KWMU: Future of St. Louis Area Conservatives has State Politicos Buzzing
March 1, 2014

KWMU via

Until this week, most of the attention directed at state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, has focused on his outspoken conservatism and his efforts to block some federal gun laws.

But now the chief question is whether Nieves is preparing to quit the state Capitol.

Nieves said in two text messages this week, the latest on Friday, that he’s not yet ready to discuss the situation — but many others are.

As expected, Nieves showed up Tuesday on the first day of candidate filing and filed for re-election this fall. But shortly before 5 p.m., state Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, filed to challenge Nieves in the August primary.

Schatz’ filing, in turn, may have opened the door to other top Republicans considering whether to jump in as well. They include former state Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, and state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

The 26th District now represented by Nieves spans from Franklin County to west St. Louis County. The district took in more close-in suburbs as a result of redistricting in 2011.

Almost half of the 26th District’s voters reside in St. Louis County, a far cry from the district’s more rural demographics when Nieves first was elected to the Senate in 2010 in what was arguably the most combative Republican primary in the region that year.

Still, with no prominent Democratic opponent looming, Nieves had been expected to coast to re-election this fall.

But other considerations may intervene. By several accounts, Nieves has been mulling over various business opportunities that would pay more than the roughly $35,000 he earns now in the state Senate.

Even so, some close to Nieves say he was shocked by Schatz’s action – although Schatz said he had discussed the matter with Nieves before filing.