2016 Missouri elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2016 Missouri elections

Former Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee
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 state Auditor Susan Montee to the program.

Montee is a former St. Joseph councilwoman and Buchanan County auditor who successful sought the office of state auditor in 2006. One of her selling points was the fact that she was both a certified public accountant and an attorney.

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

Democrat Jason Kander’s new TV ad, which shows him assembling an assault weapon blindfolded, already has been hailed by the Washington Post as the best campaign ad so far this year.

That’s just the latest evidence of the national attention – and money – that’s been pouring into Missouri for months to aid or attack Kander or the man he hopes to defeat in November, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

State Rep. Justin Alferman speaks at the microphone during Wednesday's veto session. Lawmakers overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of Alferman's photo idenitifcation bill.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

If you judge a successful veto session by how many bills are overturned, then Wednesday’s gathering was like a college football blowout.

That’s because the GOP majority was able to outflank Gov. Jay Nixon and his Democratic compatriots in the legislature on more than a dozen measures, including a bill that would implement a photo identification requirement to vote should a proposed constitutional amendment pass and another that makes it easier to conceal and carry a weapon. Unlike previous years, there was little drama – or much apprehension about squelching Democratic filibusters.

Curran | Flickr

If an initiative’s ballot title promises free puppies to all voters, but its language actually calls for expanding puppy mills, should the proposal be allowed to remain on the ballot?

That question, posed Thursday by a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, gets at the heart of the court fight to decide whether a proposal to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax by $1.27 a pack can remain on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Both sides argued before the high court early Thursday. A ruling is expected within days.

Incumbent State Rep. Penny Hubbard is appealing a judge's order for a special election to be held next week. The judge ruled in favor of Bruce Franks, Hubbard's opponent, who filed a lawsuit against the St. Louis election board after the August primary.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For state Rep. Penny Hubbard, the disputed 78th District House race is unlike anything she’s experienced in politics.

The three-term Democratic lawmaker has faced challenging elections — and criticism for how she voted in the Missouri General Assembly. But the scrutiny has increased since St. Louis Democrat narrowly won her primary bid against Bruce Franks. That includes a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article that brought up questions about whether her campaign misused the absentee ballot process.

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at LaunchCode alongside Jim McKelvey, founder of Square and co-founder of LaunchCode, on Friday morning.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Vice President Joe Biden says he’s well aware that the last eight years haven’t been easy for the nation’s workforce.

In remarks on Friday at a roundtable discussion at LanchCode in St. Louis, Biden says the economic downturn in the late 2000s  “clobbered” the middle class. And that had tangible consequences for struggling cities.

St. Louis Democratic Elections director Mary Wheeler-Jones shows her phone to Board of Election Commissioners chairman Erv Switzer. The Board had a special meeting on Wednesday go over logistical details for a special election in the 78th House District.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri secretary of state’s office is urging St. Louis’ prosecuting attorney to keep investigating absentee ballots from a state House primary.

Democrat Jason Kander, who is also running for U.S. Senate, released his brief report on the 78th House District on Wednesday.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster greets attendees at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Some have described the National Rifle Association’s decision to endorse Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster over GOP hopeful Eric Greitens as surprising or out of the blue. But for people who pay attention to how the group endorses candidates, Koster’s endorsement was actually quite predictable.

That’s because the NRA typically backs candidates with definitive voting records (like Koster) over political newcomers (like Greitens). It’s exactly what happened in 2012, when the NRA backed Koster’s re-election bid for attorney general over Republican nominee Ed Martin.

Eric Greitens, the victor of Missouri’s four-way Republican battle for governor, spent just over $10 million to win his party’s nomination.

The final campaign-finance reports for the Aug. 2 primary, due Thursday, show the four spent a combined total of $27.1 million — a record in Missouri for a statewide primary contest. The final spending almost mirrored the candidates’ election finish.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

So far, Missouri voters will decide six ballot questions this fall. The deadline for issues to be certified for the Nov. 8 ballot was Aug. 30.

