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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Eric Greitens, one of four Missouri GOP candidates for governor, sought Sunday night to clarify his position when it comes to a proposed Missouri law that would bar government penalties against “individuals and religious entities who refuse to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies due to sincerely held religious beliefs.”

During a candidate forum at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Greitens said his opposition to the measure — known as Senate Joint Resolution 39 — stems from its approach, not its aim. Greitens said he wants Missouri to avoid the economic backlash that has hurt socially conservative states like North Carolina and Mississippi, which recently passed laws deemed anti-gay.

Kurt Schaefer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Kurt Schaefer to the program. The Columbia Republican, who usually sports cowboy boots, last was a guest of the show in late 2014.

Curran | Flickr

For all the talk about increasing Missouri’s tobacco tax to provide more money for education and transportation, the state’s two dueling tobacco-tax proposals appear caught in a longstanding dispute that has nothing to do with their objectives.

Tobacco companies are the chief donors to both initiative-petition campaigns that seek to increase the state’s 17-cent-a-pack tobacco tax, now the nation’s lowest. One would raise the tax by 23 cents a pack to pay for transportation improvements, while the other would hike the tax by 60 cents a pack to pay for early childhood programs.

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

With Missouri’s primary and general elections just months away, some of the state’s top candidates are focusing on their base as much as their bank account.

That’s particularly true of the state’s U.S. Senate candidates — Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and his Democratic rival, Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Democratic National Convention 1876
Cornell University Collection of Political Americana

Donald Trump may have won Missouri’s Republican primary on March 15, but there’s no guarantee he’ll win the delegate war that’s about to get underway.

Later this week, both state parties will begin the three-tier caucus system that will be used to select most of the 84 Democratic delegates and 52 Republican delegates who will attend the parties’ presidential elections.

Elijah Haahr
Mallory Daily | St. Louis Public Radio intern

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. Elijah Haahr to the show for the first time.

The Springfield Republican was first elected to the Missouri House in 2012. Haahr represents a somewhat suburban area of Springfield, an area that encompasses a very popular Bass Pro Shop. And he is chairman of the House Emerging Issues Committee, which has been a staging area for some high-profile pieces of legislation.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after the Missouri General Assembly returns Tuesday from its weeklong recess, lawmakers are expected to attempt their first override this session of a bill vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

And either way, the vote could be close.

The bill in question – dubbed by backers as “paycheck protection’’ and by critics as “paycheck deception” – would make it tougher for many public-employee unions and teacher groups to collect dues or fees.

Michael Brown Sr. and organizers with his Chosen for Change Foundation talk outside the Ferguson Community Center after the City Council's vote to approve the terms of the Department of Justice's consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few months ago, Starsky Wilson ended his time on the Ferguson Commission with stirring and strong words for politicians who would have to do the work ahead.

“If the win for you is getting elected, we don’t need you,” said Wilson, the president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation. “If you eat steak because you got what you wanted in the community that’s still fighting for a generation, you’re not the one.”

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay back to the program for the second time.

The Democratic citywide official has been in office since 2001 and already is the longest-serving mayor in the city's history. Slay has developed a sophisticated and successful political organization, and he’s often played a big role in helping other candidates and ballot issues succeed.

Both sides in the earnings-tax campaign are mailing fliers.
Scanned documents

If you are a wage earner and live or work in the city of St. Louis, you pay the city’s 1 percent earnings tax. No exceptions.

Ads and fliers that claim otherwise are “a big lie,’’ says Mary Ellen Ponder, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay. 

The ads and fliers come from the group, Vote No On The E-Tax. It is running a vigorous campaign to persuade St. Louis voters to decide on April 5 to phase out the city’s earnings tax, which has been in place since 1959.

Justin Alferman
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. Justin Alferman to the show for the first time.

The Hermann Republican is serving his first term in the Missouri House. His heavily-GOP seat includes parts of Franklin, Gasconade and Osage counties, and it takes in most of Washington, Mo.

Missouri Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster is joining three of his Republican rivals in calling on the fourth — Eric Greitens — to return $1 million donations that he’s received from a California businessman who’s accused of keeping a woman as a sex slave for 13 years.

Greitens’ three rivals — Peter Kinder, John Brunner and Catherine Hanaway — are expected to bring up the issue during their forum tonight in Columbia, Mo.

Photos by Carolina Hidalgo, Willis Ryder Arnold and Bill Greenblatt

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, a very weary political duo – St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – break down the results of shockingly close presidential primaries in Missouri.

Stock photo of paper ballot

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.