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PUB DEF is a non-partisan, independent political blog based in the City of St. Louis, Missouri. Our goal is to cast a critical eye on lawmakers, their policies, and those that have influence upon them, and to educate our readers about legislation and the political processes that affect our daily lives.


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Romney is Out [Updated]

By Antonio D. French

Filed Thursday, February 07, 2008 at 12:11 PM


Looks like John McCain is going to be the Republican nominee for President.

Saying he wanted to clear the way for Republicans to fight both Al-Qaeda and the Democrats, Mitt Romney, who had a less-than-super Tuesday, has just dropped out of the race.

Romney pictured with Governor Matt Blunt, a supporter of his failed presidential bid.

Governor Blunt today issued the following statement on Romney's announcement:
"Obviously I am disappointed because I believe Governor Mitt Romney was the best candidate to bring conservative change to Washington. Governor Romney is a great leader and a tremendous competitor. I am proud to have supported his campaign.

"I have tremendous respect for Senator McCain. He is a revered hero at our shared alma mater, and, in fact, he was the commencement speaker when I graduated the Naval Academy. He is held up as a model of heroic leadership in the face of tremendous adversity.

"I also admire Governor Huckabee. He is an honorable man and a great neighbor to the south. He has obviously captured the aspirations of many, and we share a large number of supporters.

"Melanie and I have enjoyed campaigning with Governor Romney and his wonderful wife Ann. They are both great friends and patriots and we wish them the very best for the future."


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Republicans Ready for Lincoln Days

By Antonio D. French

Starting tomorrow, Republicans from across Missouri will gather in Springfield for their annual Lincoln Days event.

All three announced Republican candidates for governor, current Governor Matt Blunt, federal, state and local elected officials.

U.S Congressman Kenny Hulshof, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and State Treasurer Sarah Steelman will meet with attendees and share their plans for building on positive accomplishments made through Republican leadership.

The event is from Friday, February 8, to Sunday, Feb. 10. A host of approximately 20 hospitality suites will be open to the public beginning at 9:00pm on Friday & Saturday evening.

Check the website at www.MoLincolnDays.com for a full schedule of events.

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GOP Slams "Disgraced Democrats"

By Antonio D. French

Filed Friday, January 11, 2008 at 10:05 AM

The Missouri Republican Party today slammed the Democrats for three elected officials' hig-profile run-ins with the law.

From the GOP press release:
In a stunning miscarriage of justice, Democrat Sen. Chuck Graham will not face the same mandatory revocation of his driver’s license that other Missourians would face after being convicted of drunken driving. Meanwhile, Democrat Rep. John Bowman is set to plead guilty in St. Louis on federal fraud charges while Democrat Jeff Smith is in court in Cooper County over his illegal entry to a Missouri casino.

“Missouri Democrats are a disgrace for violating the very laws they are sworn to uphold on behalf of hard-working Missourians. It is disturbing to most Missourians that an ever-increasing number of Democrat lawmakers are being exposed as lawbreakers,” said Paul Sloca, communications director for the Missouri Republican Party. “With their ongoing pattern of malfeasance, Missouri Democrats are the last people Missourians want to hear a lecture from regarding the behavior of elected officials. Even more disturbing is that the head of the Democrat Party, Jay Nixon, is the attorney general of the state.”

The Columbia Daily-Tribune reports that after a two-minute hearing, Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Carol England reinstated Graham’s license even though a mandatory suspension of his license is required because he refused a Breathalyzer test. Ironically, Graham serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee that hears bills proposing new Missouri laws.

“Obviously, there is one justice system for Democrats like Chuck Graham and another justice system for average, hard-working Missourians,” Sloca said.

Smith, who was charged last year for using a fellow Democrat lawmaker’s identification to enter the Isle of Capri casino in Boonville, is facing a hearing in Cooper County today on those charges. Democrat Joe Aull, who provided the identification to Smith, is scheduled for his hearing in February. Smith also serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Jeff Smith violated the law and now he must face the consequences, although Smith has spent months hiding behind his attorney’s legal maneuvering,” Sloca said.

