Every so often, Gov. Jay Nixon taps some notable names to fill the nearly endless stream of posts in state government. Wednesday was no exception, as the Democratic governor picked several familiar faces from the St. Louis metro area for appointments.
For example, Nixon appointed Crestwood resident Jim Avery to fill a slot for the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. Avery, who served as a state representative for Crestwood and Sunset Hills in the 2000s, previously was the chairman of the state board of mediation. According to the governor's office, Avery will review administrative appeals of workers' compensation awards, unemployment compensation, crime victims' compensation and tort victims' compensation cases. His appointment will expire in 2016.
Nixon also appointed Ballwin resident David Kerr to the Missouri Technology Corporation. Kerr recently left his post as director of the Department of Economic Development. He was replaced by Jason Hall, an attorney with Bryan Cave who was previously on the MTC.
MISSOURI POLITICOS REACT TO SANTORUM SURGE
By now, political obsessives have become accustomed to the unexpected rise of former senator Rick Santorum. The former Republican senator from Pennsylvania came eight votes short of upending former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Iowa.
Like other events over the presidential election season, politicos utilized Twitter to react to the unprecedented result. The response included Sen. Jason Crowell, a Cape Girardeau Republican who's been a thorn in the side of some Missouri Republican leaders.
In a series of tweets, Crowell stated "Santorum hands stunning defeat to establishment politics and money."
"Santorum by any measure is Iowa's winner," Crowell tweeted. "Voters not money matters."
Other local politicos had a different view of the contest's result. Buddy Hardin, a St. Charles resident who supports Romney, tweeted that there is "no comparison between Mitt Romney and Santorum."
"Santorum talked about himself, Mitt talked about this country and his vision to beat Obama," Hardin wrote. "Santorum will be 4th in NH, then what? He will be done like all the other flavors of the week before him."
Dana Loesch, a CNN contributor from the St. Louis area, noted that others who won Iowa in the past didn't end up getting the nomination.
"For folks touting Romney win, ever hear of President Robertson? President Harkin? President Huckabee? Didn't think so," wrote Loesch, who has been critical of Romney's candidacy.
That tweet brought about a response from Hardin, who noted "so Mitt should have tried to lose?"
"Illogical," he added.
This back-and-forth amongst Missouri-based politicos was a small example of a potentially larger debate between those who see Romney as the best candidate to face President Barack Obama and others who are seeking a more conservative alternative.
The problem for the latter group is that potential candidates other than Romney—such as , , and Michele Bachmann have not met expectations. Whether Santorum can buck the trend remains to be seen.
Missouri's GOP caucuses, which will decide how the state's delegates are divided, will take place on March 17.
BRUNNER SLAMS RECESS APPOINTMENTS
Although most people's eyes were on the Iowa caucuses, Republicans have been throwing a fit over Obama's recess appointments.
The Democratic president appointed Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as several picks to the National Labor Relations Board. One candidate who panned the move was John Brunner, a Frontenac Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate.
On his Facebook page, Brunner stated Obama "is blatantly abusing his executive power by announcing a slew of recess appointments."
"By circumventing Congressional consent he's once again shown that his decision-making and priorities cannot be trusted to turn our economy around," Brunner stated.
Brunner is engaged in a primary for the GOP nomination with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman. The winner of the August contest will go on to face Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in what could be a very competitive contest.
Meanwhile, the Steelman campaign has publicized a letter Brunner was set to receive Thursday, urging Brunner to participate in a broadcast debate on KTRS Radio planned for January 10 featuring the GOP Senate candidates. "I am asking you to reconsider and participate in this first debate, so we give the voters an opportunity to compare our positions on the serious problems facing our country’s future,” Steelman wrote.
HUCKABEE TO SUPPORT WAGNER NEXT MONTH
Thursday, Ann Wagner announced a planned visit next month by former Arkansas Governor and GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, in support of Wagner's bid for Congress in the newly drawn 2nd district. Huckabee will appear at a February 2 rally. Tickets will be available Saturday at Wagner's campaign office in Manchester. Wagner is competing in a primary with St. Louis attorney Ed Martin.