Why Money Can’t Buy you Live, or Votes
November 11, 2012

ST. LOUIS • What can you get for $6.6 million these days?
Not the Missouri governor’s office, as it turns out.

That’s how much Republican gubernatorial nominee Dave Spence spent from his personal fortune in his failed attempt to topple Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in Tuesday’s election. For his trouble, Spence lost by a 12-point margin. His final personal tab: More than $5 per vote.

Spence’s expensive loss came on the heels of businessman John Brunner’s even more expensive one in Missouri’s August GOP primary for the U.S. Senate. After spending some $8 million of own money, Brunner — a political novice, like Spence — finished second to underfinanced Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Akin. Akin went on to lose the general election by almost 16 points to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill Tuesday.

It’s been said that money is the lifeblood of politics, and McCaskill’s 4-to-1 campaign funding advantage over Akin certainly was a key factor in her victory last week.

But the fates of Spence, Brunner, and other inexperienced but wealthy candidates around the country once again show the limits of the almighty dollar against the multifaceted demands of politics. “People who are successful in life are the best people to have in office … because of their skill sets,” said Jeff Roe, a Kansas City-based Republican political consultant.

But as candidates, they often run into problems, Roe said, most of them self-inflicted. “They have to learn that their instincts aren’t always correct.”

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Brunner went into the summer primaries expecting to spend millions of his own money, and did, only to find it wasn’t enough to overcome Akin’s years of local connection-building among rural conservatives who can sway a GOP primary.
“There is a real advantage to having been around and having met people who make local politics work,” said Republican political consultant John Hancock, who was a Brunner adviser. “This is a kind of political capital that is in some respects as important as money.”

Spence didn’t expect to spend what he did, but ended up doing it to “finish what I started” when outside money dried up — a development he blames on media distracted by Akin’s controversial Senate run.

“I did what I had to do,” Spence said of his personal spending. “I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel good.”

They join a perennial club in American politics: self-funding newbie politicians who hope their money will allow them to bypass the lower rungs of the political ladder and go right to the upper levels.

Sometimes it works. There’s a reason more than half the members of the U.S. Senate are millionaires.

When self-funded candidates with no political experience lose, said Roe, it’s often because of “how they are used to administering their businesses, and how that translates into a campaign.”
For a serious high-level campaign, they have to trade in the trusted partners and employees from their business lives for “those who practice the dark arts” — political consultants. And then, just as difficult, they have to listen to them.

Roe said successful businessmen can have a difficult time doing that, in part because of the big personalities common among entrepreneurs.

“They’re very competitive people. It takes a certain amount of self-confidence to do this,” said Roe. So once the inevitable frustration with the consultants sets in, “they sometimes they think, ‘I know how to do this better, anyway.’”

They often don’t.

“They want to see results. ‘How many (voting percentage) points can I get for how much money?’ It doesn’t work that way, but they think it does because that’s their experience,” said Roe. “I literally had a guy say once, ‘I want to spend how much it costs to win 51 percent. I don’t want to fund a landslide.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

Hancock said Brunner was never that naive about the magic that his money could work, and that he was a quick study in the new world of politics.

“He really took to it well,” said Hancock. “I know he thoroughly enjoyed the process of running for office. Not everyone does.”

Brunner couldn’t be reached for comment.

More: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/political-fix/checkbook-politics-didn-t-work-out-for-top-tier-missouri/article_5291c216-5ece-51e7-9211-807ea539cc0d.html

Clay County is Missouri Battle Ground in Senate and Governor’s Race
November 6, 2012

Clay County becomes Missouri political battleground

LIBERTY, Mo. —
The campaigns of Missouri incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican candidate for governor Dave Spence spent part of the last day before the election in Clay County.

The county has become a heated battleground in Missouri electoral politics in recent years.

In the past, the Ford plant in Claycomo provided a solid foundation of Democratic votes to offset the smaller, Republican towns and farms. Now, the county has a population of about 250,000 people, many living in suburban subdivisions.

“In part, it is the population shift. We’re now more suburban in many ways,” said John Sanderford of the Clay County Republican Committee.

