Martin Casas, who is running against Michael Butler in the Democratic primary for the open state House seat being vacated by Tishaura O. Jones, seems to believe the stain of Rex Sinquefield support won’t hurt him at the polls on August 7.
Casas – who has down pat the “young progressive urban professional” patter that makes civic leaders at least temporary believers in him – has started to pile up the connections to Rex.
Nancy Rice – an employee of Pelopidas, Sinquefield’s primary political shop – was the host of a Casas fundraiser at her house on March 21. Brian Wahby, Casas’ mentor in St. Louis politics (and hubby of Mayor Francis G. Slay’s school choice minion, Robbyn Wahby), tweeted from the fundraiser about what a good time they were all having.
St. Louis Activist Hub, a progressive blog that blew the whistle on Casas throughout his apprenticeship with Wahby while chairing the Young Democrats, crunched the numbers on Casas and Sinquefield back in January. The blog reported that in 2011 Casas received $18,500 from A Safer Missouri, a political action committee established by Sinquefield to finance the petition initiative to put local control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department on the ballot.
More recently, Casas has received campaign contributions from the likes of Jeff Rainford, Richard Callow and Wahby’s newest protégé in the ranks of faux progressive Democrats, Gregg Christian. (However, to be fair, Casas also has some supporters on his April report the EYE would place in the “good guy” column, such as Richard Baron, Scott Intagliata and even Alderman Antonio D. French, who dribbled out a 20 spot to Casas.)
The EYE would just as soon leave folks’ family out of this, but Casas lists his wife as his campaign treasurer and he campaigns with reference to her and his family. So certainly it is fair game to point out that his wife works for a school choice organization (one of Sinquefield’s pet activist agendas) that has received funding from Pelopidas.
When questioned on his Rex connections at the 8th Ward Democratic endorsement meeting last Thursday, Casas said that although he had received money from Sinquefield, he was still a progressive Democrat. He said that receiving money to work on issues like local control of the city police and fighting the repeal of the earnings tax will not compromise his votes on key issues that affect the people he represents. However, Casas’ supporter Sinquefield is an adamant opponent of President Barack Obama – all but calling our first black President “boy” in ridiculing his youth and experience – supports the destruction of the St. Louis Public Schools, and pushes for a tax code so regressive it makes the Roman Empire look like a welfare state.
So Casas wants Democratic voters to believe that he wears a duck costume, talks in duckese, and swims around in a pond with ducks, yet he is not a duck. One word from the EYE: “Quack!”
However, Casas can talk the young progressive talk and he has been active in the political and civic arenas for years, working hard. Michael Butler has a fight on his hands. The public education advocates who have helped past underdogs beat Sinquefield beneficiaries have bigger fish to fry in this primary, so Butler had better work to get some of their muscle behind him.
Still not Obama’a lawyer
When Ed Martin ran state government for Governor Matt Blunt (amazing to consider we survived that), Martin once said that all you had to do to find illegal aliens in Missouri was to stop at a jobsite where you see people who look Mexican. Ed said this like he was itching to have the privilege to do just that. So no surprise that Martin was crowing that the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling mostly striking down Arizona’s new immigration law upheld the “papers, please” provision requiring that police check the immigration status of anyone who is detained.
Martin, of course, also tried to beat up on incumbent Democrat Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster for not taking Arizona’s side in the federal suit. Not wasting Missouri resources to support the frivolous legislative border wars in a distant state equated, in Martin’s weird mind, to Koster “choosing to be Obama’s Lawyer.” Ed needs to buy a real campaign issue.
Tale of two fundraisers
Aldermanic President Lewis Reed put together an amazing direct mail piece about a star-studded campaign fundraiser tonight at the Magic Chef Mansion, with Eddie Levert, Roland Williams, Devon Alexander and Chef JoJo Davis as celebrity guests. The fold-out of supporters is something of a political who’s-who and utterly appropriate for an incumbent running for reelection as aldermanic president, one of the three seats on the city’s all-powerful Board of Estimate & Apportionment.
However, the EYE understands the campaign hacks for Mayor Slay have been smiling and dialing this list of supporters to make sure they think they are giving money to Reed the incumbent running for reelection, not Reed an unannounced mayoral candidate. The EYE hears that Slay hacks are being told by many Reed supporters that they asked the candidate the same thing and were assured this is not a stealth mayoral campaign fundraiser.
Lewis had better be careful – he might be boxing himself in or setting himself up for a bunch of double-crosses if he declares for mayor after too many more fundraisers.
Ever the party pooper, Mayor Slay threw together his own fundraiser across town on the same night. His list of supporters includes Jeff Aboussie, Don Brown, Claude Brown, Mike Corcoran, Joe Feldman, Tom George, Ron Gladney, Steve Gregali, Jake Hummel, Joe Hunt, Bob Kelley, Michael Kelley, Jim LaMantia, Michael Louis, Dick Mantia, Karla May, Kevin McNatt, Tom McNeil, John O’Mara, Bob Murray, John Orr, Gary Otten, Mary Ellen Ponder, Tony Rippeto, Jeff Roorda, Jack Stelzer, John Stiffler, Bill Trendley, Ted Williams and Dave Zimmerman. None of these seems to be cross-listed for Lewis’ event.
Seeing Claude Brown and Karla May as the rare black faces in a Slay campaign crowd is nothing new, though it’s worth noting that Lewis got Slay water boy Jeffrey Boyd to come to his party. Now that Francis has announced his, the EYE suspects Jeffrey might make two party appearances this evening.
Revolving door at Post
The Post-Dispatch drew some oohs and ahs from the political community when editorial writer Eddie Roth resigned to work for Mayor Slay. Given that Roth was a police commissioner, then an editorial voice at the Post, and then a mayoral staffer, his career officially makes the Post a revolving-door political shop.
Next to leap from the daily paper to political employment is Jake Wagman, who is leaving town as a trailing spouse and hanging out his shingle as “political consultant.” In a release, Jake promised to “offer a fresh and innovative approach to opposition research for candidates and campaigns around the country.” If he makes good on that promise, this would be his first foray into “fresh and innovative,” as far as the EYE is aware.
DNC and Missouri Senators
Despite Gov. Jay Nixon’s announcement that he will attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill seems to have put a wet finger to the political winds and decided a public appearance at the DNC would hurt her reelection campaign. Yes, that kind of sucks. But that is the difference between an incumbent with a confident lead and future national political ambitions – and an embattled incumbent fighting for her political survival in a red state. However, would you rather have Senator McCaskill not attending the DNC, or Senator Todd Akin, John Brunner or Sarah Steelman not attending the DNC? Thought so.