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

Money gift

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 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

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.


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.


Regardless of whether Missouri becomes a battleground in the presidential contest, national labor leaders see the state as one of their top priorities this fall.

“Missouri has the most important governor’s race in the country going on right now,” said Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO, during an exclusive interview while he was in St. Louis over the weekend.

Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman, now a Democratic candidate for Missouri attorney general, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for our latest Politically Speaking podcast.

It’s Zimmerman’s second appearance on the show, but his first since the current candidate field was set. The Politically Speaking crew has now hosted all four of the major-party contenders for attorney general.

Curran | Flickr

Updated with reaction: Backers of a ballot proposal to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax apparently have only until 4 p.m. Monday to seek a rehearing or an appeal of a court ruling that otherwise could keep the measure off the November ballot.

Late Saturday, the backers — officially known as the Raise Your Hand for Kids coalition — filed the paperwork to do just that. Other players in the court fight still face the Monday deadline.

All of the action comes after a state appeals court ruled Friday that the ballot summary for the proposed constitutional amendment was  “unfair, insufficient and likely to mislead voters.”

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 time slipping away, Missouri’s four Republican candidates are heightening their attacks — in person and in their ads — as they head into the final stretch before the Aug. 2 primary.

By even their own accounts, Wednesday’s debate at St. Louis Public Radio’s studio – and broadcast by public radio stations around the state — appeared to be their liveliest. And the nastiest.

arty representation of jackson on currency
_J_D_R_ | Flickr

The state of Missouri’s income collections for June are down more than 22 percent, compared to a year ago. 

That sharp decline is among the reasons Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration will not be implementing the first phase of a state income tax cut that had been scheduled to go into effect when the new fiscal year began last Friday.

In fact, Nixon is planning a news conference Wednesday to announce possible cuts or withholdings he may make in the new budget, which kicked in on July 1.

Steve Eagleton
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 continue their interviews with candidates for the 15th District Senate seat. This time around, they’re interviewing Democrat Steve Eagleton.

The 15th District takes in parts of south and central St. Louis County. Since Sen. Eric Schmitt is term-limited, the race for the seat this year is wide open.

Mark Boyko
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 Democrat Mark Boyko to the show for the first time.

Eric Greitens, John Brunner, Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder are campaigning to become Missouri's GOP gubernatorial candidate.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio will host a live debate with the Missouri candidates running to become the GOP candidate-of-choice in the August 2 primary for governor.

Planned Parenthood supporters rally in 2015 outside the agency's clinic in St. Louis after a mass shooting at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

State officials charged with overseeing Missouri’s changes in its women’s health program for the poor are officially estimating it will be next April before a new state-funded program is in place that bars Planned Parenthood from participating.

Missouri’s Department of Social Services has posted its phase-out plan on its website. It comes after Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that it will take months for the state to replace its federally funded women’s health program – which must include Planned Parenthood – with a state-funded program that does not.

Updated with more money: Since June 10, Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway has received roughly $2.4 million from three groups: Grow Missouri, Great St. Louis and Missourians for Excellence in Government.

And all three groups got their money from one man: wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield, who is – by far – the state’s top political donor.

Rick Stream 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Former state Rep. Rick Stream – who almost became St. Louis County executive and now is running for the Missouri Senate – once again joins Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies on St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast.

Andrew Koenig
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 state Rep. Andrew Koenig to the show for the first time.

The Manchester Republican is running against former state Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, in the Aug. 2 GOP primary for the 15th Senatorial District. Stream’s episode of Politically Speaking will be posted soon.

Some of Missouri’s restrictive laws governing abortion clinics will likely face a legal challenge as a result of today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down similar restrictions in Texas.

But abortion-rights supporters and opponents in Missouri agree that it’s “too soon to tell’’ the specific effects of the high court’s 5-3 ruling on the Show-Me state, which long has had some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, left, and professor Josh Hawley came out swinging in their campaigns for the Republican nomination for attorney general.
official photos

Updated Saturday, June 25:  Missouri’s Republican contest for attorney general – long this year’s  nastiest battle in the state  – has gotten so bitter that the two combatants already are running vicious attack ads six weeks before the Aug. 2 election.

Kurt Schaefer's new ad accuses Josh Hawley of providing legal help for “a terrorist,’’ while Hawley’s ad features Schaefer repeatedly referring to himself as “a moderate.”

Each candidate claims the other is intentionally misrepresenting the facts.