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.

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Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
File photo, Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Numbers don’t lie.

Overall, Missouri voters cast only 30,000 more votes for president Tuesday than they did four years ago.  But there was a 270,000-vote difference in who they backed.

That swing helps explain Tuesday’s GOP wave.

Eric Greitens addresses the crowd at his victory party on Nov. 9, 2016.
File photo| Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans won big Tuesday, sweeping all statewide offices and putting the party almost totally in charge of the Missouri Capitol beginning in January.

And in part, they have Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to thank. His Missouri coattails of 20 percentage points arguably provided a strong wind at the GOP’s back.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster, with Senate candidate Jason Kander in the background, and Republican Eric Greitens end their day-before election blitz in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI and Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated with late rallies) - Nothing illustrates the tightness of Missouri’s top contests – and the pivotal role of St. Louis area voters – like dueling rallies held within hours of each other.

So does the last-minute appeals by President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Late Monday, Trump tweeted his support for GOP gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens. Meanwhile, Obama is appearing in a radio ad and in robocalls for the Democrat running for governor, Chris Koster.

The line of St. Louis County voters seeking to cast absentee ballots on Saturday stretched across Deer Creek Plaza shopping center in Maplewood, where the county's only voting office is situated.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

A top St. Louis County elections official says this fall’s absentee balloting is in line with the turnout in 2012, despite the stunning long lines seen outside the county’s only balloting office.

On Saturday, the line of hundreds of potential voters stretched across Deer Creek Plaza, a shopping center that spans several blocks in Maplewood. Voting continued for some time after the 1 p.m. closing, because all voters in line at that time are by law allowed to vote.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri is seeing an unprecedented flood of outside money – some of it the hard-to-trace “dark money” – aimed at the state’s candidates for the U.S. Senate and governor.

But there’s a stark contrast between how the money flows into the two contests, because of the difference in federal and state campaign-finance laws.

Screen captures from ads by Democrat Chris Koster, top, and Republican Eric Greitens
YouTube

If you think you’re being bombarded with TV ads for Missouri’s governor’s contest, you’re right. The Missouri governor’s race is the top state-level contest in the country, when it comes to ad spending, and ads airing.

That’s according to the Center for Public Integrity, an award-winning nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks political spending. It says that Missouri’s battle for governor, including last summer’s nasty GOP primary, is responsible for about 27 percent of the nation’s TV ads aired for state-level contests this year, and about 13 percent of the ad spending.

File photo

After leading the fight to get the proposed tobacco tax increase known as Proposition A on the ballot, Ron Leone is forsaking that proposal so he can focus on defeating its rival.

“We’ve had to leave the fate of Proposition A to the gods,” said Leone, executive director of Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores. “Our entire focus of our resources and our effort has been to defeat Amendment 3.”

Russ Carnahan 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 are pleased to welcome back Democratic lieutenant governor hopeful Russ Carnahan.

The former congressman and state representative easily won a Democratic primary earlier this year. He’s squaring off against GOP lieutenant governor nominee Mike Parson. Parson recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that can be found here.

Mike Parson
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 lieutenant governor hopeful Mike Parson.

Parson, a state senator from Bolivar, won a hotly contested GOP primary for the lieutenant governorship against Bev Randles. He’s facing off against Democrat Russ Carnahan in the general election. Carnahan recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that will be posted later this week.

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

It’s $45 million and counting for Missouri’s two major-party nominees for governor as they head into the home stretch.

That’s how much Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens have raised, as of Friday, in their record-setting battle. So far, they’ve spent close to $36 million (some of it before the Aug. 2 primary.)

Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans have spent roughly a decade trying to implement a requirement that voters show government-issued photo identification before they can cast a ballot. After numerous starts and stops, the GOP is one public vote away from achieving a long-standing public policy goal.

Amendment 6 would authorize Missouri lawmakers to pass a photo ID statute. The constitutional change is needed because the Missouri Supreme Court years earlier had tossed out photo-ID mandates, saying they violated the state constitution.

Gov. Jay Nixon October 2016
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are honored to welcome Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to the program.

The two-term Democrat spent more than an hour discussing his legacy as the state's chief executive — and provided in-depth insight into how he faced crisis while in office.

Eric Greitens, Missouri's GOP candidate for governor, embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during a get-out-the-vote rally in Chesterfield.
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker headlined a parade of Missouri Republican candidates who exhorted local allies Sunday to do all they can to help generate a GOP sweep on Nov. 8.

“If you’re going to turn the country around, first off, you need to do it in the states,” said Walker, who was campaigning primarily on behalf of Eric Greitens, Missouri’s GOP nominee for governor. Greitens is locked in a tight contest with his Democratic rival, Attorney General Chris Koster.

Walker traveled Sunday with Greitens and other Missouri candidates to the state’s most-populous regions – Springfield, Kansas City and St. Louis. The blitz came about 48 hours after Vice President Joe Biden held a St. Louis rally aimed at energizing Democrats.

U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | 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 welcome back U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner to the program.

