2016 Missouri elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2016 Missouri elections

Jackson County Committeeman Jalen Anderson speaks to a group of Pike County Democrats last week in Bowling Green.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

BOWLING GREEN, Mo. — After Missouri Democrats were routed in rural areas last year, the party’s leaders promised to be more aggressive in fielding candidates for the legislative districts ceded to Republicans.

Accomplishing that goal may require them to promote and fund House and Senate aspirants with socially conservative views on abortion — a strategy that makes some uneasy in a party that largely supports abortion rights. The talk also comes as the legislature holds a special session to strengthen abortion restrictions in Missouri.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to the crowd after taking the oath of office outside the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on Jan. 9, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Eric Greitens took the oath of office as Missouri’s new governor today, he ushered in an era of complete Republican control of the state’s legislative and executive branches. It’s an opportunity that many members of the GOP are relishing – even though some warn that the party risks taking all the blame if it can’t govern to Missourians’ liking.

State Treasurer Clint Zwiefel
Courtesy of Clint Zweifel's office

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Treasurer Clint Zweifel to the program.

The Democratic statewide official was kind enough to record the show on his last working day in office. He’s departing from elective life on Monday, primarily because state treasurer is one of two statewide offices that have term limits.

Reny Alfonso, 7, carries American flag pinwheels at the "Forward Together" bus tour kickoff event outside the Missouri History Museum Sunday afternoon.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Out of the seemingly infinite adjectives to describe politics in 2016, the one that came to mind is exhausting.

This year featured enough twists, turns, surprises, setbacks, revelations, triumphs and defeats to fill a set of encyclopedias. From competitive presidential and statewide primaries to epic general election battles, 2016 will clearly be remembered as a watershed year in the Show Me State's political history.

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

How does one even begin to sum up the political year that was 2016? On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, we tried.

There are no better qualified people to do that when it comes to Missouri politics than St. Louis Public Radio’s political reporting team. Marshall Griffin, statehouse reporter, as well as Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum, political reporters, joined the program.

The vast bulk of the 100 or so demonstrators at the Missouri Capitol today called on electoral college voters to reject Trump and send the presidential race to the U.S. House of Representative.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

No surprise: Missouri has officially cast its 10 presidential electoral votes for Donald Trump.

Roughly 100 demonstrators showed up at the Capitol to call on the state's presidential electors to vote against Trump and send the election to the U.S. House of Representatives. But in the end, all voted Trump for president, then Mike Pence for Vice President.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s victory margin in Missouri appears to have set a state record for a presidential contender, beating out the old one set by Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

On Nov. 8, Trump captured 523,443 more votes than the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. In 1964, Johnson defeated Republican Barry Goldwater by 510,809 votes.

Trump's number of Missouri votes – 1.594 million – also appears to set a state record for a presidential candidate.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger
Marshall Griffin 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 Sen. Brian Munzlinger.

Munzlinger is a Republican from Williamstown, an unincorporated community in Lewis County in northeast Missouri. He represents a mammoth district that includes Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Pike, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Ralls, and Randolph counties.

Rep. Stephen Webber
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say that state Rep. Stephen Webber is used to getting questions about how his age parlays with his ability to succeed in politics.

While working at the Columbia Daily Tribune in 2008, I was the first reporter to call Webber when he announced his candidacy for a Columbia-based state House seat. He was 24 when he jumped into the race, the youngest possible age someone could be to run for the Missouri House.

Rep. Michael Butler, D-St. Louis
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 state Rep. Michael Butler to the program for the second time.

The St. Louis Democrat recently won his third term in the Missouri House without major opposition. He was recently elected to House Democratic leadership, taking on the role of minority caucus chairman.

Missouri capitol
RebelAt | English Wikipedia

The Republican near-sweep of statewide offices in the Nov. 8 election in Missouri opens the path for a lot of changes in the state but none is as assured as the passage of “right to work” legislation, which would alter the ability of labor unions to require dues from members to work certain jobs.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
File photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she’s “absolutely’’ seeking re-election in two years, despite her party’s shellacking at the polls less than two weeks ago.

In the meantime, McCaskill plans to play an aggressive role in fighting Republican proposals – already being publicly discussed -- to revamp the nation’s Medicare program, which provides health care for 55 million Americans age 65 and over.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal 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 Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal to the show for the third time.