“We have a population now of 160,000 or so voters in Clay County,” said Clay County Democrat Bill Skaggs. “When I started running for office 30 years ago, we had half that many.”

In 2000, the county split even. George W. Bush carried the county by a single vote. Most of the state senators and representatives in the area are Republicans and many of the races are close.

That’s why Spence made it a stop on his final day.

“We put a lot of effort into this area,” he said. “Gov. Nixon has not been a protector of our jobs from Kansas.”

“There are a lot of independent-minded voters in Clay County,” said McCaskill. “They look at the person, not the party that is on the ballot.”

3P Poll: McCaskill Up by 4, Libertarian May Hold the Key
November 5, 2012

Public Policy Polling’s (3P) last Missouri Senate survey shows Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill with a 4% point lead over Republican challenger, Todd Akin. Libertarian candidate, Jonathan Dine holds 6% of the Missouri vote.
3P’s survey indicates the Libertarian vote may be the key in a bruising Senate rate.
” Akin’s chances at pulling off an upset comeback victory may depend on whether Dine really gets 6% at the polls on Tuesday,” 3P said in its summary statement.
It continues, “ His voters support Mitt Romney 70/25 over Barack Obama and Dave Spence 61/34 over Jay Nixon, so clearly he’s pulling from folks who otherwise would have voted Republican. The Dine voters hate Akin- only 12% see him favorably to 67% with a negative opinion. But they hate McCaskill too- only 8% approve of the job she’s doing to 67% who disapprove. If they stay with Dine, McCaskill wins. If they decide the desire for a Republican Senate outweighs their disgust for Akin, then Akin has a chance.”
McCaskill, according to the poll, has a 17 point advantage among Missouri women, Akin has a 15 lead among Missouri men.
“This race has one of the biggest gender gaps we’ve seen all year,’ according to the summary.
In other 3P survey works, the poll confirms what the national campaign have believes much of the year, Missouri is going Red, Mitt Romney will carry the state.
3P says Romney has an eight point lead over president Barack Obama in Missouri. Romney’s does very well with Missouri’s independent voters. He had a 19 point bulge in the key group.
The survey also says incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s lead over challenger Dave Spence has narrowed.
The Democrat leads Spence, by 53-45%. Nixon has an 11 point advantage among Missouri independent voters. He also picks up 14% of the Republican vote.

KSDK Poll Has McCaskill in Control, Up by 15
November 5, 2012

KSDK (via Johncombest.com)
With fewer than 30 hours left until the polls open for the General Election, here is a look at the race for the White House, Missouri governor and U.S. Senate.

A NewsChannel 5 Decision 2012 poll conducted by SurveyUSA found Mitt Romney with a seven-percent lead over President Barack Obama in Missouri, 50 to 43. Four-percent of Missouri voters selected other and three-percent were undecided.

President Obama had a six-percent lead in the St. Louis-area.

If the race for U.S. Senate were held today in Missouri, Claire McCaskill would win over Todd Akin 51 to 36-percent. Libertarian Jonathan Dine captured eight-percent of the vote.
McCaskill’s strength comes from her ability to retain her base. She holds 93-percent of the Democratic base, compared to Akin who holds just 66-percent of the Republican base.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has a lead over Republican challenger Dave Spence 48 to 39-percent. Nixon’s entire margin of victory comes from African American voters, who break 11:1 for Nixon.
SurveyUSA interviewed 700 adults from the state of Missouri October 28 through November 3. Of the adults, 643 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 589 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the General Election.

Spence Lashes Nixon with Mamtek Failure
October 31, 2012

MOBERLY, Mo. (AP) – Republican governor candidate Dave Spence is using a failed sweetener manufacturing plant to criticize Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s handling of economic development.

Spence campaigned in Moberly, which was to be home to Mamtek U.S., a proposed $39 million industrial development. The deal fell through and the former head of the company is facing fraud and stealing charges. Up to $17 million in state incentives were authorized for the project but never paid.

Spence said Wednesday the Mamtek problems could have been avoided with “a lick of common sense.” He called it an example of seeking publicity and not doing sufficient research and due diligence.

Nixon campaign spokeswoman Channing Ansley says no state tax money was lost in the failed project because Missouri had strong protections in place.