The Ballwin Republican is seeking re-election in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District. That takes in portions of St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. Wagner is running against Democrat Bill Otto, a state representative from Maryland Heights who recorded an episode of Politically Speaking earlier this month.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt enjoys referencing the movie Spaceballs in his campaign speeches.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

In the early years of his political career,  U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt had a reputation as a reformer. 

In 1992, Blunt — then Missouri secretary of state — ran a stunning ad that accused fellow Republican Bill Webster of engaging in “pay to play” in the Missouri attorney general’s office.

Sen. Eric Schmitt
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Schmitt, the GOP candidate for Missouri treasurer, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies for the latest Politically Speaking podcast.

It’s Schmitt’s fourth appearance on the show.

Schmitt, a state senator from Glendale, faces Democrat Judy Baker on Nov. 8. Baker also has been featured on Politically Speaking.

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

Missouri’s two major candidates for governor disagree on many things. But Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens do share similar views on the dueling tobacco-tax hike proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. They oppose both of them.

That opposition could be significant, since whoever is elected governor will likely have significant roles in implementation of any of the six ballot measures that go before voters. Here’s a rundown on where Greitens and Koster stand on those issues, including some of their observations.

Curtis Faulkner
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 welcome Republican Curtis Faulkner to the program.

Faulkner is the Republican nominee for the 4th District St. Louis County Council seat. He’s running against state Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, a Blackjack Democrat who trounced incumbent Councilman Mike O’Mara earlier this summer. Walton Gray appeared on the podcast after her August primary victory.

Bill Otto
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. Bill Otto the program.

The Maryland Heights Democrat is running against U.S. Rep.Ann Wagner in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District. Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, is slated to record an episode of the podcast next week.

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster became the first Democrat endorsed by the Missouri Farm Bureau for a statewide office.
File Photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Nine years ago, Chris Koster was a state senator, a former Cass County prosecutor and a rising star within the Missouri Republican Party. Many speculated he would eventually run for governor.

And now he is running for governor, but as a Democrat.

Koster switched parties in 2007,  a stunning move that has set the course for his unusual political career.  He remains the highest-profile politician in Missouri, at least in modern times, to have made such a move

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

In a sign of how competitive Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest has become, the two major candidates – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – held dueling roundtables with area military veterans.

Wednesday’s events were intended to underscore how both men are highlighting their armed services credentials, and emphasizing their concern about the problems facing the nation’s military.

Teresa Hensley
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 Democratic attorney general nominee Teresa Hensley to the program.

Hensley is squaring off against Republican Josh Hawley in the general election for attorney general. Hawley recorded an episode of the podcast last week that can be found here.

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

The latest campaign finance reports show that Democrat Chris Koster is heading into the final weeks of the campaign for Missouri governor with far more money in the bank than Republican Eric Greitens. But the numbers aren’t up to date.

The reports, due Monday, show Koster with $6.58 million on hand. That compares to $2.7 million for Greitens. But those totals are only through Sept. 30. Since then, Greitens has gotten $6.5 million from the Republican Governors Association and Koster has collected at least $1 million from various labor groups.

Hillary Clinton St. Louis union dec. 2015
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is sending $500, 000 into Missouri to aid U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander and gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Monday the campaign is assisting Koster and Kander even though it acknowledges that Republican Donald Trump is expected to carry the state. The money is to be spent on radio ads, fliers and digital advertising.

Scott Sifton
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. Scott Sifton to the show for the fourth time.

The Affton Democrat is squaring off against Republican Randy Jotte to represent the St. Louis County-based 1st Senatorial District. Jotte recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that you can listen to here.

Randy Jotte
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 Republican Randy Jotte to the program for the first time.

Jotte is running against state Sen. Scott Sifton in the 1st Senatorial District, which takes in portions of St. Louis County. Since the 1st District is somewhat evenly divided between political parties, the Jotte-Sifton match-up is one of the most competitive state Senate contests in Missouri.

Josh Hawley
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated to link to Hensley podcast - On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Republican attorney general nominee Josh Hawley to the program.

Hawley won the GOP primary for attorney general over state Sen. Kurt Schaefer by a landslide. He will square off against Democratic attorney general nominee Teresa Hensley, who is slated to record an episode of Politically Speaking next week.

Yard signs in favor of Amendment 4, which would bar state sales taxes on services
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

As the Missouri Realtors group sees it, it’s just being proactive.

The state of Missouri doesn’t generally impose sales taxes on services. But some legislators and political donors, notably Rex Sinquefield, have for years floated the idea of expanding the state’s sales tax so they can cut or eliminate Missouri’s income tax.

Missouri Realtors and its allied groups want to kill that notion in its tracks.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Excluding the independent spending by outside groups, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander is still out-raising the man he hopes to defeat, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. But in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate contests, Blunt is the bigger spender as the duo head into their final weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

The latest campaign finance reports – made public by both contenders a few days early – show that Kander has collected just over $3 million since July.  That compares to close to $1.9 million for Blunt.

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

Missouri TV viewers may see a deluge of new ads focusing on the U.S. Senate contest — and those ads may not be from the candidates’ campaigns.

In the wake of Sunday’s presidential debate, political activists in both parties privately say they expect more outside money to be spent in the state shortly on behalf of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Why? Because of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's latest national surge in the polls. 

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