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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Stock photo of paper ballot
sxc.hu

Tuesday’s results in Missouri’s presidential primary are so close that a few have raised the issue of potential recounts. But state law and party rules make clear that the recount process is complicated, and little may be gained.

Under Missouri law, no recount can be requested until four weeks after the election, when local election authorities and the Secretary of State’s office have completed their work certifying the results. That kicks the starting point for a recount to at least April 15. 

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton campaigned in St. Louis shortly before the Missouri primary.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

True to national predictions, Missouri’s presidential primaries ended up being Tuesday night’s nail-biters, with no clear winner declared as of dawn.  Although Democrat Bernie Sanders led the vote tallies most of the night, the late returns from the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County put Hillary Clinton on top – by just over 1,500 votes.

Republican Donald Trump appears to have defeated rival Ted Cruz  by less than 1,800 votes, but the results aren't conclusive.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has promised to help get a contribution limit measure on next year's ballot. But other Democratic officials have promised such a move and haven't delivered.
Courtesy of Claire McCaskill's Flickr

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she is embracing her job — and her constituents — with a vengeance now that she’s back at work after spending several weeks in treatment for breast cancer.

Next week, she expects to barnstorm the state with a series of stops to highlight her concerns about the rising cost of college education, and what the government might be able to do to help.

Chelsea Clinton stumps for mother Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a coffee shop in Clayton.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

(Updated 3 p.m. Tues, March 15)--On the eve of Tuesday’s crucial presidential primaries, some of the Democratic and Republican hopefuls are barnstorming Missouri and Illinois in a final quest for votes.

At this stage, the candidates are no longer seeking to woo new supporters. They are out to energize existing backers so they show up at the polls.

Photos by Jason Rosenbaum and Bill Greenblatt

In most presidential election years, primary voters in Missouri and Illinois often wouldn’t have that much impact on picking potential commanders in chief.

But 2016 isn’t like most presidential years.

Bernie Sanders exhorts his supporters at a rally at Affton High School to get out the vote.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Democratic presidential Bernie Sanders is banking on Missouri primary backers to provide the campaign boost that he got last week by a surprise victory in Michigan.

Sanders’ stump speech makes a point of reaching out to all ages and all ethnicities. Still, it’s clear that his appeal is particularly strong among those of college-age, many of whom embrace his promise of tuition-free education at public universities and colleges.

Hillary Clinton at the St. Louis Carpenters Apprenticeship School in Affton.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Given what happened with the Trump campaign and protests, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to address the Republican frontrunner: “If you play with matches, you can start a fire you cannot control,’’ Clinton said. “That is not leadership. It’s political arson.”

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders tells supporters at Affton High School that he's hoping Missouri gives him a surprise victory in Tuesday's primary.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is banking on Missouri primary backers to provide the campaign boost that he got last week by a surprise victory in Michigan.

“I think we’re going to win a lot of states on Tuesday,’’ Sanders declared Sunday, touching off deafening cheers from the crowd packing the Affton High School gym.

Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Before renewing her promises to bolster the nation’s economy, Hillary Clinton first launched Saturday into a fiery condemnation of those she said were out to destroy it.

“The ugly, divisive rhetoric that we are hearing from Donald Trump and the encouragement that he has given to violence and aggressiveness is not only wrong, it’s dangerous, my friends,’’ declared the Democratic presidential contender, touching off deafening cheers from the crowd packing the Carpenters’ union training facility in Affton.

Jay Ashcroft
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome secretary of state aspirant Jay Ashcroft to the program for the first time.

Former President Bill Clinton speaks in support of the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, his wife, at a rally in Bridgeton.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

For 40 minutes, Bill Clinton embraced his image as "explainer in chief" as he laid out a series of reasons he believed his wife is the most qualified and best candidate to be the next president.

His audience Tuesday consisted of several hundred Hillary Clinton supporters, many of them union members and party activists, packing the Machinists union hall in Bridgeton.

