Jo Mannies

Political Reporter

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter.  She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

Ways to Connect

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., plans to travel around Missouri and the country in coming weeks campaigning for favored candidates and causes on the Nov. 8 ballot. Among her activities: attempting to defeat her Missouri colleague, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. – even though they often work together.

“It is awkward,’’ McCaskill said in an interview. But as she sees it, she’s simply mirroring Blunt’s actions of a few years ago.

Bruce Franks
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Bruce Franks to show. The St. Louis Democrat won a landslide victory last week in a special primary election over state Rep. Penny Hubbard. He will have a Republican opponent, Eric Shelquist,  in November.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 20 with high court ruling – Within the past 24 hours, the Missouri Supreme Court has taken actions guaranteeing that two disputed ballot initiatives will go before voters in November.

The most recent action came Tuesday afternoon, when the High Court unanimously ruled in favor of Amendment 3, which would raise Missouri's cigarette tax by as much as $1.27 a pack.  It would use the proceeds to fund early childhood education programs, and would bring in an estimated $300 million a year.

Former Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome former state Auditor Susan Montee to the program.

Montee is a former St. Joseph councilwoman and Buchanan County auditor who successful sought the office of state auditor in 2006. One of her selling points was the fact that she was both a certified public accountant and an attorney.

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

Democrat Jason Kander’s new TV ad, which shows him assembling an assault weapon blindfolded, already has been hailed by the Washington Post as the best campaign ad so far this year.

That’s just the latest evidence of the national attention – and money – that’s been pouring into Missouri for months to aid or attack Kander or the man he hopes to defeat in November, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Curran | Flickr

If an initiative’s ballot title promises free puppies to all voters, but its language actually calls for expanding puppy mills, should the proposal be allowed to remain on the ballot?

That question, posed Thursday by a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, gets at the heart of the court fight to decide whether a proposal to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax by $1.27 a pack can remain on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Both sides argued before the high court early Thursday. A ruling is expected within days.

open carry walk photo and vote here sign
Camille Phillips and Rachel Heidenry | File Photos

Updated 11:30 p.m. -  The Missouri General Assembly has acted to ease restrictions on guns and add more requirements for voters.

That’s the upshot of Wednesday’s veto session, where lawmakers overrode most of Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes of various bills.

Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson listens to representatives speak on the last day of the legislative session.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies go guestless, so to speak, to analyze the lay of the land before the Missouri General Assembly’s veto session.

When lawmakers return to the Capitol for the Wednesday afternoon session, the two biggest bills will be a multi-faceted gun bill and legislation implementing a photo identification requirement to vote. But even though they haven’t attracted as much attention, nearly two dozen other bills could potentially receive veto override attempts.

Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein sees a path to victory — or, at minimum, more public attention to her key issues — if the Commission on Presidential Debates will bend its rules and allow her and Libertarian Gary Johnson to join in the presidential debates.

“We’re talking about just four candidates’’ on stage, Stein said, referring to the series of four debates that begin in about two weeks.  Washington University will host one of them, on Oct. 9.

Longtime Republican stalwart Phyllis Schlafly said Donald Trump is "a choice not an echo," which references her long-ago support of Barry Goldwater.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is headlining a growing list of party dignitaries likely to attend Saturday’s funeral here of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly.

Relatives say that Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., also are expected. Both were “very close friends’’ with Schlafly, said daughter Anne Cori. Other expected attendees include Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus.

The mass is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End. Visitation is underway at the Kriegshauser Mortuary-West Chapel until 8 p.m. tonight.

Wikipedia

Two percent.

That’s the most realistic, and important, objective of the Missouri Green Party as it prepares for Saturday’s rally in St. Louis featuring the party’s presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein.

Win or lose, the state party stands to gain if Stein or another Green Party candidate collects at least 2 percent of the Missouri vote. The gain? Automatic ballot access.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speaks to a crowd of supporters at a Chesterfield DoubleTree on Tuesday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Buoyed by the latest polls, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence exuberantly told local supporters that Americans are embracing Donald Trump’s message of change.

Speaking before a packed ballroom Tuesday in Chesterfield, Pence sought to promote Trump’s personality as well as his policies. “He’s a distinctly American leader,” Pence said, with a soft chuckle. “He is his own man and he’s a doer, he’s a builder. He’s a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers.”

State Rep. Stacey Newman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome back state Rep. Stacey Newman to talk about the legislature’s upcoming veto session – and the November election.

Newman is a Richmond Heights Democrat who entered the legislature in 2010 after a special election. With the exception of a zany Democratic primary in 2012, Newman’s subsequent elections have been relatively easy. For instance: She was completely unopposed this cycle, meaning she will return to the Missouri House for her final term.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Missouri state government’s income collections were down in August, but state Budget Director Dan Haug says it’s too early to panic.

A key reason for the decline is that August 2015’s income collections — particularly for the sales tax — were unusually high.

Mike Pence
Gage Skidmore | Wikipedia

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will hold a rally Tuesday afternoon in Chesterfield, as part of the GOP ticket's first Missouri campaign swing.

Pence is also scheduled to hold a town hall meeting Tuesday morning in Springfield, Mo.

The Chesterfield event will be held 1:30 p.m. at the Doubletree hotel. Admission is free to the public, but tickets are required. They can be obtained on the GOP presidential ticket’s website.

Eric Greitens, the victor of Missouri’s four-way Republican battle for governor, spent just over $10 million to win his party’s nomination.

The final campaign-finance reports for the Aug. 2 primary, due Thursday, show the four spent a combined total of $27.1 million — a record in Missouri for a statewide primary contest. The final spending almost mirrored the candidates’ election finish.

