The Buzz

TheChat: Ann Wagner eying possible challenge to Claire McCaskill in 2018


Good morning.

▪ ▪ “She’s immensely beatable.” — Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner speaking about incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill who’s next on the ballot in 2018.

Republicans are starting to comment on the possibility that Wagner will challenge McCaskill, who once again said she’s running for re-election. McCaskill expects several members of the state’s GOP congressional delegation to run in the GOP primary. “The more the merrier. I welcome them all,” McCaskill said.

▪ “I don’t think zero is going to make it through this chamber.” — Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder, a Lake St. Louis Republican, on why he’s willing to back a $40 gift limit over a total gift ban.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican, pointed out that under a $40 gift limit, “Basically this means that one lobbyist could take us to breakfast. Another lobbyist could take us to lunch. Another lobbyist could take us to supper. Another lobbyist could take us for a midnight snack.” The state Senate gave preliminary approval to a $40 spending cap per occasion on lobbyist gifts for state lawmakers. Onder’s point: Some type of ban is better than nothing at all. (link via

▪ “We’re violating federal tax law by not issuing 1099s. Wwe’re violating the state’s own laws relating to cash disbursements. We’re doing it in secret with piles and piles and piles of cash – hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring out of our state in envelopes.” — Missouri state Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, a Kansas City Democrat, on the state’s practice of breaking state and federal laws to protect the identities of those involved in state-sanctioned executions.

An audit found execution team members, who are paid in cash, weren’t being given tax forms to report that payment. Language to require that tax forms be issued was stripped out of the final budget proposal.

▪ “There’s a commitment to fund our mental hospitals.” — Kansas state Sen. Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, on legislative approval of an additional $17 million to the state’s two mental hospitals, partly for employee pay raises and to offset lost federal funds.

With job vacancies popping up regularly because of low pay, lawmakers were feeling a lot of pressure to respond.