As this election season finally winds down, St. Louis Public Radio is putting together a lot of the campaign coverage we did this year in the hope that readers can find the information they need before casting their votes.
St. Louis Public Radio did not spend a lot of time with the presidential race, except for its regional impact, and around the second debate at Washington University. NPR provided a wealth of presidential coverage, including fact-checking the debates.
But we did spend a lot of time on the major-party candidates in Missouri's statewide races and the issues. So, we now provide this summary of our work with links to articles. Note: In the summaries below, the links attached to names usually go to Politically Speaking podcasts where you can hear the candidates discussing issues.
Senate: Republican Roy Blunt vs. Democrat Jason Kander
The incumbent, Blunt, is running squarely on his record. Kander is trying to project an outsider status. He did, however, welcome Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign help. The race is getting national attention, as many outside of Missouri seem to find Kander’s strength to be surprising.
Blunt and Kander have both tried to appeal to veterans: the incumbent through his voting record, the challenger through personal experience. Their one joint forum appearance included their stock talking points. Attempts to put the blame for problems in the St. Louis and St. Louis County election commissions on Kander fell short, because problems also cropped up when Blunt was secretary of state.
Governor: Republican Eric Greitens vs. Democrat Chris Koster
The most expensive state race in the country pits a former Navy Seal who started a service organization for veterans, Greitens, against Missouri’s attorney general, Koster. Greitens is promoting the fact that he’s never run for public office, but that outsider status may well have cost him endorsements from traditionally Republican-friendly groups such as the NRA, and the Farm Bureau.
Their one face-off was contentious, and plans for a second debate were scrapped after Koster released his tax returns and Greitens refused to do so. The two agree on opposition to the tobacco tax proposals on the ballot, but not on all the other issues. Other issues raised were responses to Ferguson and use of vouchers for education funding. In an echo of the presidential race, they also talked about who respected women more.
Lieutenant governor: Republican Mike Parson vs. Democrat Russ Carnahan
Both the state senator, Parson, and the former member of Congress, Carnahan, are running on their records. Parson is emphasizing views that he says are more in line with most Missourians. While Carnahan says that he could bring some balance in presiding over the state Senate, with its heavy Republican majority. The two were each interviewed by Marshall Griffin at the State Fair.
Attorney General: Republican Josh Hawley vs. Democrat Teresa Hensley
The law professor, Hawley, wants to use the office to tackle constitutional issues and “go after” federal policies he disagrees with. The prosecutor, Hensley, wants to use the law to go after such things as predatory lenders and fraud. They are basically saying that the experience each brings to the job would be more important to the citizens.
Secretary of State: Republican Jay Ashcroft vs. Democrat Robin Smith
Neither candidate has held elective office. Ashcroft is a lawyer and engineer. He is pushing for the photo voter ID amendment that is on the ballot and says he would try to get a broader group to review ballot language. Smith stresses her business degree as qualification for taking on business registration and regulating securities, which are part of the job. She strongly opposes the amendment that would require a current government-issues photo ID to vote. Here's look at the race.
Treasurer: Republic Eric Schmitt vs. Democrat Judy Baker
The state senator from Glendale, Schmitt, and the former state representative from Columbia, Baker, both stress competence. Schmitt’s chief issue is his pledge to block any state investment dollars from going to companies that conduct business with countries that promote terrorism, notably Iran, Syria and Sudan. Baker says she wants to improve Missouri’s college savings program, known as MOST, by making it a “college and career” savings program to help finance technical training and apprenticeship programs. Here's a look at the race.
Constitutional Amendment 1
A “yes” vote will continue for 10 years the one-tenth of 1 percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites. This will be resubmitted to the voters for approval in 10 years.
Constitutional Amendment 2
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office. This amendment prohibits individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions.
Constitutional Amendment 3
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20. This amendment also creates a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack on certain cigarettes. This amendment further provides that the funds generated by these taxes and fees shall be deposited into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund.
Constitutional Amendment 4
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction. This amendment only applies to any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of Jan. 1, 2015.
Constitutional Amendment 6
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to state that voters may be required by law to verify their identity, citizenship and residence by presenting identification when they vote that may include valid government-issued photo identification. Exceptions to this identification requirement may also be provided by law.
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019 and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20. This amendment also increases the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price. This amendment further provides that the funds generated by these taxes shall be used exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects. These taxes are repealed if a measure to increase any tax or fee on cigarettes or other tobacco products is certified to appear on any local or statewide ballot.
Other people and issues
Proposition in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County
Select state Senate races
Area state House races
St. Louis County Council