2016 Missouri elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2016 Missouri elections

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

Nine years ago, Chris Koster was a state senator, a former Cass County prosecutor and a rising star within the Missouri Republican Party. Many speculated he would eventually run for governor.

And now he is running for governor, but as a Democrat.

Koster switched parties in 2007,  a stunning move that has set the course for his unusual political career.  He remains the highest-profile politician in Missouri, at least in modern times, to have made such a move

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

In a sign of how competitive Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest has become, the two major candidates – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – held dueling roundtables with area military veterans.

Wednesday’s events were intended to underscore how both men are highlighting their armed services credentials, and emphasizing their concern about the problems facing the nation’s military.

Missouri Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens gestures during a speech in Overland, Missouri.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s mid-afternoon in a VFW Hall in Overland, and Eric Greitens has a room full of veterans at full attention. Two Medal of Honor recipients, Michael Thornton and Thomas Norris, just introduced Greitens, and he’s about to provide the crowd with details about his newest mission: Becoming governor of Missouri.

On campaign stops like these, the uniform of the former Navy SEAL is often a blazer, an Oxford-cloth shirt with no tie, and jeans. His speech delivery is disciplined, sharp and deliberate: At town halls and debates, Greitens argues that Jefferson City’s political class has faltered and failed.

Teresa Hensley
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 Democratic attorney general nominee Teresa Hensley to the program.

Hensley is squaring off against Republican Josh Hawley in the general election for attorney general. Hawley recorded an episode of the podcast last week that can be found here.

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

The latest campaign finance reports show that Democrat Chris Koster is heading into the final weeks of the campaign for Missouri governor with far more money in the bank than Republican Eric Greitens. But the numbers aren’t up to date.

The reports, due Monday, show Koster with $6.58 million on hand. That compares to $2.7 million for Greitens. But those totals are only through Sept. 30. Since then, Greitens has gotten $6.5 million from the Republican Governors Association and Koster has collected at least $1 million from various labor groups.

Hillary Clinton St. Louis union dec. 2015
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is sending $500, 000 into Missouri to aid U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander and gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Monday the campaign is assisting Koster and Kander even though it acknowledges that Republican Donald Trump is expected to carry the state. The money is to be spent on radio ads, fliers and digital advertising.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander at state Democrats' annual Truman Dinner. Campaign aide Chris Hayden is to his right.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the humble opinions of national pundits that monitor congressional races, Jason Kander pretty much came out nowhere to get on their national radar.

The Washington Post, Roll Call and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball recently declared that Missouri’s U.S. Senate race was a “toss-up.” And these prognosticators, in general, are very surprised that Kander made the race close. For instance: When Roll Call ranked Kander as the best Senate challenger of the 2016 cycle, the publication called the development “remarkable” for a race “that most analysts considered a second-tier contest when the summer began.”

Scott Sifton
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 Sen. Scott Sifton to the show for the fourth time.

The Affton Democrat is squaring off against Republican Randy Jotte to represent the St. Louis County-based 1st Senatorial District. Jotte recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that you can listen to here.

Randy Jotte
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 Republican Randy Jotte to the program for the first time.

Jotte is running against state Sen. Scott Sifton in the 1st Senatorial District, which takes in portions of St. Louis County. Since the 1st District is somewhat evenly divided between political parties, the Jotte-Sifton match-up is one of the most competitive state Senate contests in Missouri.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For roughly a decade, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee was a firm opponent of campaign donation limits. When he voted to get rid of contribution curbs as a Republican state senator in 2006 and a Democratic state senator in 2008, he believed that an unlimited system would give Missourians a better sense of where money came from and where it was going.

But  Chris Koster abandoned his long-standing opposition to donation limits earlier this year and threw his support behind a proposed constitutional amendment that limits contributions to $2,600 for state-based offices. He says that the current system where million-dollar donations are relatively commonplace is completely out of control.

Josh Hawley
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated to link to Hensley podcast - On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Republican attorney general nominee Josh Hawley to the program.

Hawley won the GOP primary for attorney general over state Sen. Kurt Schaefer by a landslide. He will square off against Democratic attorney general nominee Teresa Hensley, who is slated to record an episode of Politically Speaking next week.

Yard signs in favor of Amendment 4, which would bar state sales taxes on services
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

As the Missouri Realtors group sees it, it’s just being proactive.

The state of Missouri doesn’t generally impose sales taxes on services. But some legislators and political donors, notably Rex Sinquefield, have for years floated the idea of expanding the state’s sales tax so they can cut or eliminate Missouri’s income tax.

Missouri Realtors and its allied groups want to kill that notion in its tracks.

Robin Smith October 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday, St. Louis on the Air welcomed the Democratic nominee for Missouri secretary of state: Robin Smith. We have also invited to Republican nominee, Jay Ashcroft, to be on the program before the Nov. 8 election.

Update: Jay Ashcroft will be a guest on St. Louis on the Air on Thursday, October 20.

Attorneys for Bruce Franks, Penny Hubbard, and employees with the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners examine absentee ballot envelopes during a court hearing on Sept. 1, 2016.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Area voter registration deadlines are fast approaching. Missouri voters must submit a completed application by the end of business on Oct. 12.

Stephanie Fleming, director of communications for Missouri's secretary of state says people can register in person, by mail or online.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Ann Wagner
St. Louis Regional Chamber | File photo

With Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in crisis mode one day before a pivotal debate in St. Louis, at least two area GOP officials want their party's nominee to step aside.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, and Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, both released statements on Saturday pulling their support for Trump. Their retractions came a little less than a day after the Washington Post’s explosive story detailing Trump’s vulgar comments about women that were captured on tape in 2005.

Workers construct the stage on Friday for the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After a little bit of time away, the national spotlight is back on St. Louis.

Hordes of reporters and political types will venture here this weekend for the second presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

This area has a lot in common with what’s forming the national political discourse. Our racial, social and economic divisions were broadcast to the world after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. And finding tangible solutions to these longstanding gaps has been a slow and frustrating process.

Michael Brown Sr. stands at the back of the Ferguson Community Center's event space during the public comment portion of a 2016 Ferguson city council meeting.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the presidential campaign began in earnest, it’s become fairly common for candidates to allude to the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.

But according to officials that represent Ferguson, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has visited the city since announcing their presidential bids. And with both candidates set to debate Sunday at Washington University, some of the city’s elected leaders say it’s time for Trump and Clinton to see the town for themselves.

Jay Ashcroft
File photo | 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 Republican secretary of state nominee Jay Ashcroft to the program.

Ashcroft was on the show earlier this year when he was running in a competitive GOP primary against state Sen. Will Kraus. Ashcroft defeated the Lee’s Summit Republican in a landslide, and now faces Democrat Robin Smith in the general election.

Robin Smith October 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 welcome Democratic secretary of state nominee Robin Smith to the show for the first time.

Smith is squaring off against Republican secretary of state nominee Jay Ashcroft later this fall. Ashcroft recently recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that will air later this week.

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