The Turner Report today says that Bowman is going to change his plea from not guilty to guilty for his role in a bank and credit card fraud scheme in U.S. District Court. Bowman was indicted for agreeing to a scheme in which a bank executive took a lending program which provided money to small businesses by offering a $25,000 credit limit, then arranged with Bowman and others to apply for the loans, often with fictitious companies, in which the executive received kickbacks ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 on each loan. Incredibly, Bowman serves on the House Budget Committee which handles taxpayer dollars.

“John Bowman broke the public trust and must be punished as any other Missourian would be punished. Democrats must realize that they are not above the law,” Sloca said.

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GOP Debate: McCain Jabs Romney

By Antonio D. French

Filed Saturday, January 05, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Best line from tonight's Republican debate:

John McCain to Mitt Romney (referring to Romney's change in position on several issues over his political career, including abortion, stem cell research, and gay rights):

"I agree, you are the candidate of change."

More from TPM:

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VIDEO: Local Ron Paul Support Grows

By Gabe Bullard

Filed Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 12:36 AM

Around the city and county, signs supporting Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul have been popping up on roadsides and overpasses.

The signs aren't being put up by the official Ron Paul campaign, though. Paul, a Texas Congressman has several devoted, internet-based grassroots support teams. Online, the supporters flood YouTube, message boards, social networking sites and blogs with comments, graphics and videos supporting their favorite candidate. Offline, these street teams are less visible but they make their support known through signs, fliers and protests.

The St. Louis area Ron Paul support group started this past summer. The group has grown from 40 members to roughly 250. On top of that, nearby cities like Edwardsville and St. Charles have their own groups.

The essentially Libertarian Paul is attracting Internet support reminiscent of former Democratic candidate and current DNC chairman Howard Dean. According to the lead organizer for the St. Louis area Ron Paul group, Tim Blessing, Representative Paul has won over many local apathetic and first-time voters, like Blessing himself, who admittedly voted for Ralph Nader twice, just to support a third party.

"Apathy is a tremendous thing, I've found out," says Blessing. "It's pretty easy to cure once you find someone or something to inspire you."

Blessing sat down this week for an interview with PubDef.net to discuss how he came to lead the group and what he's doing to attract new members.

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PHOTOS: Jane Cunningham Kick-Off

By Gabe Bullard

Filed Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 11:50 AM

Last weekend, State Rep. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield) launched her campaign for the state Senate.

According to Jo Mannies at the Political Fix, former St. Louis Democratic state rep. Fred Kratky's "Facts 'O Life" band was there, as was State Senator Scott Rupp, State Rep. Allen Icet and Speaker-Elect Ron Richard.

The kick-off's host committee included the mayors of Chesterfield, Town & Country, Creve Coeur, Manchester, and Fenton.

Rep. Jane Cunningham with State Rep. candidate Robin Harris and Wanda Harris

Nicholas Britto, St. Louis City school board member Veronica O'Brien, Celeste Oakland, and Jack Hoffmann of Chesterfield.

Guests at the Stand by Me fundraiser, left to right around the table...Dr. Ben Mayes (closest), Joan Kehr, Kent Kehr, Donna Hearne, Mark Hearne, Bob Bacon (mostly hidden), Karen Bacon and Ellen Mayes.

Chesterfield Township Republican Committeeman Paul Matteucci, Alicia Matteucci and Donna Hearne.

Carl and Debbie Bearden.

Cunningham campaign manager Kit Crancer with Molly Tallarico, who represents the University of Missouri.

Photos from the Cunningham campaign

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Bond Announces Political Staffing

By Antonio D. French

Filed Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 4:24 PM

U.S. Senator Kit Bond announced today that Jason Van Eaton and Matt Roney will be heading up his 2008 political operations. The senior Republican is not up for re-election until 2010, but he appears to be preparing to take a leading role in Republican campaigns for president, governor, and other statewide offices.