The University City Democrat was first elected to the Missouri Senate in 2010 and re-elected without substantial opposition in 2014. She will have to leave the Senate after 2018 due to legislative term limits.

Hundreds of demonstrat0rs gathered in downtown St. Louis to express their disgust, concern and fear with President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 13, 2016.
File | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The largest St. Louis-based anti-Donald Trump rally since his election to the presidency took place Sunday,  downtown. Hundreds of people marched from City Garden through  to the steps of the St. Louis Justice Center, 200 S. Tucker Blvd.,  across the street from City Hall. 

The march began with 22-year-old Basel Isa’s Facebook post to protest Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. Isa said he wasn’t previously politically active but felt compelled to become more involved after the election's result.

“I want this to show the world that we’re not okay with this, we’re going to exercise our rights, and we’re going to get active,” said Isa. “Stand up for people that aren’t brave enough. We love and that’s what’s most important.”

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, last week.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the Thursday after his resounding victory in the Missouri governor’s race, Eric Greitens spent the morning at the Missouri Capitol meeting with Gov. Jay Nixon and huddling up with the Senate Republican supermajority. Greitens ended up shaking lots of hands of fellow Republicans who could help make his campaign agenda into the laws of the land. 

When he stepped into the Capitol hallways, Greitens could hardly contain his enthusiasm about the months ahead.

Jumira Moore, 8, watches as her mother, Timira Saunders, fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

How did the polls get it so wrong?

This is a question that has dominated headlines in the days following Tuesday’s historic election.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the role of polls and their use in media coverage of the 2016 election with guests Terry Jones, Founders Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Matt Carlson, Associate Professor of Communication at Saint Louis University.

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens plans to have two transition teams in place shortly: one to organize his January inaugural and the other to tackle his GOP takeover of the state’s executive branch.

To that end, Greitens is seeking guidance and advice from the outgoing governor, Democrat Jay Nixon.

Senior adviser Austin Chambers praised the reception that Greitens received Thursday during his first meeting with Nixon and top members of his administration.

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Of the four constitutional amendments passed by Missouri voters on Tuesday, rumblings have started about legal challenges to three of them.

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.

The line of supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wrapped around a city block in downtown St. Louis.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

What comes next? That’s the question after Donald Trump overcame Hillary Clinton in the election to become the 45th president of the United States of America. In Missouri, Trump won with 57.1% of the votes. But that wasn’t the only history that was made last night.

As St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jason Rosenbaum said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air:

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans Tuesday night experienced their greatest triumph in the Show Me State’s modern history. And Missouri Democrats had arguably their worst night ever.

Those two declarative statements may seem like hyperbole, but it’s pretty close to the truth. Tuesday marked the first time ever Republicans won seven statewide elections in a single night. And with commanding majorities in the Missouri General Assembly, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens will be in a profoundly powerful position to enact his agenda – and to sign longstanding GOP priorities into law.

Echo Bluff State Park
Courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Updated at 1 a.m. Nov. 9 with final results - The attempts to raise cigarette and tobacco taxes for roads or early childhood education went down to defeat.

Clockwise from upper left, Jay Ashcroft, Josh Hawley, Eric Schmitt and Mike Parson
File photos | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters have given the nod to Republicans running for secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and lieutenant governor. In congressional races, incumbents held onto their seats.

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.

Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies offered their insights into the 2016 election in Missouri on "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters will consider a plethora of issues when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

In addition to casting ballots for president, governor and U.S. Senate, voters will consider myriad ballot measures such as Amendment 3Amendment 6Amendment 4 and Proposition A.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum about what they’re watching prior to the election.

St. Louis resident Jonathan Pulphus votes at Patrick Henry Elementary School on Sept. 16, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s long, weird, sad, contentious, explosive and unpredictable election cycle is almost over.

In roughly 24 hours, Missourians from Tarkio to New Madrid will head to the polls. Beyond registering their presidential preferences, the good people of our state will decide on pivotal U.S. Senate and governor’s races. They’ll also choose who fills out practically and politically important statewide offices and figure out how large the GOP majorities in the Missouri General Assembly will be after January.

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.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill speaks with reporters before the start of the presidential debate at Washington University. (Oct. 9, 2016)
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill understands why people are fed up with the election. But “that’s no excuse to check out of democracy or give up the freedom we have in our country to decide who our leaders are,” she told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on the Friday before many people will head to the polls on Nov. 8.

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.

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