The Buzz

TheChat: Claire McCaskill gets ready to rumble — for another Senate term


Good morning.

▪ “It is certainly my intention right now to seek re-election. I am confident that if I do a good enough job that the people of Missouri will give me one more term.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, announcing Monday that she will not run for governor in 2016.

Putting her seniority to work in the nation’s Capitol won out over another grueling campaign in swing-state Missouri. McCaskill said she planned to start fundraising for a 2018 Senate race this year. Meanwhile, her announcement opened the door to Attorney General Chris Koster to grab the Democratic nomination for governor.

▪ “In my second term as governor, I once again commit to helping to make Kansas the best state in America to raise a family and start a small business. They go together.” — Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday in his inauguration speech delivered in the state House of Representatives.

Brownback said the key to renewing America is boosting the status of the family. He said for too long, the U.S. has focused “on personal satisfaction and chance” and not “obigation and sacrifice.” That, he said, is not the right path forward. A more policy-nuanced speech will come on Thursday, the day the governor releases his next state budget.

▪ “I don’t see a path forward for Medicaid this cycle.” — Missouri House Speaker John Diehl.

This is one more sign that Medicaid expansion is probably a non-starter this session. Diehl said “instability” of the Affordable Care Act at the federal level because of the GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate is another reason to go slow on the issue.

▪ “The riot gear and the skirmish line would have looked familiar to him. And the tear gas too. And he would have been angered at the sight and the sound and the smell of an iron barricade surrounding 1,000 protesters.” — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster speculating on how Martin Luther King Jr. would have reacted to the Ferguson crisis last summer.

Koster, a Democrat, pointed out that King would have been 85 now had he lived. He also would’ve been angered at all the rifles aimed at peaceful protestors and the looting that marked some Ferguson rioting. A slew of top Missouri political leaders attended the 29th annual event Saturday at Harris-Stowe State University. Gov. Jay Nixon, who was so roundly criticized for his handling of Ferguson, was not among them.