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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The national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is finally swooping into Missouri with a TV ad aimed at helping Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan by bashing her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt.

The lawyer for Russ Carnahan's former campaign worker accused by some of tossing a molotov cocktail into the congressman's campaign office says the worker is innocent and no evidence links him to the incident.

"He's vigorously denying the allegations,'' said lawyer Susan Roach, referring to her client, Chris Powers.

She confirmed that police investigating the Aug. 17 incident interviewed Powers, but added, "there's no evidence that would place him at the scene of the crime."

The Missouri Democratic Party owns up to two special websites -- theveryworstofwashington.com and favorofthemonth.com -- set up solely to highlight what it views as the failings of the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Roy Blunt.

As Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is being bombarded with negative TV attack ads, the Missouri Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against one of the sources.

Missouri's two members of the U.S. Senate, Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond and Democrat Claire McCaskill, may disagree on most issues -- but are on the same page when it comes to wooing closer business ties with China.

The two are leading a state delegation to China on Sunday. The group will include "government, business and civic leaders along with the Midwest-China Hub Commission," a commission release said today.

In the 8th District congressional contest, Democrat Tommy Sowers and Republican incumbent Jo Ann Emerson both have new TV ads on the air. Both spots go negative, which is unusual so far out before the Nov. 2 election.  

Candidates often wait until after Labor Day to take off the verbal gloves, in part because that's when voters are most likely to pay attention.

The ad attacks by Emerson and Sowers both fit in with their respective party line.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, told reporters Wednesday afternoon that it was "outrageous'' for some conservative critics to allege that his campaign had orchestrated last week's firebombing of his campaign office.

"It's very sobering when you have a fire set in your office,'' he said, calling the whole episode "a nightmare."

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, on Tuesday clarified her position on the Bush tax cuts by saying that she eventually may support a phaseout of tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans once the economy was back on track.

"It's a matter of timing. Right now is not the time to do this," Carnahan said in an interview after she had addressed members of the Missouri National Education Association in a tele-town hall held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's re-election campaign announced today that it is agreeing to one debate, moderated by the League of Women Voters and televised throughout the region.

"A television debate that everyone can see," said campaign manager John Temporiti, adding that he hoped such a debate would be viewed on the Web as well as on broadcast television.

The timing of such a debate would be up to the League, he added.

The two current lines of attack lobbed at Missouri's two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate -- Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan -- both revolve around the same word: Deceit.

He's accused of misrepresenting his role and votes in the federal bank bailout, while she's under fire for switching her stances on the Bush tax cuts.

Missouri voters are likely to hear a lot about both issues as the Senate race heads into its final two-month stretch.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has retooled his lawsuit against the federal health-care law to make it clear that he's not suing on behalf of the state of Missouri.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, in turn, dropped his court challenge of Kinder's initial suit, which Koster said at the time was ambiguous as to the lieutenant governor's intent.

Karla May, left, and Hope Whitehead
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | file photo

State Rep. Hope Whitehead, D-St. Louis, is challenging her narrow defeat in the Aug. 3 primary by Karla May, who was backed by Mayor Francis Slay.

Whitehead has scheduled a news conference at noon today downtown, in front of the Civil Courts building, where she plans to file a lawsuit asserting that city Democratic Party chairman Brian Wahby improperly allowed May to post "challengers" inside the polling locations.

In what's already shaping up as a take-no-prisoners U.S. Senate contest in Missouri, the independent spending is about to explode.

Joe Biden in stl
Bill Greenblat | UPI | 2010

Vice President Joe Biden exhorted fellow Democrats gathered here Friday to remember what they stand for, and what they've delivered, when they make their case to the American public to keep Democrats in control in Washington, and to elect more Democratic governors.

Biden contended that Democrats can fare best in this fall's elections if the party and its candidates "lay out honestly what we did and honestly what the alternative is."

As it stands, said Biden and other national Democratic leaders, Americans are hearing a earful of inaccuracies and some outright lies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine asserted Thursday that the Republican emphasis on the proposed mosque near New York's Ground Zero, and the growing inaccurate belief that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, "confirm a narrative" that the GOP is "whipping up fear and division" in the hope that such destructive tactics will win votes.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine asserted Thursday that the Republican emphasis on the proposed mosque near New York's Ground Zero, and the growing inaccurate belief that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, "confirm a narrative" that the GOP is "whipping up fear and division" in the hope that such destructive tactics will win votes.

