As has been reported nationally, Gov. Eric Greitens (R), in order to escape potential felony charges hanging over his head after some were recently dismissed, agreed to resign his office as part of an informal plea bargain arrangement. Lt. Gov. Mike Parson (R) will ascend to the office on Friday after the Governor officially leaves office. This situation has been developing for several months and is associated with the Governor’s highly publicized extra-marital affair. Incoming Gov. Parson, a former state Senator and Representative who represented the region east and south of Kansas City and north of Springfield, will serve through 2020. He would be eligible to run for a full term at that time.
A new survey from the Missouri Scout news service (5/9-10; 888 MO registered voters) finds Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) clinging to a 48-44% lead over Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), which is her best showing since the last Missouri Scout poll (4/19-20) that produced exactly the same result. Other surveys, from four other pollsters, found a much tighter contest. The ranges come all the way from Hawley leading by one point to McCaskill ahead by two. Expect this to be another of the hard fought toss-up Senate races that will occur later this year.
State legislative leaders announced they have met the requirements to call a special session of the state House and Senate to consider the special committee report about Gov. Eric Greitens (R) pre-election affair with a married woman and subsequent felony indictment for invasion of privacy. The special session will begin May 18th, and could result in an impeachment vote. In the House, 15 Representatives beyond than the required minimum amount signed the legislative petition to request a special session. In the Senate, 26 were needed to agree, and 29 Senators made the official request. Such numbers do not bode well for Gov. Greitens. If he were removed from office, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson (R) would become Governor.
Two more early polls were released for the Missouri Senate race and both again show a virtual dead heat. The Emerson College survey (4/26-29; 600 MO likely voters) finds Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) tied at 45% apiece. The Hawley Campaign also released their own internal survey (OnMessage; 4/16-18; 600 MO likely voters) projecting the first-term Attorney General to be holding the slightest of leads, 47-46%. Other released data found Sen. McCaskill with a similarly tight edge.
The Missouri Scout blog, contracting with TJP Strategies, conducted a new poll of the Show Me State electorate (4/19-20; 1,542 MO likely voters). Though mostly testing indicted Gov. Eric Greitens (R) situation, the pollsters did ask a question about the upcoming US Senate race. The responses broke 48-44% in Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D) favor. Her almost-certain opponent, Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), is embroiled in the Greitens indictment controversy and has become an outspoken critic of the Governor. The controversy has likely increased Hawley’s hard positives and negatives. This race is expected to remain close all the way to Election Day.
Missouri candidate filing closed yesterday, and the Secretary of State reports that 20 individuals are challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), but there is little doubt that the August 7th primary will yield the incumbent facing Attorney General Josh Hawley (R).
In the House races, all eight incumbents are seeking another term, and each is favored in the ensuing general election. In total, 53 individuals have filed papers to run for the House of Representatives, including 22 Democrats, 18 Republicans, and 13 minor party registrants.
The Governor’s election is not on the ballot until 2020.
Democrats successfully converted another state legislative seat in a special election earlier in the week. Missouri featured four special elections for the state House of Representatives, all from red districts. The 97th HD, in the far southern St. Louis suburbs, went to Democrat Mike Revis on a 52-48% vote. The result is significant because President Trump scored a 61-33% win here in 2016.
Other points also to consider: Republicans held the other three districts so it is difficult to argue that a wave formed for this special election cycle. Still, three of the four seats did perform substantially under Trump’s showing, but it is important to remember that the turnout was below 3,500 voters in three of the four districts, including HD-97. This means between a quarter and a third of the voters who participated in the presidential election returned to cast a ballot this week.
Last week, Remington Research, as we reported, released a survey giving Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) a 49-45% lead over Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), the second time this polling firm reported such a finding. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the liberal Majority Institute (1/8-9; 965 MO registered voters), puts McCaskill back in the lead, however, but with the slightest of margins, 45-44%. The sampling universe appears to contain a Democratic skew, however. In a state that has lurched to the right since the turn of the century, this sample actually gave the Democrats a 37-34% plurality. Together, the two polls suggest that the Senate race is clearly within the margin of polling error and should be considered a toss-up, even at this early stage of the election cycle.
Remington Research again tested the tight Missouri Senate race with their latest survey (1/3-4; 1,122 MO likely voters), and once more found the challenger leading Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) continues to maintain a small lead. On this ballot test, Mr. Hawley holds a 49-45% edge over the two-term incumbent. The Missouri race has clearly moved into position as the Republicans’ best conversion opportunity in the country.
Remington Research went into the field just as Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) was announcing his challenge to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). The survey (10/11-12; 965 MO likely voters) finds the incumbent trailing early. According to the ballot test data, Mr. Hawley jumps out to a tight 48-45% edge over the two-term Senator.
Interestingly, though President Trump (48:47% favorable to unfavorable) and Gov. Eric Greitens’ (46:39% positive to negative) job approval indexes were tested, the questionnaire apparently did not include such a question about either Sen. McCaskill or AG Hawley. This is the first of what will be a large number of Missouri Senate polls that we can count on seeing during the next year.
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