From the press release:
COLUMBIA, MO – As this session of Congress nears an end, U.S. Senator Kit Bond today announced key staff restructuring in his personal and political operations. State Director, Jason Van Eaton, and Director for the Western Missouri District, Matt Roney, will move over to the political arm of Bond's operation.

"Jason and Matt have been essential to my official office operations. They are trusted members of my staff and I look forward to continue working with them on our political efforts in a very important election cycle," said Bond.
More on Eaton and Roney:
W. Jason Van Eaton was born and raised in Southwest Missouri. Jason has served in numerous capacities for Bond, most recently serving as Bond's State Director for over 7 years. Jason has also focused his efforts on appropriations projects, transportation policy, infrastructure, education, economic development, as well as several major development projects. On the political front, Jason worked on his first campaign in 1994 when John Ashcroft was running for the U.S. Senate. In 1998, Jason served as a Regional Director for Bond's reelection. During the 2000 election cycle, he was the Campaign Manager for now U.S. Congressman Todd Akin in his first run for Congress. Again in 2004 he served as Campaign Manager, this time, for Bond's reelection.

Matthew L. Roney was born and raised in greater Kansas City, Missouri. Matt has served in numerous capacities for Bond, most recently serving as Director for the Western Missouri District for the last 6 years. Duties included managing a district staff, coordinating appropriations requests, and coordinating governmental involvement in key economic development projects. Matt also served as Political Director for Senator Bond's successful reelection in 2004.

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Dogan Raises Some Dough

By Antonio D. French

Filed Tuesday, October 09, 2007 at 7:08 AM

Shamed Dogan, Republican candidate for State Representative in Missouri's 88th District, announced Monday that his 3rd quarter financial report will show that he raised over $12,000 from 125 different contributors, including State Reps Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield), Tim Jones (R-Eureka) and Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood); four of Ballwin's eight Aldermen—Tim Pogue, Jim Robinson, Jane Suozzi and Jimmy Terbrock; St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger; St. Louis City Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett; and Ferguson Alderman James Knowles.

From the press release:
"I appreciate the help I've received from my family, friends, and concerned citizens who share my vision for a smaller, better Missouri government," Dogan said. "I am also very thankful to Jim Talent for being a supporter and a role model."

Dogan also received contributions from prominent Republicans including former State Rep. Brent Evans; Ray Wagner of Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Missouri Federation of Young Republicans Chair Monica Durrwachter; St. Louis County Republican Committeeman Kurt Witzel; and St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Dwight Billingsly.
Here's our earlier video from Shamed Dogan's campaign kick-off in July:

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GOP Sues Ethics Commission

By Antonio D. French

Filed Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at 7:09 AM

The Missouri Republican Party and State Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-Willard) filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Missouri Ethics Commission for violating of the Sunshine Law when the commission met earlier this month to discuss campaign finance contributions.

The lawsuit filed in Cole County Circuit Court alleges that the Ethics Commission violated the Sunshine Law on September 11 by holding a closed meeting to discuss matters that its notice, tentative agenda and approved agenda stated would be discussed in open meeting, by closing a meeting without valid legal reasons and by holding a closed session that was not limited to the matters that could be discussed in closed meeting. The lawsuit also says the commission and commissioners “knowingly” and “purposely” violated the Sunshine Law by discussing policy matters which should have been discussed openly with the public having an opportunity to comment.

The Missouri Republican Party is seeking a temporary restraining order followed by preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the Ethics Commission and its Commissioners and its agents from implementing any decision made in connection with the meeting and is seeking a court order voiding all actions taken by the Ethics Commission at the meeting and any actions taken by staff of the Ethics Commission pursuant to directions received at that meeting.