Proposition B asks to voters to allow their local city or county to continue collecting sales tax on cars bought out of state
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 3 p.m. March 8 with Trump details -- Former President Bill Clinton will be in St. Louis on Tuesday to campaign for his wife, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

On the Republican side: Donald Trump plans to be in town Friday; Sen. Ted Cruz is slated to be here Saturday to address St. Louis County Republicans, said county GOP chairman Bruce Buwalda. His wife Heidi Cruz was in the Metro East on Tuesday morning.

Attorney General Chris Koster kicks off his gubernatorial campaign at Missouri Democrat Days.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In the latest Politically Speaking podcast, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum use a different format to focus on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the likely Democratic nominee for governor.

Last weekend at Democrat Days in Hannibal, Koster delivered his first major speech since filing for office. Afterwards, he talked with Jo Mannies extensively on a variety of issues – from campaign-finance reform to the Ferguson unrest.

Attorney General Chris Koster kicks off his gubernatorial campaign at Missouri Democrat Days.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:45 p.m. March 5 -HANNIBAL, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the likely Democratic nominee for governor, has launched his sharpest public attacks yet against his former GOP brethren when he accused Republican leaders nationally and in Missouri of embracing irresponsible and “economically stupid’’ actions because of their hatred of President Barack Obama.

Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Retired U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., is endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – a move that could single a shift by more Missouri backers of  Jeb Bush, who has dropped out.

In a statement first given Friday to St. Louis Public Radio, Bond said:

“I’ve carefully looked at all the candidates running for President and it’s clear to me that Marco Rubio is the strong conservative we need as our nominee. As a former governor and senator, I know about leadership, and I’ve come to see that Marco is a born leader who will steer our country in the right direction.”

File Photo

Northeast Missouri no longer votes for many Democrats, either to the General Assembly or for statewide office.

Even so, many of Missouri’s most prominent Democrats will be in Hannibal this weekend to participate in a tradition that has gone on for decades. Some of northeast Missouri's remaining Democrats will be hosting the 45th annual Democrat Days, the first of a series of regional gatherings around the state that go on for months.

Rexsinquefield.org

Updated 10:45 a.m. March 4 with second Sinquefield donation - A new campaign committee is targeting St. Louis’ earning tax, the continuation of which will go before city voters next month. And like the last time, wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield is financing the opposition.

The group is called Vote NO on the E-Tax. A spokesman confirmed that Sinquefield will be underwriting the group’s campaign operations. The Missouri Ethics Commission has reported that Sinquefield donated $618,360 to the group on March 1.

A spokesman for Vote NO said the donation amount reflected the city's population in 1970, one of its peak years. However, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded the city's 1970 population at 622,236.

On Friday, Sinquefield gave the group another $452,804 -- for a total of $1.07 million in less than a week. The city's population never reached 1 million.

Russ Carnahan
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 U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat recently declared his return to electoral politics when he announced his lieutenant governor bid.

Proposition B asks to voters to allow their local city or county to continue collecting sales tax on cars bought out of state
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Who would have thought it?

Even a few weeks ago, some pundits predicted that Missouri and its presidential delegates – Republican (52) and Democrat (84) – would be inconsequential in this year’s combative contests.

But now, most everybody concedes that’s no longer the case. Missouri, Illinois and the three other states holding March 15th primaries – Ohio, Florida and North Carolina -- will likely matter a lot.

Chance Bedell and Stephanie Weidner hand out stickers to attendees before the start of an ice cream social at Lincoln Days.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to any issue, from abortion to tax cuts, Missouri’s four major Republican candidates for governor admit there’s little daylight between them.

All support gun rights and pledge to put in place a “right to work” law restricting union rights. All oppose abortion and promise to block any settlement of Syrian refugees in Missouri.

Their only key disagreement — laid out at this weekend’s Lincoln Days festivities -- is which is the strongest Republican to take on the likely Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Catherine Hanaway
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 GOP gubernatorial aspirant Catherine Hanaway.

The former Speaker of the Missouri House speaker and U.S. attorney was the first Republican to jump into the wide-open 2016 contest for governor. She appeared on Politically Speaking back in 2014, a few weeks after officially announcing her foray back into electoral politics.