"The party of 'No' is wanting to go backward," Kaine told reporters after addressing national Democratic officials during today's "executive committee" portion of its two-day meeting in St Louis.

The campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is demanding an apology this morning from the camp of Republican rival Roy Blunt, in the wake of a new Blunt campaign Web video -- now pulled off the internet -- that features footage from New York City's Ground Zero, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, juxaposed with audio of Carnahan declining to take a position on a mosque proposed to be built nearby.

Carnahan, currently Missouri's secretary of state, said in a statement this morning:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says that President Barack Obama has issued a major disaster declaration for "areas across Missouri hit by flooding, severe storms and excessive rain during June and July."

Such a declaration means that the federal government will cover 75 percent of the eligible emergency response and recovery expenses, beginning with the storms on June 12.

State Rep. Cynthia Davis will still wield political clout, even though she lost her Republican bid for the state Senate.

Davis, R-O'Fallon, confirmed this afternoon that she has been elected chair of the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee, effective immediately. The vote, conducted Tuesday night, was unanimous, she said.

Davis' selection for the unpaid but powerful post underscores the clout of the Tea Party movement in St. Charles County.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, has gone on the air with her first campaign TV spot -- which features her in jeans talking about jobs, blasting Washington and "the government."

Emerson, who has been in office since 1996 and remains Missouri's first and only Republican woman elected to Congress, offers up an outside-the-beltway image as she heads into her latest re-election bid.

Republican congressional candidate Ed Martin condemned late Tuesday the suspected arson attack on the campaign headquarters of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay appears to be the first prominent Missouri politician -- Democrat or Republican -- to weigh in on the national debate over the proposed construction of a new Islamic center and mosque in New York.  

The proposed site is just a few blocks away from Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center towers stood before they were destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people (in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.).

Democrats in Missouri are abuzz over today's report in Politico, the national online politics site, about the "$22 million TV ad blitz" soon to be launched by the National Republican Congressional Committee in 40 House districts around the country.

No Missouri House seats are among them, despite frequent national GOP assertions that U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and Ike Skelton, D-Lexington, are among their targets.

A top official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is accompanying the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S Rep. Roy Blunt, around the state today to emphasize the chamber's commitment to help the congressman from southwest Missouri as he seeks to succeed another of their favorites -- retiring U.S. Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond.

At a "prayer vigil" held Monday night by his allies, state Rep. Brian Nieves blamed his legal troubles on unnamed "kingmakers and the powerbrokers in the state of Missouri" who he contends want to block his likely ascension to the Missouri Senate.

"They want to hang me up like a scarecrow," asserted Nieves, R-Washington, to at least 150 people attending a riverfront rally in downtown Washington, Mo. The crowd frequently broke into cheers and standing ovations to show their support.

Hometown supporters of embattled state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, Mo., are planning to hold a prayer vigil beginning at 6 p.m. this evening in Rennick Riverfront Park.

Nieves is telling allies that he didn't organize the event but does plan to attend. Allies say it is in response to the legal problems he faces as a result of an allegedly combative encounter in Nieves' office the day after he won the Aug. 3 GOP primary for the 26th District state Senate post.

Amid state and national handwringing among Democratic officials and the faithful, Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine are headlining a meeting of national and regional Democrats in St. Louis later this week.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was quick to thank the U.S. House Tuesday for its vote in favor of a bill allocating $26 billion to the states to stem projected teacher layoffs and Medicaid cuts, in the wake of the continued economic downturn.

In Missouri's case, more than half of its expected share will go toward the next fiscal year's budget, said state Budget Director Linda Luebbering in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

With legal fights looming, state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, is becoming more visible and vocal in defending himself against accusations that he threatened and assaulted a campaign worker for a GOP rival.

The first related court hearing, originally set for Thursday morning in Cole County, has been postponed until Sept. 2.

Missouri's two major nominees for the U.S. Senate -- Democrat Robin Carnahan and Republican Roy Blunt -- are launching new campaign efforts as they head into the final dog days of August.

And both camps are focusing on Blunt.

Carnahan has just gone up on the air with her campaign's first TV ad, which is running statewide. Although allied groups have run ads attacking Blunt (an indirect benefit for Carnahan) since late last year, this is the first spot that the Carnahan campaign is paying for.

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