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Government, Politics & Issues

Democratic consultant Jane Dueker believes Romney overplayed his hand in debate

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Name: Jane E. Dueker

Party: Democrat

Age: 46

Job: Partner, Stinson Morrison Hecker LLC, a law firm in Clayton.  Dueker specializes in government and media law, helping individuals and corporations to navigate government regulations.

Education: St. Louis University (law degree), University of Missouri-Kansas City

Clout:  Formerly an assistant Missouri attorney general under Jay Nixon, Dueker went into private practice and in 2002 joined the staff of Gov. Bob Holden as chief legal counsel, the first woman to hold the post in Missouri. In 2003-4 she served as Holden’s chief of staff, and then rejoined her law firm. In addition to practicing governmental and media law, she does consulting work on election issues and for candidates.

The (first) Debate: “Clearly, Romney came out more aggressive.  He was more on.  Obama intended to and did play it safe.  He didn’t really call Romney out on a lot of things, but he will do that on the campaign trail.  Romney won, but do I think it’s a game changer? No. It kept him in the game, but Romney overplayed his hand.  Some of his statements will be used against him (e.g., PBS spending).”

Current campaigns:  Playing a supporting and consulting role on behalf of Democratic candidates in statewide races. Also, as an informal adviser, she works on strategy, policy and messaging, and is sometimes engaged by campaigns to do specific projects.

I know I’ve done a good job when  …:  “… When clients or candidates keep calling you, you’re at the table and people value your advice.”

Beyond November:  “Medicaid expansion is going to be front and center.  Missouri has a decision to make: How is Obamacare going to be implemented in Missouri?”  Other big issues will include the urban education crisis, budget problems and job creation.

Biggest political disappointment:  Gov. Holden losing (to Claire McCaskill) in the 2004 Democratic primary.  “I truly believed in him and his administration and still do.  And although I support Senator McCaskill wholeheartedly, that loss was very challenging.”

Political hero: Harry Truman. “He had some of the most difficult decisions in the history of our country.  A completely unselfish politician, he was an incredible leader.  He was always underestimated. For him, public service was noble service. He is my political inspiration.”

Most important race:  The Akin-McCaskill race highlights the civil war going on nationally within the Republican party.  Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments had as much effect on the national discussion as anything else.  People are finally cognizant of an extreme wing of the Republican party as highlighted by the Akin-McCaskill race.

Underrated race:  Lieutenant governor.  (Peter) Kinder could be the only Republican that breaks through.  That will be the most interesting.

Overrated race:  Governor.  “I don’t think it’s going to be close.  It doesn’t teach us anything.  There’s nothing interesting about it.”

Biggest primary surprise:  That Sarah Steelman didn’t do better in the Republican Senate primary.

Akin prediction:  “I think he loses.  I think Senator Danforth is right – Republican women aren’t going to go there.”

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