A Better St. Louis. Powered by Journalism.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Email

On the Trail: If Lamping stands aside, plenty of Republicans are ready to stand up

In Elections

3:58 am on Mon, 07.08.13

When it comes to lengthy commutes, state Sen. John Lamping’s may take the cake.

Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, is mulling whether to run for another term in the Missouri Senate. If he decides against re-election, there's a surplus of potential candidates to run for the GOP nomination.
Missouri Senate
Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, is mulling whether to run for another term in the Missouri Senate. If he decides against re-election, plenty of potential candidates may run for the GOP nomination.

The Ladue Republican represents a swath of central and eastern St. Louis County in the Missouri Senate – a distinction he earned after a very narrow victory in 2010 over Democrat Barbara Fraser. But his family lives in Kansas City, mainly because his daughter is training to become an elite gymnast.

Why is this important? Besides the possibility of a Missouri athlete nabbing a gold medal, Lamping said during a recent Politically Speaking podcast that this arrangement might stop him from running for a second term. Because he must stay in St. Louis County for his day job during the week, Lamping says he spends a lot of time crisscrossing the state.

“The decision we’re going to make as a family will happen in the fall when we know where our family’s likely to live in 2014 and 2015,” Lamping said. “If I were deciding today, my family would be living in the Kansas City area for the next few years. And that’s it.”

Lamping decision is a big one: His state Senate district is one of the few in the state that’ll be competitive next year. And the 24th District seat could be one of the few opportunities for Democrats to gain ground in the Missouri Senate, which may explain part of the enthusiasm about state Rep. Jill Schupp’s entry into the contest.

If Lamping decides not to run, Republicans have a relatively deep bench from the world of politics and business -- so deep, in fact, that it's possible there could be a primary for the race.

John Diehl
John Diehl
Jane Cunningham
Jane Cunningham

Worth noting on the onset: House Majority Leader John Diehl, R-Town and Country, is running for speaker of the House and is unlikely to pursue a state Senate bid. And former Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, lives just outside of the 24th District, but most likely couldn't move in time to meet a constitutional deadline.

With that in mind, here are some hypothetical Republican candidates who could match up against Schupp -- or any other Democratic opponent -- next year:

Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Town and Country

Colleen Wasinger
Colleen Wasinger

Pros: Wasigner represent a big chunk of the 24th District on the St. Louis County Council, including Town and Country, Chesterfield and Frontenac. An attorney and former Town and Country alderman, Wasigner sailed to re-election in recent years – albeit in a district that’s far more Republican-leaning.

With Republicans unlikely to capture the county council any time soon, the firmly GOP Senate may be an enticing option for Wasinger.

Cons: Since Wasinger is up for re-election next year, she would have to decide whether to run for a relatively safe county council seat or roll the dice in more competitive terrain. It should also be noted that Lamping defeated a member of the county council – Fraser – in 2010, which at least in that case showed that the office isn't an automatic stepping stone.

Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country

Sue Allen
Sue Allen

Pros: Allen’s state House district also encompasses Town and Country. Historically, it has been easier for a member of the Missouri House to make the transition into the Missouri Senate. After all, 26 out of that chamber’s 34 members have some prior House experience.

Cons: Like Wasinger, Allen would be giving up a safe GOP seat – a committee chairmanship – for a tougher contest. 

Former Rep. Cole McNary, R-Chesterfield

Cole McNary
Cole McNary

Pros: McNary served two terms in the Missouri House before unsuccessfully challenging state Treasurer Clint Zweifel. While McNary came up short, he performed better than the Republican nominees for U.S. Senate, governor or attorney general.

It probably doesn’t hurt that his father – former St. Louis County Executive Gene McNary – is also well known in the 24th District.

Cons: McNary lost decisively to Cunningham in a race for the Monarch Fire Board. It's possible that loss may have dampened his political future.

Bill Corrigan

Bill Corrigan
Bill Corrigan

Pros: Lamping told the Creve Coeur Patch earlier this year that if he didn’t run again, his GOP replacement could be somebody from outside the state legislature. Republicans could have an advantage with a private sector candidate, since businesspeople frequently are able to fund their own campaigns with personal money. And they don't have to defend a voting record.

Corrigan would fit that mold. The Ladue resident's accomplished career as an attorney includes a stint as president of the Missouri Bar Association. Unlike other private sector candidates, Corrigan already ran in a competitive contest in 2010 when he squared off against St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. While he lost that race, Corrigan put up a better performance than any other GOP contender for that office in recent years.

Cons: Corrigan would effectively have to choose between an executive office with a whole lot of power or a legislative post far from St. Louis County with potentially less influence. It's highly possible that a state Senate seat may not be an enticing prospect in 2014.

Dave (or Suzie) Spence

Dave Spence
Dave Spence

Pros: Spence lost decisively to Gov. Jay Nixon but may fare better in a contest without an incumbent or a big name recognition advantage. Spence could potentially throw his own money into the race.

But some observers have thrown out Spence’s wife, Suzie, as a possible candidate. Some Republicans were especially impressed by her stumping ability on the campaign trail. And with a master’s degree in education and a long record as a volunteer in regional schools, Suzie Spence could provide a fairly compelling education-centric message to voters.