Jason Kander speaks at the Missouri Democratic Party's annual dinner, the Truman Dinner, at Busch Stadium.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Missouri’s already nationally watched contest for the U.S. Senate is getting swept into the St. Louis region’s latest spat of vote-related woes — including the current court fight over absentee ballots cast in the Aug. 2 primary for a legislative seat whose boundaries are within the city of St. Louis.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has been running a TV ad that seeks to tie those controversies to how his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, has performed his job. Blunt also has raised general questions about Kander’s performance during his recent campaign stops.

Kander has pushed back.

Tom, via Flickr

Missouri’s U.S. senators, who are at odds on some issues, do seem to share the same prediction when it comes to Zika, the dangerous virus spread by mosquitoes.

Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill both say Congress will finally take action within weeks to approve funding to fight the virus, which has gained a foothold in Florida.

Paul Wieland
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome back state Sen. Paul Wieland to the program.

The Republican from Imperial was previously a guest on the show when he was running against Democrat Jeff Roorda for the 22nd District Senate seat. Wieland won the so-called “Battle For JeffCo” by a sizable margin, a victory that expanded the Republican Senate majority.

Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On television, Missouri’s two major candidates for governor — Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens — pretend their rival doesn’t exist.

Both men are running pleasant biographical ads that highlight the best of their respective personal and professional backgrounds.

Koster, currently the Missouri attorney general, emphasizes his experience as a prosecutor, and his commitment to fiscal discipline. Greitens, who is making his first bid for public office, recounts his past as a Navy SEAL, and the success of a nonprofit he helped establish, called The Mission Continues, to help returning veterans.

Supporters pack the St. Louis for Hillary Clinton campaign office. Some took photos with the life-size cardboard cutout of Clinton in the background on Aug. 24, 2016
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay sees it, the crowd that packed Hillary Clinton’s new local office Tuesday night could help persuade her Democratic presidential campaign to direct more attention — and resources to Missouri.

Win or lose, such action could help the state’s entire Democratic ticket.

“We need to show the support is here, to pull her over the top,’’ Slay told reporters, shortly before addressing the shoulder-to-shoulder audience that spilled onto the sidewalk outside the Clinton campaign office at 4039 Lindell Blvd.

Rep. Shamed Dogan
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Shamed Dogan to the program.

The Ballwin Republican represents a portion of western and southwestern St. Louis County. He is seeking his second term in the Missouri House in his GOP-leaning state House district.

(via Flickr/espensorvik)

(Updated with Clinton campaign's response) The release of a new batch of almost 15,000 of Hillary Clinton’s old emails has ensnared a top Missouri political consultant, Democrat Joyce Aboussie.

The conservative group, Judicial Watch, has focused on an email string between Aboussie and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, among others, to bolster its contention that Clinton and her staff gave preferential treatment to donors and political allies while Clinton was secretary of state.

Missouri political activists in both parties are mourning the death of former state Sen. Betty Sims, a Republican from Ladue who was a legislative leader.

Sims, who was 80, died Monday morning after a short illness, friends said. She had been in good health until a few weeks ago, when she was stricken while preparing for a family float trip.

Sims currently held posts on several state and regional boards, including the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has tapped two veteran GOP operatives to head up his state operation.

Aaron Willard, who has held several key posts in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, is Trump’s new state director. Todd Abrajano, a consultant with similar GOP ties, is to serve as Trump’s communications director.

Richard Orr
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Democrat Richard Orr to the program.

Orr is the Democratic nominee for the 23rd state Senatorial District, which takes in a portion of St. Charles County. He’s a buyer and instructor for a kayaking company. Orr is squaring off against Republican Bill Eigel, a businessman who won a highly competitive GOP primary earlier this month. (Eigel appeared on Politically Speaking earlier this week.)

The primary election is Tuesday.
File photos

(Updated with Greitens' rally and new Koster donation) Missouri’s four-way Republican battle for governor is getting roiled with last-minute attacks ads and fliers by outside groups – including one with Democratic ties.

According to the online news site Politico, a group called “Jobs and Opportunity" is launching a barrage of TV ads over the weekend that attack Eric Greitens, an author and former Navy SEAL who is the best-funded of the four GOP candidates. 

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, right, and candidate Bill Haas, center, speak as state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal answers a question.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In their only forum before Tuesday’s primary, Missouri’s major-party candidates for the 1st congressional district seat were civil and concise. Both attributes were required by the area’s League of Women Voters, which conducted the forum at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis.

The star participant was U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City, who has held the seat for 16 years.  He succeeded his father, Bill Clay Sr., who served for 32 years. That long tenure was a key topic for one of Lacy Clay’s Democratic rivals, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.  She told the audience, “You must ask yourself a question: Is 48 years too long for one family?”

Workers carry and install sheet rock in late August.
Willis Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court has restored the length of the state’s unemployment benefits to 20 weeks, by tossing out the General Assembly’s action last year that reduced payment of benefits to 13 weeks – the shortest in the country.

Republican lawmakers and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce say they’ll try again next session. The state Department of Labor says 14,612 people have been affected by the 13-week limit since it went into effect Jan. 1.

For the court, the issue was timing. The court ruled, in effect, that the Missouri Senate waited too long to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill.

Jason Kander skipped Philadelphia to travel the roads of Missouri. The incumbent he's challenging, Sen. Roy Blunt, will travel  next week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On two points, Missouri’s two major candidates for the U.S. Senate seem to agree:

  • Skip your presidential convention.
  • Hit the road in a campaign bus.

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