The Buzz

Schools, women, taxes, and The Boss: Trailwatch for Sept. 30

Chris Koster and Eric Greitens
Chris Koster and Eric Greitens

The U.S. House race in Kansas rises to the top of the Trailwatch hit parade this week. With less than six weeks to go, it appears to be the only competitive House race in the region.

But we haven’t lost sight of Missouri. Eric Greitens and Chris Koster take part in a forum Friday, in Branson, followed by a similar exchange between Jason Kander amd Roy Blunt. The Buzz will be there! We’ll have a full wrap-up Friday afternoon.

And Greitens and Koster went to war over women and taxes this week. More below.

To the trail...


Democrats said they wanted to make this a competitive race, and they’ve put dollars behind the pledge. More than a month out the Jay Sidie campaign is trying to tie Kevin Yoder to Sam Brownback, and cuts in education:

It will be interesting to see if this strategy works. Brownback is stunningly unpopular in the Kansas 3rd District, and Yoder did serve in the Kansas legislature. But Yoder and Brownback never served together — Yoder ran for Congress in 2010, the same year Brownback ran for governor. Both won, and both took office in January 2011: Yoder in D.C., Brownback in Topeka.

That’s why the Sidie ad is called “Genesis.” Democrats claim Yoder and other Republicans “laid the groundwork” for later school spending cuts.

Seems like a stretch.

The most significant tax and spending cuts Kansans are most angry about came during Brownback’s watch, when Yoder was long gone. So we’ll see.

Sidie is on much firmer ground when he criticizes Yoder’s votes on education issues as a member of Congress. Take a look at this Yoder commercial, claiming credit for education spending:

We’re seeing a bit of this from Sen. Roy Blunt’s campaign, too: an appeal to bipartisanship. Former Rep. Dennis Moore used to make the same case, even though he almost always voted with the Democratic caucus.

Remember: Kevin Yoder has been a reliably conservative vote in the House, and has voted for budgets that reduce federal spending for domestic programs. The political action committee for the conservative Heritage Foundation rates Yoder at 86 percent, trailing only Rep. Tim Huelskamp in the state. Heritage’s PAC thinks Yoder is to the right of Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Mike Pompeo, and both Kansas U.S. Senators.

Yoder is up with this:

Sidie’s folks don’t dispute the record. But they point out not voting in local elections is a lesser offense than cutting school spending as a member of the state legislature. “The Yoder-Brownback agenda has been a disaster for Kansas families and we’re not going to be shy about exposing that fact,” a spokesman said.


The treatment of women became a major issue in the race this week.

Eric Greitens’ campaign held a news conference in suburban St. Louis to complain about Chris Koster’s record on women’s issues. Democrats held a newser to complain about the man in a Greitens ad.

It turns out the guy in the ad has a rather interesting, and some would suggested checkered, history, including apparent jokes about rape:

Greitens hammered Koster for Koster’s statement opposing term limits. The Greitens campaign also chuckled about a lobbyist’s gift of Bruce Springsteen tickets to Koster in 2008.

Koster released four years of tax returns. They seem pretty routine to us. Koster made almost $125,000 from Eagle Funds II, a private equity fund. “We are focused on partnering with management or other private equity investors to supply growth and change of control capital to middle market businesses,” the fund says. Click here for a list of companies in the portfolio.

Nothing as of Thursday afternoon from Greitens on his income taxes.

A Republican legislator criticized Greitens for disparaging the General Assembly.

Greitens’ team released a poll showing Koster up three points. Hey, the campaign said — that’s within the margin of error.


Harry Reid is mad at Roy Blunt.

Americans for Prosperty-Missouri says it’s contacted 700,000 voters to convince them to vote for Blunt. Third-party cash is really pouring into the state, as the race stays close.

Sarah Steelman will chair the “Job Creators for Roy” coalition.

Missouri Republicans criticized Kander for “failure to investigate” the Voter Participation Center, which sent some bad information about Missouri voting rules.


Josh Hawley announced endorsements from three dozen prosecutors and sheriffs, almost all from rural areas.

Jake Zimmerman, who lost the primary race for attorney general, urged a vote for the winner of the Democratic race, Teresa Hensley.