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

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.

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.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Along with several lobbyist colleagues, Andy Blunt, the son of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, has formed a new firm, Statehouse Strategies LCC, in downtown Jefferson City near the state Capitol.

The new firm is a spinoff from a larger law and lobbying firm in which Andy Blunt had been a partner: Schreimann, Rackers, Francka and Blunt. That firm also is in the state capital.

Sen. David Pearce
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies use the magic of radio to welcome state Sen. David Pearce to the podcast for the first time.

The Warrensburg Republican has entered his final year in the Missouri Senate, as term limits will prevent him from running for re-election.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, left, and professor Josh Hawley came out swinging in their campaigns for the Republican nomination for attorney general.
official photos

As if the University of Missouri didn’t have its own troubles, the state school now is caught in the middle of arguably the nastiest political primary battle in the state.

The combatants are university law professor Josh Hawley and state Sen. Kurt Schaefer. Both are Boone County Republicans vying to be their party’s nominee this fall for Missouri attorney general.

This radiation warning sign is one of many posted on the chain link fence surrounding part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Sarah Skiold-Hanlin | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents near the West Lake landfill who have long sought a change in federal oversight are closer to getting part of their wish granted, with late Tuesday’s Senate passage of a bill that would transfer authority of the radioactive site to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Senate action came as a result of a bipartisan push by U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy |

Missouri's general-revenue income is slightly exceeding  projections as the state heads into the second half of its fiscal year.

State budget director Dan Haug says the chief reasons for the increase are an uptick in the state’s individual income tax collections and an increase in revenue from some corporate taxes.

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 12:15 p.m., Feb. 1 with additional numbers - U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-University City, holds a huge financial lead over his Democratic challenger in next summer’s primary, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal.

According to campaign finance reports filed this weekend, Clay has $423,250 in the bank. That compares to $25,186 for Chappelle-Nadal. 

Dr. Brad Bradshow is dropping his race to become the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.
Provided by Dr. Bradshaw

Democrat Brad Bradshaw is ending his campaign for lieutenant governor and ties his decision to former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan’s recent announcement that he’s jumping in.

Bradshaw, a physician and lawyer with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, also is halting his initiative-petition effort to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.

Gina Mitten
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. Gina Mitten to help break down Gov. Jay Nixon’s final State of the State address.

A Democrat, Mitten is a lawyer and resides in Richmond Heights. Before she was elected to the General Assembly in 2012, she spent eight years on the Richmond Heights City Council. She received her law degree from Washington University.

Eric Greitens
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 GOP gubernatorial hopeful Eric Greitens to the program for the first time.

The Parkway North alum is one of four Republicans seeking to succeed Gov. Jay Nixon as governor. The other candidates are Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and businessman John Brunner. (All three GOP contenders have been guests on Politically Speaking – click on each name to listen to their shows. We long have had an open invitation for the likely Democratic nominee -- Attorney General Chris Koster.)

Democrats Donkey CORRECT SIZED facing right

Hazelwood Mayor Matt Robinson is stepping down from his other political post as chairman of the St. Louis County Democratic Central Committee.

But he’s staying on as a member of the Missouri Democratic Central Committee and as a member of the Democratic National Committee.