Sly James and his curious endorsement of Ryan Silvey
The Kansas City Star
As you see here on Midwest Democracy, Kansas City Mayor Sly James has endorsed GOP Rep. Ryan Silvey for the Missouri Senate seat in Clay County.
This endorsement is a little unusual, for a handful of reasons.
First, it’s early. Silvey doesn’t have a primary opponent. He’ll face former Democratic state Rep. Sandra Reeves in the general election in November.
Second, James ran for mayor in a non-partisan election, but he’s a Democrat and so are many of his biggest supporters. So it’s a little strange to see him jumping in and endorsing a Republican candidate over a credible Democratic candidate.
Third, Silvey is controversial at the moment. As chair of the House budget committee, he’s been pushing to strip health-care benefits from needy blind Missourians. Also, Silvey has designated himself as the leading legislative antagonist of Gov. Jay Nixon.
Inside the capitol, Silvey gets a lot of attaboys for his continuous attempts to needle the Democratic governor. Some of the backslapping comes from Democrats. But outside of that insular political circle, a lot of what Silvey does comes across as petty and childish. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial recently designated Silvey “the undisputed king of the playpen” for the games he’s been playing with the Missouri budget.
James called Silvey “a fair consensus builder” who has “worked in a non-partisan manner for the good of our State.”
A year ago, few people would have disagreed with that assessment. But a lot of what Silvey has done this year as budget chair comes across as hyperpartisan and aimed at discrediting the governor.
Nixon is a bit partisan himself, and he may not be too happy about the Democratic mayor of Kansas City endorsing a Republican who’s become a thorn in his side. So I’m wondering if James did his research before making his seemingly premature endorsement.