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

Friends of Tom Schweich

Retired U.S. Sen. John Danforth  is blaming Missouri’s nasty political climate – and an alleged anti-Semitic “whispering campaign” -- for  state Auditor Tom Schweich’s suicide, and he is calling on officials in both parties to “make Tom’s death a turning point in our state.”

State Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking podcast team – Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – this week welcomed state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit and  a 2016 candidate for Missouri secretary of state.

But first, the duo joined Jefferson City correspondent Marshall Griffin in commemorating the late state Auditor Tom Schweich, who died last Thursday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A memorial service is to be held Tuesday at his church in Clayton.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has named longtime aide John Watson as the state’s interim state auditor, until the governor can appoint a permanent replacement to state Auditor Tom Schweich, who committed suicide on Thursday.

Nixon said in a statement Friday that he was putting Watson temporarily in charge of the auditor’s office in order to comply with the state constitution’s requirement that the governor “immediately appoint’’ a replacement should the auditor’s post become vacant.  

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann preview Tuesday’s election in St. Louis.

Tom Schweich is sworn in for his second term as state auditor in January.
Tim Bommel, House Communications

(Updated 5:10 p.m.)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, shocking the state’s political world and throwing turmoil into the state’s 2016 contest for governor.

Seventeen out of the Board of Aldermen's 28 seats are up for election on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Being an incumbent St. Louis alderman is no longer a safe bet.

For various reasons, 17 of the city’s 28 members of the Board of Aldermen – all Democrats – will be on the ballot next Tuesday in the city’s March 3 primaries.

And all but a couple of the incumbents have opposition from fellow Democrats.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon's office confirmed late Wednesday that former St. Louis Police Chief Daniel Isom was stepping down from his new job as director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

Nixon chose Isom last fall, amid the unrest in Ferguson. The former chief was only confirmed in January. Isom's decision to step down touched off unrest in the state Capitol, with allies blaming the governor for Isom's swift exit.

This week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast has a mid-Missouri flair to it – primarily because St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are welcoming state Sen. Mike Kehoe to the show.

John Hancock at 2015 Lincoln Days
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Saturday)

Kansas City - St. Louis political consultant and radio host John Hancock promised to put the Missouri Republican Party on a stronger financial and organizational footing for 2016 after he handily won election Saturday as the new party chairman.

Hancock’s election was arguably the most important task for Missouri Republicans gathered in Kansas City this weekend for their annual Reagan-Lincoln Days festivities.

Sen. Roy Blunt at Lincoln Days 2015
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 10:30 p.m.  Saturday)

Kansas City - President Barack Obama has Democratic company – just-announced U.S. Senate hopeful Jason Kander – as Missouri Republicans’ favorite verbal punching bag.

That was evident throughout this weekend’s annual Reagan-Lincoln Days, held this year in Kansas City.

Jay Ashcroft
Provided by campaign

St. Louis lawyer Jay Ashcroft has declared his 2016 bid for Missouri secretary of state, becoming the first of what’s expected to be a deluge of contenders since Secretary of State Jason Kander is running for the U.S. Senate instead.

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday he will run for the U.S. Senate. It sets up a collision course with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday he will run for the U.S. Senate next year.

It’s a move that ensures U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., will have competition in 2016 – and opens up a down-ballot statewide contest for both parties.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Tim Lloyd welcome St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman to the show.

Zimmerman grew up in St. Louis County — attending Clayton schools — before attending Claremont McKenna University and Harvard Law School. He worked for Attorney General Jay Nixon and former Gov. Bob Holden before getting elected to a state House seat in 2006.

Tom Dempsey R. Mo Senator 02182014
Official photo

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, says he has yet to take a position on the “right-to-work’’ bill that is headed to his chamber after passing the House last week.

“I’m still looking at it,’’ Dempsey said in an interview.

He also remains skeptical that the measure — which would restrict union rights in the workplace — has enough Senate votes to override what he sees as “a certain veto’’ by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat with close labor ties.


Missouri Republican activists will signal their first 2016 presidential preferences by participating  in a straw poll this weekend during the party’s annual Lincoln Days festivities.

This year, the event has been renamed “Reagan-Lincoln Days’’ in honor of Ronald Reagan, who was president in the 1980s.

The unscientific straw poll is among the activities aimed at energizing the hundreds of party faithful expected to attend the three-day event in Kansas City.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Over the past 10 years since it faced two federal lawsuits, the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners has quietly cut 75,000 people off of its voter rolls.

That represents more than a quarter of the 281, 316 voters on the city's rolls in 2004. St. Louis' voter list now totals 206,349, according to state election records.

House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town & Country
Tim Bommel, House Communications

On this special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about the passage of “right to work” legislation in the Missouri. 