“The Missouri Ethics Commission blatantly violated the Sunshine Law by meeting in secret and denying Missourians their right to be informed about a significant public policy decision that affects the lives of thousands of contributors and candidates. The MEC’s actions run contrary to the notion of open government and that is why Missouri Republicans have stepped up and filed this lawsuit,” said Jared Craighead, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.

“The Ethics Commission’s violation of the Sunshine Law tarnishes a campaign finance system already damaged by Jay Nixon’s collusion to tank the defense of a new law that injected transparency into the system.”

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Richard to be Next Speaker [Updated]

By Antonio D. French

Filed Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 10:24 PM

The Associated Press is reporting that Missouri House Republicans have chosen Ron Richard to take over the chamber's top position in 2009 — assuming he wins re-election to the House, Republicans hold onto power, and new lawmakers abide by the wishes of their predecessors.

From the AP:
Those numerous assumptions highlight the novelty of the House Republicans' decision to elect a speaker-designee.

Richard will serve in training for the next 16 months under House Speaker Rod Jetton, then still would have to officially be elected by the full House in January 2009.

Richard, of Joplin, defeated suburban St. Louis Representative Allen Icet in a secret vote by House Republicans.

The GOP currently holds a 90-70 majority over House Democrats, with three vacancies.
UPDATE: The other new leaders are:

Senate Assistant Floor Leader - Sen. Jack Goodman
Senate Caucus Leader - Sen. Luann Ridgeway
House Floor Leader - Rep. Steven Tilley
House Pro Tem - Rep. Brian Pratt

UPDATE 2: A statement from Gov. Matt Blunt:
“I congratulate Sen. Jack Goodman, Sen. Luann Ridgeway, Rep. Bryan Pratt and Rep. Steven Tilley on their new leadership positions in their respective chambers. I also congratulate Rep. Ron Richards and wish him well in his leadership role.

“I look forward to working with the new leaders in both chambers in the coming year to continue to build on our commitment to increasing funding for education, enforcing the laws against illegal immigration, protecting Missouri children from Internet predators and building on a strong economic climate that has helped Missourians create nearly 85,000 new jobs since January 2005. I believe that every Missourian deserves the opportunity to have a good job, raise a family, and to pursue their dreams.

“Again I look forward to working with the House and Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle to put the Missourians’ best interests ahead of partisan politics and to put Missouri’s families first.”

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By Antonio D. French

Filed Monday, August 13, 2007 at 8:16 AM

The White House has announced that controversial Presidential aide Karl Rove has resigned.

Rove said his resignation, which he submitted to President George W. Bush on Friday, was not forced. He said when he leaves the White House at the end of August he plans to spend his time writing a book and teaching.

As long as he gives up rapping...

CNN reports that Rove and Bush are expected to speak before boarding Marine One at the White House at 10:35 a.m. Bush will head to his Crawford, Texas, ranch where he will remain for the rest of the week.

UPDATE: Maybe he was forced out...

This is obviously a fake photo. But a damn funny one!

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GOP: Gimme My Money Back!

By Antonio D. French

Filed Wednesday, August 08, 2007 at 9:45 AM

Still fuming over Senator Chris Koster's defection to the blue team, the Missouri Republican Party today issued a statement calling on the former GOP senate leader to return the hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised as a Republican.

"The Missouri Republican Party’s telephone lines in Jefferson City have been ringing off-the hook since Koster turned his back on Republicans who not only gave their money to Koster but also sacrificed their time and energy on his behalf over the years," read the statement.

"The hard working people of Cass County have been betrayed by Chris Koster and we are demanding that he return our hard-earned money so that it can used to support real Republicans instead of being used by a charlatan and turncoat like this disgrace of a senator," said Ronald Johnson, the Cass County Republican Committee chairman who's committee has donated over $4,000 to Koster over the years.

"Koster smashed a solemn trust and if he has one shred of decency or moral character left, then he should return every penny he took from us," he continued.

