Steve Kraske

Who’s up in the nutty world of politics? And who’s down?

Updated: 2013-09-27T23:23:05Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

↓  President Barack Obama. Syria. Obamacare. Economic uncertainty. Iran. Jobs. The budget. How many reasons you want? His job approval sits at 43 percent with 49 percent disapproval — his worst numbers in two years. Even Democrats are losing some zest.

↑  U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri. His most serious potential ’16 challenger, Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, just said again he won’t oppose the Republican senator. Blunt, meanwhile, keeps showing up on network TV where he’s burnishing his leadership credentials. He’s got GOP leader written all over him.

↑  U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, Sam Graves and Vicky Hartzler from Missouri, and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder from Kansas. All have reached the fall before their re-election years without the emergence of a serious challenger. That’s a huge confidence boost despite the embarrassment that Washington remains. Congressional job security remains ironically rock solid.

↓  Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones. This week’s crisis was the news that an aide left a loaded handgun in a Capitol restroom. Even with a supermajority, Jones couldn’t deliver the votes for the GOP’s signature tax cut. He wants to run for attorney general but has “not written for prime time” written all over him.

•  Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. The good news: He won’t face the Democrats’ best candidate next year. The bad news: He’s got a legit opponent in House Minority Leader Paul Davis, and that best candidate, Jill Docking, might be Davis’ running mate. Brownback is paying attention: He’s distancing himself from Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s voter-registration nightmare.

↓  Kobach. He now has two Democratic opponents for next year. The latest is former 12-year state Sen. Jean Schodorf, a Republican-turned-Democrat with the right profile. The other is Mission Hills businessman Randy Rolston, who’s got money. But a primary won’t do the Democrats any good.

↑  Nixon. He survives a veto session in Missouri by staving off big tax-cut override with a coalition that just might hang together next year, too. He remains tireless and politically potent. But his next move remains a mystery.

↓  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Free pass to the governor’s office in 2016 just expired. Republican Catherine Hanaway, the state’s first female House speaker, said this week she’s all but in the race.

To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send email to skraske@kcstar.com.

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