2016 Missouri elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2016 Missouri elections

Mike Parson May 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 state Sen. Mike Parson to the program for the first time.

The Bolivar Republican is one of two major candidates from that party running for lieutenant governor. The other is Kansas City native Bev Randles, who was a guest on the podcast a few weeks ago. The two Democratic aspirants for the office — former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan and state Rep. Tommie Pierson — have also appeared on the show.

cigarette closeup
G.Arands | Flickr | Creative Commons license

Updated with MNEA decision - One of two ballot initiatives that would increase Missouri’s cigarette tax may be in trouble. A Cole County judge has said the fiscal note on a 60-cent-a-pack proposal overestimates the revenue that would be raised. He has directed the auditor to review the projection, and that would invalidate the petitions turned in by Raise Your Hand for Kids.

The organization has said it will appeal.

Judy Baker May 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 former state Rep. Judy Baker to the program for the first time.

With state Treasurer Clint Zweifel unable to run for another term, Baker is one of two Democrats seeking to succeed him. She’s running against Kansas City native Pat Contreras in the Democratic primary.

Pat Contreras
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 state treasurer aspirant Pat Contreras to the program for the first time.

Contreras is seeking the Democratic nomination for the statewide office currently held by state Treasurer Clint Zweifel. Zweifel is unable to run again, because his statewide office is limited to two terms.

Scenes from the state Republican convention from upper left: Campaign signs, a Trump mask, message T-shirt and the convention hall
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

BRANSON, Mo. - Less than a month after most Missouri Republican leaders  favored anyone but Donald Trump, those same officials told hundreds of party activists that they now had no other choice.

Failure to help Trump means victory by Hillary Clinton. And that, said a parade of GOP speakers, is unthinkable.

Rachel Johns, a Democrat from St. Louis, is a candidate for the 76th Missouri House District.
Friends of Rachel Johns for Missouri|Facebook

Updated 4:10 p.m. May 20 with verdict - The day after it heard arguments, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck a candidate for a Missouri House seat from the ballot.

Rachel Johns had alleged that the requirement that a candidate be a registered for two years before the election violated equal protection rights, and she said she was exercising her First Amendment right to protest by not registering earlier. A split court decided against her. Her attorney says he will ask for a rehearing and, barring that, will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Sen. Joe Keaveny receives a hug while walking out of the Senate chamber on Friday. Keaveny announced he will resign from the senate to become an administrative law judge.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Senate Minority Leader Joe Keaveny plans to leave his post early to become an administrative law judge.

The St. Louis Democrat’s decision could set off an intense political competition to represent part of St. Louis in the Missouri Senate.

Before the Missouri Senate convened today, Keaveny told St. Louis Public Radio that Gov. Jay Nixon’s office had approached him about becoming an administrative law judge. He said once paperwork and background checks go through, he’ll resign his seat.

St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Updated at 2:20 a.m. with override failure - A photo ID proposal will definitely be on the ballot, and it will be up to Gov. Jay Nixon to decide if more cold beer is on the way.

But the surprising news actually came early Friday morning: The Senate failed to override Nixon's veto of the paycheck protection or — depending on your position on the measure — the deception bill.

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

With only three days to go, a few bigger issues have been moving in the Missouri General Assembly, while everyone waits to see whether the Senate will soon come to a screeching halt.

First, the so-called "sequel" to last year's municipal reform bill is one vote away from being sent to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Bev Randles
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 lieutenant governor hopeful Bev Randles to the show.

The Kansas City Republican is one of four major candidates from both parties seeking the statewide office, which is being vacated by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Randles is squaring off against state Sen. Mike Parson in the GOP primary, while former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan and state Rep. Tommie Pierson are seeking the Democratic nomination.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at the St. Louis Public Radio offices on April 29, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Portions of the audio interview have been reserved for use in a future segment.

After Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was re-elected in 2012, he said one of the first things he did was go to his father’s home in Arkansas and read a full history of all 54 governors that came before him. He thought he should figure out what he could really do to make a difference in his last term.

However, what he learned then has also impacted his approach to his last months in office and what comes next — Nixon said he will not run for another elected office.

“A couple of things became clear for me: oftentimes you find history but many times, history finds you,” Nixon told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “And so, I want to live my life in a way that if there are other opportunities to serve, I won’t do things to diminish my ability to do so, but I think my next step will be one where history finds me.”

Cheryl Roberts makes her case to become a Democratic delegate for Hillary Clinton. Last week, Democrats and Republicans chose delegates for their national conventions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With all the focus on the results of primaries and caucuses lately, it’s easy to forget that it’s the delegates — not the voters — who are directly responsible for nominating a president.

Heck, it wasn’t too long ago that being a delegate was more than just a ceremonial honor — it was an invitation to change the course of history. For instance: Venerable Pike County legend Champ Clark looked like the person to beat going into the 1912 Democratic National Convention, only to have that dastardly Woodrow Wilson swipe it away. If not for delegates, Harry S Truman would have been the second Missourian to be president.

Eric Greitens, one of four Missouri GOP candidates for governor, sought Sunday night to clarify his position when it comes to a proposed Missouri law that would bar government penalties against “individuals and religious entities who refuse to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies due to sincerely held religious beliefs.”

