Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

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

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen addresses election officials from roughly a dozen states at an election security summit held in St. Louis County.
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

As some election officials see it, public fears about the hacking of American elections are almost as serious of an issue as the actual threat of such hacking.

“The product we’re trying to generate here is voter confidence,’’ said Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap at an election security conference Monday in St. Louis County.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest is attracting more outside money – at least $25 million so far –  than any other Senate race in the country.

More than half of the money is being spent by a conglomerate of Republican-leaning groups seeking to help the state’s GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

The rest is mainly coming from a political-action committee tied to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat aiding the incumbent, Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Nick Kasoff
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Libertarian Nick Kasoff joins Politically Speaking to talk about his bid for St. Louis County executive.

Kasoff is one of four candidates running in the Nov. 6 election. They include incumbent Democratic County Executive Steve Stenger, GOP challenger Paul Berry III and Constitution Party nominee Andrew Ostrowski.

President Donald Trump arrives at St. Louis Lambert International Airport to attend a fundraiser for GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Josh Hawley.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking zeroes in on how President Donald Trump will affect Missouri’s election cycle — particularly U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s re-election bid against Attorney General Josh Hawley.

On the surface, Trump should benefit Hawley — especially because the GOP chief executive won Missouri by nearly 19 percentage points in 2016. Missouri’s public opinion polls show his approval ratings hovering around 50 percent. But Trump has faced a torrent of controversy this week with the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen court proceedings.

State Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Karla May joins Politically Speaking to talk about her ouster of Sen. Jake Hummel in Missouri’s 4th Senate District.

May is a four-term Democratic lawmaker who represents a portion of western St. Louis in the Missouri House. Her roughly 5,000-vote victory — 20,204 to 15,137 — over Hummel was arguably the biggest statehouse surprise in the Aug. 7 primary. If May wins in November, she will represent St. Louis with Sen. Jamilah Nasheed. It would mark the first time that two African-American women have represented the city in the Missouri Senate. The 4th District also includes a small part of St. Louis County. 

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in her Washington office.
Provided

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill isn’t signaling her opinion after her first meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

But as she’d advertised, the Missouri Democrat says her questions on Tuesday centered on three topics: protecting access to health care, curbing corporate power and addressing the explosion in campaign money from undisclosed donors.

McCaskill did not disclose Kavanaugh’s answers.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks at a campaign event on Friday in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joins Politically Speaking to talk about her quest for a third term in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate contests.

The Missouri Democrat was first elected to the Senate in 2006. Before that, McCaskill served as Missouri’s auditor, Jackson County prosecutor and a member of the Missouri House of Representatives.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks at a campaign event on Friday, August 17, 2018, in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Friday’s edition of Politically Speaking explores three different storylines to watch as candidates and campaigns ramp up for the November election.

The first one that St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies tackle is U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s upcoming meeting with Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s latest pick for the U.S. Supreme Court. Both sides of the political spectrum are pressuring McCaskill on how to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, which comes as she runs against GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says she has a growing list of questions as she preps for her meeting next week with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

And most of them won’t deal with his position on abortion rights, a top concern of progressive groups.

“I’m sure it will come up, but he won’t answer it,’’ McCaskill predicted.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite an income downturn in July, Missouri budget director Dan Haug says the state is starting its new fiscal year in stronger shape than it has seen in years.

That’s because the fiscal year that ended June 30 saw a last-minute surplus of $350 million that is providing an income cushion.

So unlike his recent predecessors, Gov. Mike Parson hasn’t had  to impose additional spending cuts.

Paul Berry III
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

GOP St. Louis County executive nominee Paul Berry III joins the Politically Speaking podcast to discuss his campaign to be one of the region’s top elected officials.

Berry won a two-way GOP primary last week for the county executive’s office. He’ll square off against incumbent St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger in November, along with several third-party candidates.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger celebrated a narrow victory over Democrat Mark Mantovani.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At the end of a primary campaign that featured pointed attacks and biting television ads, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger used his victory speech to emphasize a need to come together.

Stenger barely held off businessman Mark Mantovani, who has yet to concede the race after falling about 1,100 votes short in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. It was a contentious and expensive affair that put Stenger’s dismal relationship with the St. Louis County Council in greater focus. He alluded to that seemingly endless acrimony near the tail end of his address.

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon returns to Politically Speaking to discuss a multitude of issues, including the state of St. Louis’ education system and the challenges of gubernatorial leadership.

Nixon served as governor from 2009 to 2017. He is one of four men (Mel Carnahan, John Ashcroft and Warren Hearnes) to be elected to two consecutive terms as Missouri’s chief executive. He also was elected to four terms as attorney general and to a Jefferson County-based Senate seat.

Hawley stands in front of his traveling debate trailer, parked Wednesday in St. Charles.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

With their nominations in the bag, it’s now “game on’’ for Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her Republican rival, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Even as Tuesday’s vote-counting was wrapping up, McCaskill and Hawley each issued calls for debates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

Both also sought to frame their contest as one pitting a person of the people against a rival who’s out of touch.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger speaks with reporters after winning the Democratic primary for county executive.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger likely is headed toward re-election, after a razor-thin victory over businessman Mark Mantovani in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

“Today’s victory shows that voters believe we are moving St. Louis County in the right direction,” Stenger said during his late-night victory speech.

But Mantovani had yet to concede; he lost by roughly 1,100 votes. His campaign said it would release a statement Wednesday. He will also look at the implications of what it means to ask for a recount.

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the surface, the purpose of Tuesday’s primary is only to select candidates who will run in the November general election. But in reality, the results could resonate for years to come.

That’s because Missouri voters will decide whether to retain the right-to-work law, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment. And in the St. Louis region, prevailing in the Democratic primary is often tantamount to election — especially in state legislative and local contests.

David Steelman
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

David Steelman joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about the health of the University of Missouri System, as well as the demise of former Gov. Eric Greitens.

Steelman is a veteran Republican public official who served as a state lawmaker in the 1980s. He’s currently the chairman of the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, which oversees campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Rolla and Kansas City.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger faces challenger Mark Mantovani in the August 2018 Democratic primary
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters are just days away from effectively deciding whether County Executive Steve Stenger stays in office or is replaced by businessman Mark Mantovani.

And with election day looming, both men are continuing their record-setting spending spree, with most of it going to TV ads.

Their last pre-election campaign-finance reports, filed Monday, show the two have spent almost $1 million on TV ads just since July 1.

Area mailboxes are packed with Proposition A fliers, pro and con
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The vote Tuesday to determine whether Missouri becomes the 28th right-to-work state will reverberate nationally and could have a huge effect on state lawmakers next year.

“We got to beat ‘em bad,” Greater St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White said as their campaign to defeat Proposition A heads into the home stretch. “We got to beat ‘em bad enough, so that next year we can go to these Republicans — and it ain’t all Republicans — and we can say, ‘This is how many people voted against this in your district.’”

Attorney General Josh Hawley
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley joins Politically Speaking to talk about the nationally watched contest for the state’s United States Senate seat.

Hawley is the most well-known and well-funded Republican seeking to take on U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in the fall. He’s facing off against 10 GOP candidates in next month’s Aug. 7 primary, including two, Austin Petersen and Tony Monetti, that have been guests on Politically Speaking.

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