That number could rise to seven if a judge rules to validate about 2,200 more signatures gathered for a proposal to allow the medical use of marijuana.

Paul Wieland
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 state Sen. Paul Wieland to the program.

The Republican from Imperial was previously a guest on the show when he was running against Democrat Jeff Roorda for the 22nd District Senate seat. Wieland won the so-called “Battle For JeffCo” by a sizable margin, a victory that expanded the Republican Senate majority.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, left, speaks with Attorney General Chris Koster earlier this month at the Missouri State Fair. Nixon criticized Koster for a statement the Democratic gubernatorial nominee made about school funding.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking major issue with a statement issued on Friday by Attorney General Chris Koster about public school funding.

What prompted the governor's response is a statement that Koster’s office released reacting to reports about lead in drinking water at St. Louis Public Schools. In that statement, Koster said the “drinking-water contamination reported this week in St. Louis schools is an unintended — but significant — consequence of the repeated refusal to invest in education and infrastructure.”

Bruce Franks talks to Mary Wheeler-Jones, the Democratic director of elections for St. Louis, on August 17, 2016.
File photo by Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The prolonged 78th House District primary between state Rep. Penny Hubbard and Bruce Franks may prove that one state representative race can shake up the Missouri political system.

But there’s disagreement if that "system shaking" is a positive or negative development for Missouri politics.

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

On television, Missouri’s two major candidates for governor — Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens — pretend their rival doesn’t exist.

Both men are running pleasant biographical ads that highlight the best of their respective personal and professional backgrounds.

Koster, currently the Missouri attorney general, emphasizes his experience as a prosecutor, and his commitment to fiscal discipline. Greitens, who is making his first bid for public office, recounts his past as a Navy SEAL, and the success of a nonprofit he helped establish, called The Mission Continues, to help returning veterans.

Cora Faith Walker
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jenny Simeone welcome state Rep.-elect Cora Faith Walker to the show for the first time.

Walker recently won a Democratic primary to represent the 74th District, which takes in portions of north St. Louis County. Because she has no Republican opponent, she will take office next year. (Even if she did have a GOP opponent, her district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so she most likely would have still won. )

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, center, with Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, right, at area high school during height of unrest in Ferguson.
Missouri Attorney General's Office | File photo

If you’ve paying attention to the discourse in the race for Missouri governor, you’ve probably heard a lot about what Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster didn’t do during the unrest in Ferguson in 2014.

In fact, several Republican gubernatorial hopefuls accused Koster of being “absent” during the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death. It's the type of message that serves a dual purpose of questioning Koster's commitment to law enforcement and leadership skills. (Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens told a swarm of reporters after he won the GOP primary that Koster “failed to show up and to lead in Ferguson.”)

It will be up to Missouri voters to decide whether Koster's actions in Ferguson two years ago were effective. But it’s inaccurate to say that Koster was “absent."

Rep. Shamed Dogan
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 Rep. Shamed Dogan to the program.

The Ballwin Republican represents a portion of western and southwestern St. Louis County. He is seeking his second term in the Missouri House in his GOP-leaning state House district.

Richard Orr
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 Democrat Richard Orr to the program.

Orr is the Democratic nominee for the 23rd state Senatorial District, which takes in a portion of St. Charles County. He’s a buyer and instructor for a kayaking company. Orr is squaring off against Republican Bill Eigel, a businessman who won a highly competitive GOP primary earlier this month. (Eigel appeared on Politically Speaking earlier this week.)

Steve Roberts Jr.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Liz Schlemmer welcome Democrat Steve Roberts Jr. to the program for the first time.

Roberts recently won a contested primary for the 77th District Missouri House seat, which takes in portions of central and north St. Louis. The seat became open after state Rep. Kim Gardner, D-St. Louis, decided to run for St. Louis circuit attorney, a contest that she won by a comfortable margin.

