One of the interesting dynamics of Missouri state politics is the pluck Democratic gubernatorial candidates display knowing full well if elected they will have to work with a General Assembly that is controlled by a supermajority of Republicans.
It’s been that way in Missouri for some time. It likely will be that way after the November elections.
Nicole Galloway is the latest Democratic challenger attempting to unseat a Republican governor, Mike Parson. Both chambers of the General Assembly are firmly in the grip of Republicans.
Galloway recognizes, if elected, it will be tough sledding to win legislative support for her agenda. Galloway is no different than countless other ambitious politicians who have faced the same predicament. It’s tough enough for a Democrat to win statewide office, it’s even tougher to get anything meaningful accomplished in a state that’s so solidly red.
But still they run. Most politicians don’t lack for resolve. It runs in their blood, along with ambition and aplomb. They figure they can overcome the opposition by building coalitions and forging compromise. No doubt, some have been successful in the same situation.
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, was able to compromise on some issues with the Republican-controlled Legislature to get some things accomplished. But mostly it was an eight-year struggle for Nixon, a seasoned government official, when he became governor. Republicans stonewalled him at nearly every turn.
Galloway doesn’t have the lengthy tenure in state government or the relationships Nixon had when he first ran for governor. She’s no rookie, having served as state auditor for the past five years — a position she was appointed to by Nixon. But she hasn’t made any major gaffes and has developed a reputation as a hard worker and a serious thinker. She’s not flashy, but that works to her advantage in the auditor’s position.
How she would fare as chief executive of the state with the Republicans holding a supermajority in the General Assembly is anyone’s guess, but it wouldn’t be easy. It would definitely test her resolve.
Even a governor of the same party as the lawmakers who control the Legislature can have problems in finding common ground. We just saw an example of it.
Gov. Parson’s anti-crime agenda in the recent special session wasn’t as successful as it could have been because different GOP factions in the House and Senate couldn’t come together. Sometimes members of the same party are incapable of working together on anything, even when their interests align.
Brokering compromise on needed legislation with an increasingly independent Legislature in Jefferson City requires experience and a special skill set these days. But no doubt it would be tougher for a Democratic governor in Missouri these days.