Eric Schmitt, left, a state senator from Glendale, will be opposed by Dan Brown, a state senator from Rolla, in the Republican primary for state treasurer.
File photos | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

(UPDATED 12:40 p.m. Thurs, Feb. 25) The biggest surprise of Missouri’s statewide candidate filings so far is that the GOP apparently will have a primary for state treasurer, despite expectations that state Sen. Eric Schmitt’s huge financial edge would give him a free ride.

And the Republican rival who filed against Schmitt, R-Glendale, had publicly endorsed him just three weeks ago.

Candidates for offices throughout the state line up to file for the August primary ballot.
Mallory Daily | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Hundreds of Missouri candidates flocked to Jefferson City Tuesday to take part in the longstanding ritual of standing in line — in some cases for hours — to participate in the first day of candidate-filing for the August and November ballots.

All the major candidates for U.S. Senate and governor filed, along with contenders for other statewide offices, Congress and the General Assembly. And to many, the first-day symbolism counts as much as the substance.

Sen. Blunt, wife Abigail, son Charlie 2-19-16
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is launching his re-election bid by sticking to familiar conservative themes — his belief in fewer federal regulations, his opposition to Obamacare and his pledge to oppose any Supreme Court nominee.

In fact, Blunt told allies gathered Friday morning in an Arnold-area factory that he wouldn’t even vote to confirm his own daughter, a lawyer, should she somehow become the choice of President Barack Obama. 

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11 p.m. Feb. 18 with Clinton office opening - Although Missouri is often portrayed as a Republican-leaning state, it’s the two Democratic presidential candidates – Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders –who are the first to open office space in the state for the March 15 presidential primary.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.,  headlined a rally Thursday night officially opening the St. Louis office for presidential contender Hillary Clinton. Most the state’s top Democrats already have endorsed her, including Gov. Jay Nixon.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says a drug registry would save lives.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is renewing her call for Missouri legislators to pass a bill monitoring the sales of prescription drugs. Missouri is the only state that has no such database in place.

McCaskill, a Democrat, contends that failure to pass such a law has contributed to Missouri’s epidemic of people abusing opioid prescription drugs and heroin. She blamed Missouri’s lack of monitoring on “a few legislators who believe this system would violate people’s privacy.”

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Eric Greitens is responding to a YouTube video questioning his military service.
Screen capture | YouTube

Updated Monday, Feb. 15, 6:35 p.m. Includes John Brunner's reply to Eric Greitens' blasts — Almost a year after Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Schweich killed himself because of an alleged “whispering campaign,’’ the Missouri GOP is again roiled by similar controversies.

And Eric Greitens, a GOP candidate for governor, is accusing his rivals — most notably, businessman John Brunner — of possibly being behind an attack video, released last week on YouTube, that accuses Greitens of embellishing his military career as a Navy SEAL.

Sen. Jill Schupp
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, Sen. Jill Schupp returns to the show for the third time to talk about the Missouri General Assembly’s fast start.

The Creve Coeur Democrat was elected to the 24th District Senate, which encompasses more than 20 municipalities in St. Louis County. Schupp is part of an eight-person Democratic caucus that’s seen its influence wane as the GOP made gains in the General Assembly’s upper chamber.

Eric Greitens, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, opened a campaign office in Crestwood earlier this week. Feb. 8 2016
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

For all the months of declarations and endorsements, the campaign season really gets underway when candidates begin opening their field offices, and their first TV ads hit the airwaves. The season also often kicks off with a broadside attack.

This week, all three happened.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal Sen. D. U City
Provided by Chappelle-Nadal's office

The Missouri Democratic Party’s voter list is once again a target of candidates who currently can’t get access to the sought-after files – this time because they’re challenging Democratic incumbents.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, is furious that so far she is blocked from the file – known as VAN – for the 1st Congressional District. She is challenging U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-University City, in the August Democratic primary. And although Clay and his rival are African-American, Chappelle-Nadal contends that race may be an issue in the voter-file fight.

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