Attorney General Chris Koster speaks to reporters at the Saint Louis Police Officers Association hall on Tuesday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster accepted the endorsement of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, he provided them with an unambiguous message: Under his gubernatorial administration, police officers around the state will have his unwavering support.

Brian Boucheron I Flickr

Missourians are slated to vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban sales taxes on services.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander certified the measure, known as Amendment 4, last week for the Nov. 8 ballot. The relatively short amendment says:

Republican Sen. Bill Eigel of Weldon Spring
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Dale Singer welcome Republican Bill Eigel to the program for the first time.

Eigel is a St. Charles County-based businessman who emerged victorious in a highly competitive GOP primary for the 23rd District Senate seat. He faces Democrat Richard Orr this fall, but the 23rd District seat is considered to be a decidedly Republican seat.

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

It’s been less than two weeks since Missouri voters chose nominees for governor. And it’s fair to say that neither candidate wasted much time in fashioning their general election message — or sharply questioning their opponent’s worthiness.

This reporter spent the past few days watching and listening to Chris Koster and Eric Greitens' post-primary speeches. And from what the two men are saying on the stump, Missourians are in for a very contentious campaign — and discourse that may appear familiar.

Peter Merideth
Durrie Bouscaren I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Durrie Bouscaren welcome Peter Merideth (and his daughter, Piper) to the program.

Courtney Curtis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is joined by colleague Stephanie Lecci and St. Louis American reporter Rebecca Rivas. The trio welcomed state Rep. Courtney Curtis to the show for the first time.

The Ferguson Democrat won a competitive primary last week for re-election. Because winning the Democratic primary in his north St. Louis County-based district is tantamount to election, Curtis will likely get to serve a third term in the Missouri House after 2017.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Chris Koster talks with supporters on Saturday in St. Louis. Koster says he's opposed to school vouchers, but is amenable to charter schools.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Even before he became governor, Jay Nixon drew a hard line in the sand: If the Missouri General Assembly passed any bill that Nixon felt transferred public dollars to private schools, he would veto that legislation. He followed through on that promise in 2014, when the General Assembly approved changes to Missouri’s school transfer law that, among other things, allowed children in unaccredited school districts to go to certain nonsectarian, private schools.

Whether that “line” remains, however, depends on who replaces Nixon in the governor’s office.

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

For the first time ever, Missouri Farm Bureau members have endorsed a Democrat for statewide office.

Gathered at Farm Bureau headquarters in Jefferson City, they chose Chris Koster for governor over Republican nominee Eric Greitens. The endorsement was based largely on Koster's record on agriculture during both his time as attorney general and as state senator.

Now that the 2016 primaries are in the books, most people are looking ahead to what could be an expensive and contentious general election cycle.

But before Tuesday becomes part of Missouri political history, perhaps it’s worth answering the 10 questions posed before voters went to the polls. After all, it wouldn’t be very useful to throw out errant questions without answering them.

Rachel Lippmann, Dave Robertson and Jason Rosenbaum broke down what happened in Missouri's Aug. 2 primary and gave context behind each race on Wednesday's <i>St. Louis on the Air</i>.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The results of Missouri’s primary are in and there were some pretty big surprises on city, county and state levels.

In November, Eric Greitens (R) will be facing off against Chris Koster (D) to become Missouri's next governor. Former Cass County prosecutor Teresa Hensley won the Democratic nomination for attorney general and she'll be facing off against Republican candidate Josh Hawley this fall. For more results and analysis of state-wide races, read this.  

U.S. Lacy Clay raises the arm of Kim Gardner in victory at the Exodus Gallery after the primary election. Gardner made history as the first African-American to hold the office of circuit attorney. Behind her is Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, and to the right is s
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

For the first time, an African-American will be the top prosecutor in the city of St. Louis. And in St. Louis County, County Executive Steve Stenger has lost a well-known ally on the County Council, after a big upset in the District 4 Democratic primary.

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