Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jay Nixon's Political Prospects

In mid-November, The State Column reported that Gov. Jay Nixon's (D-MO) re-election bid would get under way on November 30th:
The Nixon campaign announced Tuesday that the governor will hold his first 2012 fundraiser November 30. The campaign urged followers not to view it as a “kick off,” but rather an opportunity to get involved in the campaign.

“While it is true that his first official fund-raiser for the 2012 campaign is that day, Nixon won’t be officially announcing anything at that fund-raiser,” said Nixon’s campaign spokesman.
So, we are left to speculate what exactly Nixon's 2012 plans might be. The consensus opinion is that Nixon will run for re-election as Missouri's Governor, but there may be another option open to him. I think it's unlikely that he would challenge Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in the US Senate primary. They occupy similar places on the spectrum of Democrat candidates, so whoever won the primary would be damaged by that fight and struggle in the general election.

Still, Gov. Nixon is having a strong fundraising quarter. To run for higher office you need to raise a lot of money, and, as the Kansas City Star just reported:
Nixon spokesman Jack Cardetti said Friday the Democratic governor has raised more than $1 million since ramping up his efforts following the November general elections.
Nixon has some cash on hand from previous races and whatever is left of the $2.1 million he raised in the 2010 election cycle. Much of that money was spent to help Democrat sate house candidates. If Nixon can demonstrate that he's capable of raising large amounts of money, he might be positioned to take a shot at the presidency.

The Hill is reporting that erstwhile Presidential candidate and left-wing populist Ralph Nader is looking for someone to challenge President Obama in 2012 in the Democrat Primary (h/t Instapundit):
Perennial third-party candidate Ralph Nader predicted on Wednesday that President Obama's tax deal with Republicans will earn him a primary challenge in 2012.

Though he wouldn't rule out another presidential campaign himself, Nader, 76, said he hoped a new face would take up the progressive cause.
Unlike Claire McCaskill, I think Barack Obama occupies a very different place on the spectrum of Democrat candidates. Nixon appeals to the working class Democrats that tended to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democrat primary. He's in the mold of an Ike Skelton (D-MO) or similar blue dog Democrat. I don't know, perhaps the strength of Nixon's fundraising this quarter is a result of the November election—if you're a blue dog donor who else is left for you to give money to? And Nixon is reasonably popular even by the standards of a Republican pollster who found he had a 51% approval rating.

Jay Nixon's experience will present a problem. He's only been governor for two years; however, he was Attorney General before that. He will face criticism for his lack international experience. Some may argue that he should have canceled his trip to Taiwan before the Chinese consulate asked him to. Finalizing the Midwest Chinese Hub (that deal is what precipitated the suggestion from the consulate) would burnish the governor's international record.

Governor Nixon is also strong on the other "green" energy: nuclear power. Watch for news about a Callaway 2 reactor. I know that the Missouri House is looking at adding a second reactor at Callaway. I'm not sure if Ameren (the Missouri energy monopoly) wants it or not, but I'd assume that they do. Here he is commenting on the importance of nuclear power to Missouri's future.

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