2016 Missouri elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2016 Missouri elections

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

Eric Greitens has emerged victorious from a bruising, four-way contest to be the Republican nominee for governor. He will face Attorney General Chris Koster, 51, who coasted to win the Democratic primary.

John Brunner tilts his head back as Eric Greitens speaks at St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA – You could say that Missouri’s 2016 primary cycle was a bit unwieldy.

This election has everything: An unpredictable and incredibly expensive governor’s race, statewide contests that turned thermonuclear nasty, and high-stakes legislative contests. For St. Louis voters, there’s a critical four-way race for circuit attorney and even a scramble for sheriff.

St. Louis Public Radio file images

Tomorrow's primary election is notable for the divisive and expensive ads (especially for the Republican races for governor and attorney general). But voters have a lot of choices to make all the way down the ballot.

In the months before the primary, all of the major candidates for statewide office appeared on our Politically Speaking podcast. For those who haven't yet discovered it, the podcast is a place where politicians talk about issues and introduce themselves to listeners in an informal setting. Below, you will find links to each of those podcasts and more

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey was suspended without pay on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County elections officials say they are ready for Tuesday’s primary.

During the April municipal elections, many voters were faced with long lines when several county polling places ran out of paper ballots. County Democratic Election Director Eric Fey says that won’t happen this time.

Ah, Friday. Fri-yay, as some have come to call it. And this is not any Friday—it happens to be a Friday that also marks the end of presidential convention season.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the winners, losers and what exactly you should take away from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions… from a Missouri perspective. Jason has been reporting from the Democratic National Convention and spent significant time with the Missouri delegation this week.

Balloons drop on the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – There’s a decent chance Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign could greatly impact Martin Rucker II’s professional career.

The former Mizzou football star is running as a Democrat for state representative in the Kansas City area. Since he’s running in a district that’s not exactly a sure thing for Democrats, Rucker will probably need strong showing from people higher up the ballot to help him out.

The primary election is Tuesday.
File photos

(Updated with Greitens' rally and new Koster donation) Missouri’s four-way Republican battle for governor is getting roiled with last-minute attacks ads and fliers by outside groups – including one with Democratic ties.

According to the online news site Politico, a group called “Jobs and Opportunity" is launching a barrage of TV ads over the weekend that attack Eric Greitens, an author and former Navy SEAL who is the best-funded of the four GOP candidates. 

U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, left, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James were the keynote speakers to the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – For Kansas City, Mo.,  Mayor Sly James, gun violence isn’t a philosophical exercise or a buzzword.

The Democratic official told members of the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention that he often goes to crime scenes where a person has used a gun to kill someone. Often, James said he sees people who are “prostrate on the ground because they’re so grief-stricken.”

Members of the Missouri House have a different perspective than Missouri senators on ethics.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Many districts in St. Louis and St. Louis County are drawn to be heavily Democratic or Republican. Thus, when a seat opens up, the August primary can be most competitive election for eight years.

The victors in these “primary-are-the-election” races will face different realities in Jefferson City, depending on their political parties. Republicans could get a chance to handle big-ticket legislation and move up in leadership. Since they’re a super-minority, Democratic winners will have fewer opportunities to influence the legislative process. But often times, they can provide a counterpoint to the GOP supermajority.

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, right, and candidate Bill Haas, center, speak as state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal answers a question.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In their only forum before Tuesday’s primary, Missouri’s major-party candidates for the 1st congressional district seat were civil and concise. Both attributes were required by the area’s League of Women Voters, which conducted the forum at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis.

The star participant was U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City, who has held the seat for 16 years.  He succeeded his father, Bill Clay Sr., who served for 32 years. That long tenure was a key topic for one of Lacy Clay’s Democratic rivals, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.  She told the audience, “You must ask yourself a question: Is 48 years too long for one family?”

Updated July 27 with statement from state Sen. Kurt Schaefer's campaign — Several local Asian-American organizations and businesses are condemning political attack ads in Missouri's attorney general’s race. In a united wave of opposition, the coalition calls the ads “xenophobic,” “racist” and “divisive.”

File photo

Updated July 26 with new lawsuit filings – Opponents of a ballot initiative to raise Missouri's cigarette tax have filed two new lawsuits designed to stop it from appearing on the November ballot.

The first new suit was filed Friday by Joplin convenience store owner Patty Arrowood.  She contends that the ballot initiative would appropriate state funding, which only the legislature can do, and also allow religious groups to receive state revenues.

Jo Mannies, Rachel Lippman and Dave Robertson discussed Missouri's Aug. 2 primary and answered listener questons on July 26.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, Missourians will go to the polls in their Aug. 2 primaries.  A week before the primaries, three guests joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what issues and positions you should keep an eye on.

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Rachel Lippmann, who is covering the city primary, and Jo Mannies, who is covering the statewide primary, broke down what you need to know with the help of UMSL political science professor David Robertson.

Rick Stream and Andrew Koenig
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of daylight between Rick Stream and Andrew Koenig: The two Republican contenders for the 15th District Senate seat won House seats through intense door-knocking campaigns. They’ve both served four terms in the Missouri House. And they can point to big accomplishments during their legislative careers.

Jason Kander skipped Philadelphia to travel the roads of Missouri. The incumbent he's challenging, Sen. Roy Blunt, will travel  next week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On two points, Missouri’s two major candidates for the U.S. Senate seem to agree:

  • Skip your presidential convention.
  • Hit the road in a campaign bus.

Money gift
Flickr

With a week left to go, Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor are engaging in a final money-raising – and spending – frenzy.

Just since July 1, the four – former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and businessman John Brunner – combined have raised almost $6 million and spent more than $10 million.

