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DEMOCRATIC MUSING ON LITE GUY

If Republican Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder steps aside to go to Congress, what happens next under the Capitol Dome in Jefferson City? Democrats say their governor, Jay Nixon, would appoint Kinder’s replacement. Of course, that appointee would be a Democrat  – which would leave State Auditor Tom Schweich as the sole statewide Republican officeholder in the state capital city. But which Democrat? Over at the subscriber-exclusive Missouri Scout daily political newsletter, indispensable analyst Dave Drebes says the buzz among Nixonites is about naming State Treasurer Clint Zweifel as lite guv because he is limited to two terms in his current job (he just won that second term last month). This could be a political relief valve against an anticipated Democratic 2016 gubernatorial primary between Zweifel and Attorney General Chris Koster. Drebes goes on with this insight: “It’s also a two-fer which Nixon likes because he then gets to appoint a new treasurer. What’s most ironic about these machinations though is how futile such plans are. Assuming Kinder remains the favorite, House and Senate Republicans are certain to act – probably with great speed – to write clear and forceful legislation taking the power to appoint the lieutenant governor away from Nixon.” Drebes says such lite gov legislation would go into law even if Nixon vetoes it because Republicans have enough votes to set aside the governor’s objection. And, Drebes acidly notes, Nixon does not have veto-proof Democratic legislative numbers partly because of the gov’s stinginess in helping his party’s candidates with funding.

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