ST. LOUIS–Shamed Dogan, a former Missouri State Representative from Ballwin who unexpectedly found himself as an unwitting player in one of the strangest political campaigns in recent memory in 2022, has found a new line of work that has eyes on a ballot for 2024.

But not for himself.

Dogan announced on KTRS Radio Friday morning that he’s joined an effort to bring what’s known as “Approval Voting” to Missouri, if voters approve a potential constitutional amendment.

“The goal is really to give the people more opportunity to vote for candidates that they like and for candidates and elected officials to be held accountable by promoting policies and really acting in a way that people will disagree rather than appeal to extremes and forcing people to vote for them because they’re the lesser of two evils,” Dogan told KTRS Radio host McGraw Milhaven Friday.

Approval voting is not to be confused with ranked choice voting, where voters choose multiple candidates with an order of preference. A 2022 effort to put a ranked choice question up for a statewide vote failed to qualify for a spot on the ballot.

The city of St. Louis adopted a form of approval voting in 2021, and Dogan said it’s in use in Fargo, North Dakota. 

Dogan said the end result could be less-divisive campaigns with higher quality candidates who have a better chance at reaching more than 50 percent of support from voters. 

“The will of the people, whatever it is is going to be reflected we believe more accurately in your election results than it is now,” said Dogan, who ran in the Aug. 2022 GOP primary for St. Louis County Executive after he was term-limited out of the House. Despite name recognition from his time in the General Assembly and as a Ballwin Alderman before that, Dogan lost to Katherine Pinner, who spent no money and did little to no campaigning. Pinner eventually dropped out of the General Election, with Dogan deciding to endorse Mark Mantovani’s campaign rather than re-enter it himself.

It could be harder to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot by 2024, as Dogan’s former colleagues in the General Assembly say they’re interested in reforming the state’s initiative petition process.

New digs for Davis

Former U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis has wasted no time landing on his feet after leaving Congress. Davis, who lost a June primary against U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, has joined Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, a DC lobbying firm, as Managing Director.

Congressman Davis’ decade of experience in the public sector and leadership on key issues will further elevate Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies’ government affairs work,” said Michael Heller, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cozen O’Connor in a news release. “Evidenced by his years of public service to our nation, it is abundantly clear that Congressman Davis has what it takes to move the needle on key priorities on behalf of our valued clients.”

Committee work

The process of getting congressional committees formulated and up and running is slowly taking shape. The St. Louis region already knows that three members representing portions of the area will be House committee chairs in the 118th Congress–Rep. Jason Smith (Ways and Means), Rep. Sam Graves (Transportation and Infrastructure), and Rep. Mike Bost (Veterans Affairs). 

Rep. Ann Wagner will serve as Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets on the Financial Services Committee, while Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer will be Chair of the Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance and International Financial Institutions.

Full committee assignments could be firmed up when the House returns the week of Jan. 23.

In the Senate, it’s expected that Sen. Dick Durbin D-Ill will again chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate is out until Jan. 23.

Highlights of the week ahead

Missouri’s incoming state treasurer, St. Louis County attorney Vivek Malek, will be sworn in Tuesday in the Missouri House Chamber. He succeeds Scott Fitzpatrick, who ran for State Auditor in November and has already been sworn in to that office. Both will speak during the ceremony, which starts at 1 p.m., as will Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who will likely go down in state history as having appointed the most statewide office holders, having appointed a Lt. Gov., two Attorneys General, and now two State Treasurers since he ascended to the office in 2018. 

Malek will be the first statewide office holder of color in Missouri history.

On Wednesday, Parson returns to the House Chamber to deliver the State of the State Address at 3pm. Wednesday is also when Parson releases his 2024 fiscal year budget. As of this writing, it’s still unclear who will deliver the Democratic response.