Most of that spending is for the mass of TV ads that are flooding Missouri homes.

Mike Carter, Anne Zerr and Bill Eigel are running for the St. Charles County-based 23rd District Senate seat.
Courtesy of Carter and Eigel's campaigns and House Communications

There are probably few legislative races in Missouri with stakes as high as the GOP primary for the 23rd Senatorial District.

The St. Charles County-based district has been vacant since former Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey resigned nearly a year ago. And the race to replace him features three candidates with vastly different philosophies and political experience. It’s one of several competitive state Senate primaries in the St. Louis area, and perhaps the one where the end result could matter quite a bit.

Democrats Judy Baker and Pat Contreras are each running for state treasurer.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’re wondering why there’s a competitive battle for Missouri state treasurer, look no further than the innards of the Missouri Constitution.

If the Show Me State’s pre-eminent legal document didn’t restrict a state treasurer to two terms, it’s a good bet that incumbent officeholder Clint Zweifel would be running for re-election – and probably without competition from his fellow Democrats. But it does. And with Zweifel taking a hiatus of sorts from electoral politics, two Democrats – former state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Kansas City native Pat Contreras – are seeking to capture the weighty, but slightly low profile, statewide office.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Bev Ehlen, a Missouri GOP delegate from Warren County, has long been a fan of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and had hoped he’d be the party’s nominee for president.

But now that Donald Trump has the nomination, Ehlen is upset that Cruz is opting against an endorsement.

“I was very disappointed’’ by Cruz’s Wednesday night speech, Ehlen said. “I’m probably the biggest Ted Cruz supporter you can find. I was expecting so much more because he’s such an articulate speaker. I was expecting a home run, and I didn’t get it.”

Marty Murray, a candidate for 7th Ward committeeman, talks to Stacy Kistler while knocking doors in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis on June 10, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 21 with additional Mobilize Missouri endorsements. — The biggest races in August are getting all the attention. But a group of seats on the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee could prove to be just as important in the long run.

Candidates from across the city have their sights on being committeemen and committeewomen, in an effort to push for change in the party now and at future elections.

From left: John Hawley, Kurt Schaefer, Teresa Hensley and Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Until a few days ago, the battle to become Missouri’s next attorney general appeared to be one-sided:

Only the two Republicans seeking the job — law professor Josh Hawley and state Senator Kurt Schaefer — were hotly fighting over it.

But now that’s changed. Although the Schaefer-Hawley contest remains the nastiest, the two Democrats — St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman and former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley — also are tussling.

Peter Kinder answers a question during St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Fans of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder are hoping that his campaign for governor embodies the axiom of “it’s a sprint, not a marathon.”

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies reported last week, Kinder generally lagged behind the other three GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in the latest fundraising quarter. He also spent the least amount of money, which means he’s been on statewide television much less than the other three Republican candidates.

The Missouri delegation may be housed in Akron, but it has a clear view of the stage.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Missouri Republicans are increasingly optimistic that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump could offer a boon, not a bust, for the GOP’s entire statewide ticket in November.

“The worst poll I’ve seen has him eight points up in Missouri,’’ said U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, as she mingled Monday with Missouri delegates. “The best poll has him up 12.”

That’s among the reasons Wagner dismisses the last-minute effort by some anti-Trump delegates — mainly in other states — who are seeking a rules change to allow them to vote for somebody else.

Left to right. Top, Vernon Betts, Joe Vaccaro, Charley "Big Will" Williams, Bottom: Johnnie M. Chester, Jimmie Matthews
Liz Schlemmer and provided photos

Several candidates are vying to replace long-time St. Louis Sheriff Jim Murphy, who is retiring after holding the office since 1989.

The St. Louis sheriff's office is responsible for the security of the 31 courtrooms of the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Court. The office also serves court papers and eviction notices.

Peter Kinder, Catherine Hanaway, John Brunner and Eric Greitens speak at St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

With the Aug. 2 primary just weeks ago, Missouri’s Republican candidates for governor are spending far more money than they are raising.

That’s documented in the latest campaign-finance reports, due Friday, which show a neck-and-neck spending battle between St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens and former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

Lt. Peter Kinder raised and spent the least during the last three months.

Bruce Franks and state Rep. Penny Hubbard
Courtesy of Bruce Franks' campaign and House Communications

It’s almost like clockwork: Whenever a member of the Hubbard family is on the ballot in the St. Louis area, their political adversaries exude confidence about beating them at the ballot box. These opponents usually point disparagingly to the family’s political alliances and voting patterns — and contend that they’d act in a more progressive fashion.

With one notable exception, all of these challengers failed to win — and have largely faded from the political scene. And as a result, the Hubbard family won races for state representative, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee. The subtext of it all? Beating a Hubbard is really, really hard.

Come January, there will be a new prosecutor in the city of St. Louis for the first time in 16 years.

The election to replace Jennifer Joyce as circuit attorney comes as the city is struggling to get homicides and other violent crime under control. Relations between law enforcement and some communities remain strained as well, with Joyce herself having been the target of protests.

Jay Ashcroft, left, and state Sen. Will Kraus are both running for the GOP nomination for secretary of state.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say that the Republican primary election for secretary of state is a choice between a familiar name and a familiar policymaker.

Curran | Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected a request that it weigh in on a lawsuit against a proposed tobacco tax increase.

The court's decision could kill off the initiative-petition effort to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Will Kraus
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. Will Kraus to the program.

The Lee's Summit Republican was on the program about a year and a half ago after he announced he was running for secretary of state. But the journoduo wanted to bring him back now that the GOP field in that competitive contest is set.

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