With roughly a month left to go before adjournment, many of the Missouri General Assembly’s big issues remain unresolved.
That’s not too surprising. Big-ticket legislation often passes – or dies -- in the last weeks of the session. With about a month to go before the final gavel falls, legislation dealing with tax cuts, the state’s criminal code and the student transfer situation are all still up in the air.
The resolution of some conflicts could hinge on unity from Republicans who control the legislature, while others may fall along less predictable fault lines.
Nearly 15 years after the U.S. Senate rejected his nomination to be a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Ronnie White is getting a second chance. President Barack Obama has nominated him again for the same type of judgeship.
While Jay Ashcroft, the son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, was always interested in politics, he also said he didn’t consider it “the highest calling.”
“My highest calling in life is to be a good husband to my wife and to be a good father for my kids," said the attorney and engineer from unincorporated St. Louis County. “In the last couple of years when I’ve seen how government has been working at the state level and unfortunately not always working, I kept coming around to the conclusion that I need to be part of the solution.”
For all intents and purposes, the 2014 election season looks to be a great, big bust.
Nobody should be surprised, as 2014 was always a way station to 2016. But hardly anybody expected that the only statewide race on the ballot would feature state Auditor Tom Schweich facing off against a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate -- but not even a token Democrat. And some previously heated state Senate contests completely fizzled out.
State Sen. Rob Schaaf is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health-care policy. But some believe that this staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion holds the key to ending the legislative impasse over it.
In some strange, alternate universe, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman would be running for a third term on the St. Louis County Council.
Back in the mid-2000s, the Olivette Democrat seemed to be on a collision course with Barbara Fraser, a fellow Democrat, for the 5th District council seat. But the two agreed on a deal: Fraser would run for county council while Zimmerman would run for Fraser's spot in the Missouri House.
Wes Shoemyer was content to ride off into the political sunset.
The former Democratic state senator lost his re-election bid decisively in 2010. Afterward he told people in Jefferson City that he had a great “consolation prize” – going back to his farm near Monroe County.
But Shoemyer is leaping back into the fray to fight an amendment making it more difficult to regulate agriculture. And he’s taking on familiar adversaries – some the state’s largest agricultural organizations.
State Auditor Tom Schweich is in an enviable electoral position after Democrat Jay Swearingen dropped out of this year's auditor's race. Democrats do have candidates that could mount credible campaigns. But the question is whether any of them will run.