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

Reporters interview surrogates following the presidential debate at Washington University.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Inside a spin room packed to the gills with reporters, campaign surrogates tried to put their best face forward about the debate.

“The first 20 minutes started out a little rocky,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Salem, Missouri. “But the next hour and 10 minutes was focused on a lot of policy and issues that Americans are really paying a lot of attention to: health care, taxation, the Supreme Court vacancies. So I thought that was pretty good.”

But Smith’s colleague, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, had a much dimmer view of Trump’s performance.

Washington University cheerleaders perform on MSNBC before the start of the presidential debate on Sunday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a debate that started without a handshake and with very sharp attacks, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ended saying something they admired about the other. They also shook hands.

Sometimes the presidential candidates answered audience questions directly. But on taxes, on Syria, on leaked emails and uncovered video tape, they frequently used their time to try to make predetermined points.

All throughout the day on Sunday, people in and around Washington University became immersed in the events leading up to and following the debate.  

Workers put on final touches for Sunday's Washington University debate setting
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

At Sunday night’s presidential debate, about 40 St. Louis area undecided voters will get a chance to pose questions to Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

They are being chosen by the Gallup polling organization, which has undertaken the job in previous town-hall debates, at the behest of the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Departments..

But lots of other things have changed, when it comes to the town-hall format, since a similar debate was held in 2004 at Washington University between then-President George W. Bush and the Democratic nominee, then-Sen. John Kerry.

A portion of the audience at a 2016 Washington University student debate. They also are among the millennial voters that candidates seek to attract.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Reaching younger voters may be one benefit of using college campuses for presidential debates.  Which, no doubt, is one of the goals for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as they prepare to take the stage Sunday at Washington University.

A recent campus debate at Wash U between the college Republicans and Democrats offers a window into the candidates’ dilemma, as they seek to woo millennials, many of whom don’t align themselves with either major party.

Jay Ashcroft
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 Republican secretary of state nominee Jay Ashcroft to the program.

Ashcroft was on the show earlier this year when he was running in a competitive GOP primary against state Sen. Will Kraus. Ashcroft defeated the Lee’s Summit Republican in a landslide, and now faces Democrat Robin Smith in the general election.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democratic nominee for governor, says he’s doing no more debates with Republican Eric Greitens unless Greitens releases his tax returns.

Koster made public his last four years of returns last week.

Greitens says he’s keeping his returns private, and he accuses Koster of backing out of any more debates because he’s “running scared’’ after their only joint appearance last week.

St. Louis County's temporary absentee-voting office is in Maplewood's Deer Creek shopping center.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri’s largest bloc of votes, St. Louis County often makes or breaks elections, determining which statewide candidates claim victory, and which ballot issues become law.

But with a St. Louis judge imposing more restrictions on absentee ballots, the impact in St. Louis County is significant – and may have statewide repercussions.

Robin Smith October 2016
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 Democratic secretary of state nominee Robin Smith to the show for the first time.

Smith is squaring off against Republican secretary of state nominee Jay Ashcroft later this fall. Ashcroft recently recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that will air later this week.

The Missouri Capitol building.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10/28 – Public accusations of sexual assault made by one Missouri House nominee against another are now the subject of a lawsuit.

Steve Roberts Jr., who won the Democratic primary for the House's 77th District seat, filed suit Thursday against Cora Faith Walker, who won the House 74th District Democratic primary.  Walker has accused Roberts of drugging and sexually assaulting her during a visit to his apartment in August to discuss political matters.

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, stuck to their long-standing playbooks of pitches and attacks during their first – and possibly, only – joint appearance on the same stage.

They were among five U.S. Senate contenders on stage at Friday’s forum in Branson sponsored by the Missouri Press Association. 

Although Kander has accepted two other debate invitations, Blunt so far has not.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens, Missouri’s Republican nominee for governor, launched a barrage of aggressive attacks against Democrat Chris Koster during the duo’s first joint appearance. But it’s unclear if any of those verbal shots did political damage.

The two were among all five Missouri candidates for governor who participated Friday in a one-hour forum in Branson hosted by the Missouri Press Association.

Greitens, a former Navy SEAL and author, took aim at Koster’s 20-year political career as a county prosecutor, state senator and currently Missouri’s attorney general. Greitens contended that Koster was part of the “serial corruption’’ in state government.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster speaks at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a move reminiscent of the presidential contest, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster — Missouri’s Democratic nominee for governor — has released his last four years of tax returns.  And he is calling for Republican rival Eric Greitens to do the same.

“We believe it is important to voters that Mr. Greitens release the same information the attorney general has to give voters an understanding of any conflicts he may have if elected governor,” the campaign said in a statement. “The question is, will Eric Greitens blink now?”

At left, Kristin Sosanie of the Missouri Democratic Party criticizes Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens. Greitens' former opponent, Catherine Hanaway, goes after Democrat Chris Koster.
Hannah Westerman and Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Amid dueling news conferences held in the same building, Missouri’s two major candidates for governor are accusing each other of giving short-shrift to women, especially when it comes to sex trafficking and domestic violence.

Both candidates – Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens – were accused of displaying poor judgment on women’s issues and of accepting money from donors with questionable character when it comes to the treatment of women.

Steven Bailey
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 1st Congressional District Republican nominee Steve Bailey to the program.

