The 2014 political season should begin to heat up just as the summer of 2013 is getting started.
Next week, Creve Coeur State Rep. Jill Schupp (D) will hold a kickoff event for her campaign to run for the 24th State Senate seat held by Republican John Lamping.
Word of Schupp’s interest in the seat has apparently been an open secret for some time in state political circles, but she only just this week filed papers with the Missouri Ethics Commission to form a campaign committee.
"Democrats have said we have to focus on incrementally getting some seats back," she said late Thursday of the GOP supermajority in the State Senate. Republicans also hold the same advantage in the House.
Schupp accused Lamping of not reflecting the values of the 24th district, citing his support for a tax reform bill vetoed by Governor Nixon that she said would have brought tax increases. She also pointed to his criticism of Common Core standards in K-12 education.
Attorney General Chris Koster, widely viewed as running for Governor in 2016 is slated to appear at Schupp’s launch event planned for next Thursday night at Frontenac Grill, according to The St. Louis Beacon.
“She’s a good person to represent that party,” Lamping said Thursday, though not surprisingly adding that they “differ greatly on the issues.”
Lamping himself said he would make a decision no later than Thanksgiving about his own plans. His daughter has been training as an elite-level gymnast in Blue Springs, MO since May 2011 in the same gym that’s home to four members of Team USA’s National squad, a development that has seen his family move out there. It forces him to split time between the Kansas City area, working in the financial industry in Clayton, and the legislative session in Jefferson City. He described it as a "500 mile triangle."
If his daughter stays on an upward current trajectory as a gymnast, he said he’s not likely to run for re-election.
Lamping has become something of a power player in state GOP politics in recent months, as the party, which has super-majorities in the legislative branch, has largely struggled when it comes to winning statewide races in recent cycles.
He is chairing State Auditor Tom Schweich’s re-election campaign and knows that House Speaker Tim Jones and Boone County-area State Senator Kurt Schaeffer have eyes on statewide office, most likely the Attorney General’s post.
Lamping said “the last thing I want to be doing” is running for office if his daughter’s in a position to be in Rio for the 2016 Olympics, and that the thought of being on a statewide ballot was “not a likely outcome.”
Lamping wondered if Schupp may face a primary fight in the race, and speculated that if he to opt against a re-election, the Republican candidate would come from outside the state legislature.
For her part, Schupp said she's spoken to everyone who might be considering a run and that the feedback urged her to run. She also said she has the backing of Secretary of State Jason Kander, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.