Cons: Dave Spence’s “cons” are similar to Corrigan’s. After running for an executive office, would he be interested in running for a less powerful state legislative post? And it’s an open question whether Suzie Spence is at all interested in running for public office herself.

John Brunner

John Brunner
John Brunner

Pros: After falling short in last year’s GOP U.S. Senate primary, Brunner is remaining active and involved in Missouri politics. If Brunner ran for the state Senate, he could almost assuredly fund himself again. Given that some of the top political operatives in the state helped him out last year, he could have a top-flight organization for what's sure to be a tough contest.

Cons: Brunner ran for a high-profile national office, so it’s unknown whether he would want to run for a state-level legislative post. And Brunner also lost to former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin in last year's primary despite throwing millions of his money into the contest. While candidates have bounced back after disappointing showings before, Brunner will have to step up his game beyond his 2012 performance.

John Lamping

John Lamping
John Lamping

It would be presumptous to include a list of 24th District candidates without Lamping – who could just as well decide to run for another term.

His re-election bid would not be a cakewalk. When this writer described the 24th District as a “swing” seat, Lamping disagreed and said, “it’s a Democratic district that happens to be held by a Republican.”

Lamping’s taken some fairly conservative stances on Medicaid expansion and insurance coverage for contraception that may rile some of the district’s Democratic voters. He may also get a bit of flack for filibustering a 1-cent sales tax increase for transportation, although it should be noted that Schupp voted against that measure as well.

But the fact remains that Lamping won in 2010 in a district that was much more Democratic-leaning. He’ll have the power of incumbency to tout his achievements. And after raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2010, he could likely piece together the financial resources to compete for re-election.

“I enjoy what I’m doing. I appreciate the people that I represent,” Lamping said. “But in my family, we go God, family and country in that order. And my family’s not with me in St. Louis County.”

On the Trail, a weekly column, weaves together some of the intriguing threads from the world of Missouri politics.

No Comments

Join The Beacon

When you register with the Beacon, you can save your searches as news alerts, rsvp for events, manage your donations and receive news and updates from the Beacon team.

Register Now

Already a Member

Getting around the new site

Take a look at our tutorials to help you get the hang of the new site.

Most Discussed Articles By Beacon Members

Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation

7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12

Meeting in St. Louis next week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will have its first opportunity as an assembled group to consider what to do after the Vatican issued a mandate for change this spring. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The 'free' Zoo

In Commentary

7:51 am on Tue, 05.22.12

When a family of four goes to the St. Louis Zoo, they can be forgiven for not knowing it will cost them $60, $72 if they park. If they can't pay, the alternative is to tell the kids they can't do what kids do at the zoo.

Featured Articles

House sends Boeing incentive bill to Nixon

In Economy

12:55 pm on Fri, 12.06.13

The Missouri House easily passed legislation aimed at attracting production of the 777x, a move that wraps up a legislative special session that saw little suspense and few surprises. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who has strongly supported the legislation.

Gandhi inspired Mandela on South Africa's 'Long Road to Freedom'

In World

10:10 am on Fri, 12.06.13

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a towering moral figure of the 20th century -- along with Mahatma Gandhi. It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa. It was when Mandela won election as South Africa’s first black president that Gandhi's influence became apparent.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Encore: Dead before death

In Performing Arts

12:58 am on Fri, 12.06.13

For years , the author was certain he would never come to appreciate The Grateful Dead, let alone be a Deadhead. But little by little, he's come around. He talks about his conversion and relates a real evolution: by a musician who went on to play with the Schwag, a Dead cover band.

Featured Articles

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

In Region

4:57 pm on Tue, 12.03.13

The attorney has founded Arch Grants, which brings together nonprofit philanthropy and commercially viable opportunitiesto fund new business startups, and Mentor St. Louis, which finds adult mentors for elementary students in the St. Louis Public School System. He was the driving force behind the state's historic tax credit program.

BioGenerator sets open house to celebrate new digs for entrepreneurs-in-residence

In InnovationSTL

12:29 pm on Tue, 11.12.13

BioSTL's BioGenerator organization is on the move as its entrepreneurs-in-residence find a new home in 4,300 square feet of office and conference space in an old automobile factory. The blossoming program, which helps BioGenerator's portfolio companies to get off the ground, continues to pay dividends within the growing biotech community.

Ambassadors aim to soften rough landing for St. Louis immigrants

In InnovationSTL

6:34 am on Fri, 11.08.13

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is set to hold an orientation for its new ambassadors -- dozens of foreign and native-born volunteers who aim to help make the community a more welcoming place for those from other nations. Participants will be expected to do everything from visiting local restaurants serving international cuisine to having dinner with an immigrant to the area.

Recent Articles

More Articles

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity are on the rise in St. Louis, especially in bioscience, technology and alternative energy. The Beacon's InnovationSTL section focuses on the people who are part of this wave, what they're doing and how this is shaping our future. To many St. Louisans, this wave is not yet visible. InnovationSTL aims to change that. We welcome you to share your knowledge, learn more about this vibrant trend and discuss its impact.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Featured Articles

Featured Events:

More About The Beacon Home