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.

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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.

paper ballot voting places
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

(Updated Aug. 25 with ruling on campaign donations) – A Cole County judge has sided with supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to restore campaign contribution limits.

The proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 contains language that would ban campaign donations from investor-owned utilities and state chartered banks. Circuit judge Patricia Joyce ruled Thursday that that particular ban would not violate Missouri's constitution.

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.
Money gift
Flickr

With a week left to go, Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor are engaging in a final money-raising – and spending – frenzy.

Just since July 1, the four – former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and businessman John Brunner – combined have raised almost $6 million and spent more than $10 million.

Most of that spending is for the mass of TV ads that are flooding Missouri homes.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Regardless of who they backed before, Missouri’s GOP delegates are leaving their convention committed to electing Donald Trump for president.

And his acceptance speech was a hit.

“He was confident, he was strong, he was energetic, enthusiastic’’ said delegate Chuck Williams of Town and Country. “He had the crowd fired up.”

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Bev Ehlen, a Missouri GOP delegate from Warren County, has long been a fan of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and had hoped he’d be the party’s nominee for president.

But now that Donald Trump has the nomination, Ehlen is upset that Cruz is opting against an endorsement.

“I was very disappointed’’ by Cruz’s Wednesday night speech, Ehlen said. “I’m probably the biggest Ted Cruz supporter you can find. I was expecting so much more because he’s such an articulate speaker. I was expecting a home run, and I didn’t get it.”

U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield
Official portrait

CLEVELAND — Missouri U.S. Rep. Billy Long is arguably the state’s version of Donald Trump.

Long was a well-known auctioneer and radio talk-show host in Springfield, Mo., who emerged from a seven-person GOP field in 2010 to win the congressional seat that had been held by fellow Republican Roy Blunt until Blunt opted to make his successful shot for the U.S. Senate.

Long says he was impressed with Trump when he first met him in 2011, just months after Long arrived in Washington. The occasion was a charity event, and Long approached the billionaire businessman to thank him for his charity support.

Margo McNeil
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 are pleased to welcome state Rep. Margo McNeil to the show for the first time.

The Florissant Democrat was first elected to the Missouri House in 2008. She’s finishing her last few months in the General Assembly’s lower chamber, as she is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.

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

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly was on the convention floor Tuesday night and was pleased as punch, when Donald Trump — whom she endorsed months ago — officially became the Republican presidential nominee.

“He’s a take-charge person and he’s going to attack the establishment,” said Schlafly, who’s attending her 12th straight GOP convention. “And the establishment, as I’ve pointed out, has given us a whole series of losers.”

From left: John Hawley, Kurt Schaefer, Teresa Hensley and Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Until a few days ago, the battle to become Missouri’s next attorney general appeared to be one-sided:

Only the two Republicans seeking the job — law professor Josh Hawley and state Senator Kurt Schaefer — were hotly fighting over it.

But now that’s changed. Although the Schaefer-Hawley contest remains the nastiest, the two Democrats — St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman and former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley — also are tussling.

The Missouri delegation may be housed in Akron, but it has a clear view of the stage.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Missouri Republicans are increasingly optimistic that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump could offer a boon, not a bust, for the GOP’s entire statewide ticket in November.

“The worst poll I’ve seen has him eight points up in Missouri,’’ said U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, as she mingled Monday with Missouri delegates. “The best poll has him up 12.”

That’s among the reasons Wagner dismisses the last-minute effort by some anti-Trump delegates — mainly in other states — who are seeking a rules change to allow them to vote for somebody else.

Sarah Steelman
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 Treasurer Sarah Steelman to the program. Steelman provided a candid assessment of Missouri statewide politics — and the legislative process in Jefferson City.

A local police sergeant briefed Missouri delegates to the Republican National Convention about security.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND — Sunday’s tragic police shootings in Louisiana have added an exclamation point to what was already heightened concern about security among members of Missouri’s delegation to the Republican National Convention.

At Sunday’s first gathering of Missouri’s contingent, state Republican Party chairman John Hancock called for a moment of silence to honor the fallen officers in Baton Rouge. Missouri delegates then gave a standing ovation to the local police sergeant overseeing the round-the-clock security detail at the Akron hotel where the delegation is staying.

Peter Kinder, Catherine Hanaway, John Brunner and Eric Greitens speak at St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

With the Aug. 2 primary just weeks ago, Missouri’s Republican candidates for governor are spending far more money than they are raising.

That’s documented in the latest campaign-finance reports, due Friday, which show a neck-and-neck spending battle between St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens and former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

Lt. Peter Kinder raised and spent the least during the last three months.

Curran | Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected a request that it weigh in on a lawsuit against a proposed tobacco tax increase.

The court's decision could kill off the initiative-petition effort to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Will Kraus
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 Sen. Will Kraus to the program.

The Lee's Summit Republican was on the program about a year and a half ago after he announced he was running for secretary of state. But the journoduo wanted to bring him back now that the GOP field in that competitive contest is set.

Flickr/SuperFantastic

The Missouri Supreme Court is expected to decide as soon as today whether to consider the fate of a proposed tobacco tax increase that backers hope to get on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office made the request late Tuesday, after an appeals court declined to reconsider its ruling last week that could kill the proposed constitutional amendment.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has outraised his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, according to the latest campaign-finance reports due later this week. But the gap in their bank accounts is closing.

Copies of their official summary sheets due Friday — but made available early to St. Louis Public Radio — show that Blunt collected $2.3 million during the last three months, compared to $1.75 million for Kander.

(Updated) Three weeks to go before the Aug. 2 primary, Missouri’s GOP candidates are hitting the road — and doubling down on the negatives.

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