The MRP also continues to call on Koster to resign his Senate seat. GOP Communications Director Paul Sloca said Koster should run as a Democrat in a special election.

"The voters of the 31st Senatorial District have a right to expect him to resign his seat," said Sloca.

"While Koster resumes accepting donations from his liberal friends in Big Labor and among his fellow trial attorneys, his once loyal and hard-working Republican supporters are being left out in the cold both financially and politically."

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Local Running for President — Again

By Antonio D. French

Filed Monday, June 25, 2007 at 12:28 PM

"Crack-smoking Republicans" beware. A local entrepreneur is tossing his hat in the Presidential primaries once again. But this time, ex-Republican Blake Ashby is targeting his own.

Ashby, the owner of such hip spots as the Delmar Restaurant and Lounge and Mangia (co-owner) who ran for President in 2004, is now running as an independent. He says he's been a Republican since high school, but the W years have taken his party in a direction he cannot follow. Instead, he's calling on fellow frustrated fiscal conservatives to rebel against the "crackheads" he says are ruining the once Grand Ol' Party.

PubDef produced this video for Ashby and will be following his campaign over the next year as he takes his message across America.

To learn how to help Ashby rid the nation of "Crack-smoking Republicans", contact campaign coordinator Mandy Kadlec.

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GOP Races: Black Republicans Lose

By Antonio D. French

Filed Wednesday, August 09, 2006 at 8:38 AM

Republican Leslie Farr has lost his bid to get his party's nomination for a second run against Congressman Lacy Clay in the 1st District. Mark J. Byrne easily defeated Farr, who had recently become at odds with several leaders of his party, with 73% of the vote to Farr's 15%.

State Rep. Sherman Parker, who had been the State House's sole black Republican, has lost his bid against incumbent Congressman Todd Akin in the 2nd District. Parker's candidacy was always considered a longshot at best, but an arrest just a week before the election made his victory nearly impossible. Parker got just 12% of the vote yesterday.


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GOP launches Anti-McCaskill website

By Antonio D. French

Filed Monday, May 01, 2006 at 8:23 AM

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched a website aimed at keeping up a steady stream of attacks on Missouri Auditor and U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill.

McCaskill is maintaining a small lead in the polls over Sen. Jim Talent, who does not appear to be directly linked to this attack site.

CluelessClaire.com attacks statements made by the Auditor on subjects ranging from gay rights and abortion to wiretapping and the Iraq War.

The NRSC has launched similar webites attacking other Democrats. BobsBaggage.com attacks New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. TheReidWorld.com attacks Sen. Harry Reid. FancyFord.com attacks Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.

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Republicans praise ousted Caucus chair

By Antonio D. French

Filed Friday, April 14, 2006 at 3:35 PM

RightMissouri.com, a Republican blog, has praised the former chair and vice-chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus for their support of a bill that would trade tax credits for the funding private education.

"Huge kudos go out to State Reps. Ted 'Kick Their Butts' Hoskins and Rodney Hubbard -- both St. Louis Dems and the only Dems in Missouri with an ounce of principle and conviction," said the blog.

PUB DEF was the first to report yesterday that the Black Caucus, by a vote of 11-3, voted Hoskins out of its chairmanship. Hoskins, who sources say chose not to attend the meeting where the vote took place, was replaced by State Rep. John Bowman. Hubbard resigned his vice-chairmanship before a vote could be taken to remove him. He was replaced by State Rep. Connie Johnson.

The blog also quotes an article in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Hoskins commented only briefly Thursday, saying that he has decided to leave the caucus entirely. 'They don't do nothing, so I won't be missing anything,' he said."

Several members of the Black Caucus have told PUB DEF that the change in leadership is the best thing that could have happened for the group. They said that Hoskins' leadership style and questionable fundraising tactics had tarnished the group's reputation and steered them in a direction away from their primary mission.

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