Bailey is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay in a district that takes in all of St. Louis and some of St. Louis County. Clay, D-St. Louis, was a guest on Politically Speaking a few days ago.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster with images of money
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen much of Missouri’s statewide candidates on the road this week, here’s the answer: They’re probably on the phone.

Friday is the money-raising deadline for the last major campaign-finance reports due before the Nov. 8 election. Although money can still be collected afterward, the reports – officially due Oct. 17 – often are seen as a way to create momentum for the final few weeks before the public heads to the polls.

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay speaks at a press conference earlier this year.
Wiley Price I St. Louis American

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay to the program.

Clay recently emerged victorious in a contested Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District, which encompasses St. Louis and parts of St. Louis County. Both Lacy Clay and his father Bill Clay have represented the 1st District since 1969, and in the process have cultivated one of the state’s most important political organizations.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., plans to travel around Missouri and the country in coming weeks campaigning for favored candidates and causes on the Nov. 8 ballot. Among her activities: attempting to defeat her Missouri colleague, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. – even though they often work together.

“It is awkward,’’ McCaskill said in an interview. But as she sees it, she’s simply mirroring Blunt’s actions of a few years ago.

Bruce Franks
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Bruce Franks to show. The St. Louis Democrat won a landslide victory last week in a special primary election over state Rep. Penny Hubbard. He will have a Republican opponent, Eric Shelquist,  in November.

File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 20 with high court ruling – Within the past 24 hours, the Missouri Supreme Court has taken actions guaranteeing that two disputed ballot initiatives will go before voters in November.

The most recent action came Tuesday afternoon, when the High Court unanimously ruled in favor of Amendment 3, which would raise Missouri's cigarette tax by as much as $1.27 a pack.  It would use the proceeds to fund early childhood education programs, and would bring in an estimated $300 million a year.

Former Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee
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 Auditor Susan Montee to the program.

Montee is a former St. Joseph councilwoman and Buchanan County auditor who successful sought the office of state auditor in 2006. One of her selling points was the fact that she was both a certified public accountant and an attorney.

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

Democrat Jason Kander’s new TV ad, which shows him assembling an assault weapon blindfolded, already has been hailed by the Washington Post as the best campaign ad so far this year.

That’s just the latest evidence of the national attention – and money – that’s been pouring into Missouri for months to aid or attack Kander or the man he hopes to defeat in November, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Curran | Flickr

If an initiative’s ballot title promises free puppies to all voters, but its language actually calls for expanding puppy mills, should the proposal be allowed to remain on the ballot?

That question, posed Thursday by a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, gets at the heart of the court fight to decide whether a proposal to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax by $1.27 a pack can remain on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Both sides argued before the high court early Thursday. A ruling is expected within days.

open carry walk photo and vote here sign
Camille Phillips and Rachel Heidenry | File Photos

Updated 11:30 p.m. -  The Missouri General Assembly has acted to ease restrictions on guns and add more requirements for voters.

That’s the upshot of Wednesday’s veto session, where lawmakers overrode most of Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes of various bills.

Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson listens to representatives speak on the last day of the legislative session.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies go guestless, so to speak, to analyze the lay of the land before the Missouri General Assembly’s veto session.

When lawmakers return to the Capitol for the Wednesday afternoon session, the two biggest bills will be a multi-faceted gun bill and legislation implementing a photo identification requirement to vote. But even though they haven’t attracted as much attention, nearly two dozen other bills could potentially receive veto override attempts.

Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein sees a path to victory — or, at minimum, more public attention to her key issues — if the Commission on Presidential Debates will bend its rules and allow her and Libertarian Gary Johnson to join in the presidential debates.

“We’re talking about just four candidates’’ on stage, Stein said, referring to the series of four debates that begin in about two weeks.  Washington University will host one of them, on Oct. 9.

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

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is headlining a growing list of party dignitaries likely to attend Saturday’s funeral here of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly.

Relatives say that Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., also are expected. Both were “very close friends’’ with Schlafly, said daughter Anne Cori. Other expected attendees include Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus.

The mass is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End. Visitation is underway at the Kriegshauser Mortuary-West Chapel until 8 p.m. tonight.

Wikipedia

Two percent.

That’s the most realistic, and important, objective of the Missouri Green Party as it prepares for Saturday’s rally in St. Louis featuring the party’s presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein.

Win or lose, the state party stands to gain if Stein or another Green Party candidate collects at least 2 percent of the Missouri vote. The gain? Automatic ballot access.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speaks to a crowd of supporters at a Chesterfield DoubleTree on Tuesday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Buoyed by the latest polls, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence exuberantly told local supporters that Americans are embracing Donald Trump’s message of change.

Speaking before a packed ballroom Tuesday in Chesterfield, Pence sought to promote Trump’s personality as well as his policies. “He’s a distinctly American leader,” Pence said, with a soft chuckle. “He is his own man and he’s a doer, he’s a builder. He’s a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers.”

State Rep. Stacey Newman
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 Rep. Stacey Newman to talk about the legislature’s upcoming veto session – and the November election.

Newman is a Richmond Heights Democrat who entered the legislature in 2010 after a special election. With the exception of a zany Democratic primary in 2012, Newman’s subsequent elections have been relatively easy. For instance: She was completely unopposed this cycle, meaning she will return to the Missouri House for her final term.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Missouri state government’s income collections were down in August, but state Budget Director Dan Haug says it’s too early to panic.

A key reason for the decline is that August 2015’s income collections — particularly for the sales tax — were unusually high.

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