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Government, Politics & Issues

Schupp to declare bid for 24th District state Senate seat, with Koster at her side

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 29, 2013: State Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, is planning to announce June 13 that she will seek in 2014 the 24th District state Senate seat now occupied by Republican John Lamping.

Lamping, R-Ladue, has yet to say if he’s running for re-election.

Schupp’s candidacy, rumored for weeks, also will likely create buzz because her official kickoff is scheduled to have as its star attraction Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat (and former Republican) planning to run for governor in 2016.

Schupp’s campaign is sending out notices this week to potential supporters, asking for donations for her Senate bid. Her note says that her announcement is slated for 5:30 p.m., June 13 at Frontenac Grill, 731 S. Lindbergh.

Koster’s presence appears to underscore his effort to bolster confidence and comfort from Democrats, some of whom are still getting used to his 2007 party switch.

His appearance at Schupp's event also may signal an effort to play a stronger behind-the-scenes role in party politics and a more public role as Democratic booster, by discouraging any other Democrats from seeking the 24th District seat.

In March, for example, he served as emcee for the Democrat Days evening banquet in Hannibal, winning generally supportive reviews from the rural crowd.

Although a St. Louis native, Koster still may be dealing with some residual hometown tension in Democratic circles because of his razor-thin victory in the 2008 three-way primary for attorney general. He barely defeated then-state Rep. Margaret Donnelly, D-Richmond Heights.

Lamping, meanwhile, has been attracting a lot of attention from Democrats -- and Republicans -- in the wake of his actions during the past legislative session.

Some St. Louis area business leaders (including Republican donors) and groups have been furious with Lamping over his role as a leader in late-session filibusters that killed two key measures they had sought:

  • Proposed changes in state tax-credit programs, one of which could have benefited Lambert-St. Louis International Airport;
  • A proposed 2014 ballot measure to ask voters to approve a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax, to pay for improvements to Interstate 70, and local bridge and road improvements.

Lamping has yet to say publicly whether he will seek re-election to a second term in 2014, but a number of mid-county Republicans are privately considering their options should Lamping decide to retire.
The 24th District seat is swing territory and is less Democratic than it was prior to the 2011 redistricting.  Lamping had won the post in 2010 when the district was deemed heavily Democratic, narrowly defeating Democrat Barbara Fraser.

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