20 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by thesmallbusinessprophet
Patch Instagram photo by thesmallbusinessprophet

Patch Political Potpourri: Pundits Skeptical of Gingrich Rise

Former House Speaker gains in the polls as alternatives to Romney falter.

It seems that with each passing week, there’s a new main challenger to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s front-runner status.

First it was Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota). Then it was . And later, it was . For various reasons, all of these candidates after

This week is almost déjà vu all over again, so to speak, with the case of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. After suffering some setbacks during the early portions of his campaign, Gingrich has seen a rise in his poll numbers after other candidates, like Cain and Perry, have faltered.

But with increased attention comes increased scrutiny, such as a report that Gingrich’s consulting firm received money from Freddie Mac. And the herky-jerky pace of the GOP race led Stuart Rothenberg, whose analysis , to declare “I don’t know what the heck is going to happen in the Republican race.”

“The large number of debates has given the former Speaker the opportunity to showcase his skills,” Rothenberg wrote. “At his best, his analytical approach and knowledge of history allows him to make big points that appeal to conservative viewers. And, of course, you can’t go wrong by beating up the national media at a Republican debate, as Gingrich has been doing.”

“But Gingrich’s flaws are likely to receive attention once again, now that he has re-emerged from obscurity in the GOP race,” he added. "The media (and his GOP adversaries) ignored him when he was irrelevant, but they will focus on him now that he seems to be a factor.”

The New York Times’ Nate Silver – who runs the popular prognostication blog Five Thirty Eight— wrote earlier in the month that Gingrich has “major obstacles” to wrestling the nomination away. He cited Gingirch’s lack of endorsements, his personal liabilities and electability and his subpar fundraising numbers.

“If Republican voters decide that they really don’t want to nominate Mitt Romney, Mr. Gingrich could be the last man standing,” Silver wrote. “But even if Mr. Gingrich continues to gain in the polls, he will have some major weaknesses to overcome.”

For historical buffs, such as Gingrich, who has a doctorate in history, James K. Polk is the only former House Speaker to become president. Some, such as Missourian Champ Clark and Kentuckian Henry Clay, came close, but couldn’t make it to the finish line.

U.S. SENATE RACE STILL A “TOSS-UP”

Speaking of prognostication, most of the aforementioned organizations classify the re-election effort of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) as a toss-up.

A scan of three campaign-watching sites, which include the Rothenberg Report, the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, show this designation.

SCHOELLER REELS IN HOUSE BACKING

A GOP candidate for secretary of state touting a bevy of endorsements from state House members.

House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller (R-Willard), announced his candidacy for the statewide office earlier this fall. And earlier this week, his campaign released endorsements from 65 Republican House members.

A number of St. Louis-area lawmakers are on that list, including House Majority Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka), Rep. Cloria Brown (R-South St. Louis County), Rep. Cole McNary (R-Chesterfield), Rep. Sue Allen (R-Town and Country) and Rep. Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood).

“I am humbled by the overwhelming support I have received from my fellow conservative Republicans, who have seen me working tirelessly to defend our conservative values,” Schoeller said in a statement.  “As Secretary of State, I will continue to defend the sacred institutions that make our country great; fair elections and free enterprise.”

Senators Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville) and Bill Stouffer (R-Napton) are also running for the position. Rep. Jason Kander, a Kansas City Democrat who has scooped up his own share of endorsements, also announced his candidacy.

By the way, it’s been a busy week so far for statewide candidacy announcements. St. Louis County businessman Chris McKee, the son of St. Charles developer Paul McKee, sent out a press release stating he would run for lieutenant governor.

DIECKHAUS OFFICIALLY TAKES THE HELM

, state Rep. Scott Dieckhaus (R-Washington) officially was named interim executive director of the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC).

“Scott is a hard working, extremely dedicated and very capable individual who knows firsthand the value of having a well run and effective campaign committee,” said Jones, the Eureka lawmaker who is the chairman of the HRCC. “He has been an integral member of the team since he first came on board in 2008 and he will continue to be in his new position as Interim Executive Director.”

The HRCC provides assistance, including financial support and advertisements, to Republican state House candidates during election cycles.

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