The bill in question – sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield – would bar unions and employers from requiring all workers to join a union and pay union fees, if a majority votes to organize. It passed the Missouri House on Thursday with 92 "yes" votes, which falls short of the majority needed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

(Updated 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12)

For the first time ever, the Missouri House has approved a right-to-work bill that curbs union rights.

But the House’s 92-66 vote Wednesday afternoon was far short of the number – 109 -- needed to withstand a likely veto by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat with close union ties.

Final House approval came Thursday morning. The  measure now moves to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future and a possible Democratic filibuster.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1 p.m., Wed., Feb. 11)

By a voice vote, the Missouri House gave first round-approval Wednesday to a bill to bar construction unions and employers from requiring all employees to join a union and pay dues if a majority votes to organize. The bill, HB 582, is sponsored by Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-Berkeley.

----- Our earlier story

State Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome state Rep. Shamed Dogan to the podcast for the first time. 

  Dogan, R-Ballwin, is a Northwoods native who worked in Washington, D.C. after graduating from Yale University. Among other things, Dogan worked for former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Roy Temple
Official photo

As expected, leaders of the Missouri Democratic State Committee have re-elected Roy Temple as state party chairman, despite the party’s poor showing last fall.

Temple faced no major opposition during Saturday’s vote, held at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson City. He is close to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and state Attorney General Chris Koster, who had supported his initial ascension to the top party post in 2013.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green was re-elected as the state party’s vice chairman.

New numbers show Missouri's women who worked full-time earned about 78 percent of men's earnings in 2013.
(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

As Missouri legislators roam the state Capitol, they frequently run into familiar lobbyists. More and more, though, these lobbyists are working for groups financed by unfamiliar donors. In fact, their identity is secret.

Such groups are nonprofits officially known as 501C4s, a designation that refers to a provision of the IRS’ tax code. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2010 known as “Citizens United,” these organizations can get involved in politics in favor or opposition of candidates, just like political action committees.

Washington University

Washington University, which has hosted several presidential debates, may once again be on the national political stage because of a challenge issued Tuesday night by three nationally prominent Republicans who also are gay-rights activists.

They included Meghan McCain, daughter of 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, and Gregory T. Angelo, national executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans – the GOP’s LGBT arm.

State Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome state Rep. Tracy McCreery to the show. 

The Olivette Democrat grew up in northern Ohio and graduated from the Ohio State University. After a stint in the pharmaceutical industry, McCreery served as state Sen. Joan Bray’s district aide for the University City Democrat's eight-year tenure in the Missouri Senate.

Ed Martin 2012
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | file photo

Just weeks before a divisive Missouri GOP fight, state Republican Party chairman Ed Martin has announced he will not seek re-election. Instead he plans to take over as the new president of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a longstanding conservative group.

But Martin’s announcement may not clear the path for John Hancock, a fellow St. Louisan and prominent political consultant, to take over as state party chairman.

Republican sources say that Eddy Justice, the party chairman in Dent County and of the 8th congressional district, is considering a bid for the top party post.

Schweich launches his campaign for governor on January 28, 2015
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich launched his campaign for governor by lashing out at the man who he says is a symbol of the “rampant corruption” in the state Capitol -- wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield.

Schweich said that Sinquefield, the state’s top political donor, has been engaging in “corrosive tactics’’ with “an army of mercenaries.’’  Their aim, he said, is to advance proposals – such as the elimination of Missouri’s income tax and replacing it with a huge sales tax -- that he says would help the wealthy but hurt small business and middle-class Missourians.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s edition of Politically Speaking uses the magical power of radio to speak with Sen. Kurt Schaefer from his office in Jefferson City. 

The Columbia Republican chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which makes him one of the most influential figures in the budget-crafting process. He’s also chairing a special committee looking into Gov. Jay Nixon’s performance during the unrest in Ferguson.

Mo. State Auditor's office

Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich appears ready to launch his expected 2016 campaign for governor.

If so, he will be the second well-known Republican to seek the job now held by Democrat Jay Nixon, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway declared her candidacy last year. The only announced Democrat is Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Schweich’s campaign sent out a release late Tuesday saying only that he is making “a major announcement’’ at 4 p.m., Wednesday at the University of Missouri-St.Louis.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

The decade-long effort to require photo IDs in Missouri voting booths is once again under way in the General Assembly, although it’s unclear if the chances are any brighter.

State Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, is once again the chief sponsor of the two-pronged campaign to mandate government-issued photo IDs at the polls. “I am 100 percent sure that voter impersonation fraud is taking place in the state of Missouri,’’ he said a hearing Tuesday before a House committee.

(Courtesy Zimmerman Campaign)

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman has announced he’s running in 2016 for Missouri attorney general, setting up a primary with state Sen. Scott Sifton, a fellow Democrat.

In a telephone interview early Tuesday, Zimmerman said he was making his intentions public now because “2016 will be a critical year in Missouri politics.”

Sifton, from Affton, announced his candidacy a couple months ago. At present, the only announced Republican is state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia.