/27/2014 4:56:31 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (I'm ExCTCitizen and I approve this reply. If it does offend Libs, I'm NOT sorry...)
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To: Second Amendment First

“Democrats concede they won’t field a serious candidate”

Uh, actually they failed to field ANY candidate. They can;t even lie convincingly. Do they even believe their own BS?

6 posted on 03/27/2014 5:33:57 PM PDT by Optimist
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To: Second Amendment First

commentary from that has a side focus on Buchanan County, but overall analysis of statewide politics has some interesting points.

Posted on March 26, 2014
Filing for all Missouri and Buchanan County elected offices closed on Tuesday with further evidence of the Republican strength that has been building for many years. Two years ago Republicans were disheartened at the state and federal levels with not only the re-election of Barack Obama, but the sweep of all state-wide offices except for Lt. Governor. Despite the disappointment, Republicans still held overwhelming majorities in both sides of the General Assembly: Representatives and Senators elected by their smaller, more local districts.

As disenchantment continues to grow over Obamacare’s forced health insurance programs, unbridled federal spending, rising pressure for illegal immigration (allowance) reform, attacks on faith and traditional family values, and liberalization of recreational drug use, the growing number of conservative candidates (and the withdrawal of liberals) is evident in candidate filing by the numbers:

STATE-WIDE - After winning nearly EVERY state office in 2012, NOT ONE Democrat filed to run as State Auditor. Incumbent Tom Schweich is opposed by only a Libertarian and a Constitution Party candidate. Democrat failure to field a candidate is hardly inspiring when you consider the shellacking the Dems gave Repubs last time they met on the state-wide stage.

STATE REPS - Republicans currently hold 110 of 163 State House seats, all of which are up for election. Republican candidates will be unopposed in 40 of those offices, and in 10 more the primary winning Republican will face no Democratic opponent: that’s 50 seats — almost half — with NO DEM CANDIDATE! By contrast, 14 Dems have a “free ride” and 7 more face only primary challenges to expand their 53 seat minority.

REPRESENTING BUCHANAN COUNTY - All three incumbent State Rep candidates – 1 Democrat and 2 Republican — are among the completely unopposed, free-ride numbers. What is so amazing about this is that Representative Galen Higdon, representing the more traditionally blue-collar, Democratic South St. Joseph/Buchanan County area, enters this re-election bid with NO DEMOCRATIC CONTENDER for the second time. Eastern St. Joseph/Buchanan County Rep Delus Johnson likewise will face no Democrat for the second time as he looks toward his third term. Former County Clerk, Pat Conway, likewise remains unopposed representing the St. Joseph urban area as the County’s lone Democrat legislator.

STATE SENATORS - Republicans currently hold 24 of 34 State Senate seats. Republicans currently hold 11 of the 17 coming up for election. Nine Republican candidates will face no opponent, and one office faces only a Republican primary battle. Only one Democrat incumbent is unopposed. That leaves the remaining 7 offices facing at least a general election battle.

IN NORTHWEST MO - Incumbent Rob Schaaf ( representing Platte/Buchanan Counties) and term-limited Brad Lager (representing the 15-county district of all of NW MO) go into November with oddly different scenarios. It’s usually the open seat that gets all the attention, but former State Rep Dan Hegeman will go through to the general election totally unopposed, whereas Dr. Rob Schaaf will face opposition by a lone Democratic challenger.

CONGRESS - Nationally, 2014 looks to be a referendum on Obama Democrats and RINO Republicans. Missouri will not have a US Senate race this year so we will be on the sidelines picking our favorites running for the Senate. In the US House, all 8 MO Congressmen will face challenges in at least the general election. The 6 generally conservative Republican US Reps should hold their own, but the negative attitude toward the current Republican leadership may hurt what should otherwise be an easy Republican re-election. November will tell if there will be any upsets — particularly in the Democrat-held urban districts of KC and St. Louis.

BUCHANAN COUNTY OFFICES - The Republican brand continues to grow in what is typically considered to be ”a Democratic county”. Rarely seeing many candidates for county office in past decades (let alone primary races), the successful election of Republican candidates to high-visibility county offices and the state general assembly, as well as a surge in conservative identity, has resulted in Republican candidates for 2 judgeships- one an incumbent, one an open seat, an incumbent Republican for County Clerk, a Republican for an open County Auditor seat, and 2 well-qualified Republican candidates in a primary to replace our retiring Republican Presiding Commissioner.

As conservatism grows within the Republican Party, so too does it lead to growth and expansion of the Republican party in Buchanan County and NW Missouri. This should be a very good year for our candidates as they promote their conservative Missouri and Buchanan County values.

7 posted on 03/27/2014 5:42:05 PM PDT by Optimist
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