During a candidate forum at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Greitens said his opposition to the measure — known as Senate Joint Resolution 39 — stems from its approach, not its aim. Greitens said he wants Missouri to avoid the economic backlash that has hurt socially conservative states like North Carolina and Mississippi, which recently passed laws deemed anti-gay.

Kurt Schaefer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Kurt Schaefer to the program. The Columbia Republican, who usually sports cowboy boots, last was a guest of the show in late 2014.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical use in Missouri now have only one option this year – the ballot box.

That comes after the state House last week defeated House Bill 2213. In its original form, the measure would have allowed for medical cannabis centers in Missouri, which would have sold medical cannabis to patients with a "debilitating medical condition."

Curran | Flickr

For all the talk about increasing Missouri’s tobacco tax to provide more money for education and transportation, the state’s two dueling tobacco-tax proposals appear caught in a longstanding dispute that has nothing to do with their objectives.

Tobacco companies are the chief donors to both initiative-petition campaigns that seek to increase the state’s 17-cent-a-pack tobacco tax, now the nation’s lowest. One would raise the tax by 23 cents a pack to pay for transportation improvements, while the other would hike the tax by 60 cents a pack to pay for early childhood programs.

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Gary Fuhr, right, announced his upcoming retirement at this week's Board of Election Commissioners' meeting.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County’s Republican election chief will likely retire later this year.

During this week’s meeting of the county’s Board of Election Commissioners, GOP Elections director Gary Fuhr announced that he was planning to retire. It came as commissioners mulled over whether to punish anybody for ballot shortages at more than 60 polling places earlier this month. (A Democratic director and a Republican director run the elections board. Whichever director shares the governor's party typically is in charge.)

Missouri's five major gubernatorial candidates
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The so-called religious shield law, SJR 39, has already made a big impact on the Missouri General Assembly’s session. And depending on what the Missouri House does in the next couple of weeks, the proposed constitutional amendment could loom very large over the race for Missouri governor.

The proposal would legally shield people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding. To say the measure stoked controversy would be an understatement, especially after GOP senators used a parliamentary maneuver to cut off debate and get it to the House.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

With Missouri’s primary and general elections just months away, some of the state’s top candidates are focusing on their base as much as their bank account.

That’s particularly true of the state’s U.S. Senate candidates — Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and his Democratic rival, Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Jason Smith
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbuam and Rachel Lippmann are pleased to welcome U.S. Rep. Jason Smith to the show for the first time.

The Republican lawmaker was elected to represent Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in 2013 in a special election. The 8th District encompasses a swath of southeast and south central Missouri, as well as portions of the St. Louis metropolitan area like Jefferson County and all of Ste. Genevieve County.

Eric Fey, the Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Elections.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It would be an understatement to say that Tuesday was not a good day for Eric Fey.

The Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners is in charge of the largest and most complicated local electoral jurisdiction in the state. And during yesterday’s slate of municipal elections, polling places across the county ran out of paper ballots — even in the early hours of the morning. Things got so dire that a court ultimately extended voting hours — after the polls had already closed.

Charlene Jones, a longtime political and education strategist who managed the Prop 1 campaign, speaks to a cheerful crowd at St. Louis Public Schools' downtown headquarters after watching election results come in.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters easily reaffirmed the city's earnings tax, a solid victory for city leaders and a stinging defeat for retired financier Rex Sinquefield.

And city residents also approved several other propositions, including a $25 million bond issue and a property tax increase for St. Louis Public Schools.

paper ballot voting places
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Updated as story develops: St. Louis County’s municipal elections got off to a rocky start on Tuesday, with many polling places quickly running out of ballots. An appeals court extended voting until 9 p.m., but the decision came late. Shortly after 5 p.m., Circuit Judge Maura B. McShane denied a request to extend voting. In a hand-written order, the presiding judge in the county said "the court denies petitioners' request and doesn't believe it has authority to extend the hours."

In an email, Eric Fey, Democratic director of the St. Louis County Board of Elections, said, "Any ballots cast after 7:00 pm as a result of the court order will not be counted tonight."

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District | provided

Customers of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District will see their bills go up after the election on Tuesday. By how much, and when, depends on the outcome of two ballot initiatives.

MSD is a wastewater and stormwater utility rolled into one. The services are funded through different revenue streams - hence the need for two different proposition.

Proposition B asks to voters to allow their local city or county to continue collecting sales tax on cars bought out of state
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, guests discussed the contentious St. Louis earning tax (Prop E) that goes before city voters on April 5. Proposition E is a vote to either keep or phase out the city’s earning tax. If you are a wage earner and live or work in the city of St. Louis, you pay the city’s 1 percent earnings tax. More background on that here.

Thinking on whether the earnings tax is a boon or a bust for St. Louis city is sharply divided. 

Aimee Clay of Sumner High School
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Aimee Clay, a member of the Sumner High School ROTC Drill Team, began playing the national anthem on her violin at the start of the campaign kickoff for the St. Louis Public Schools 75-cent hike earlier this month.

Suddenly, clearly upset by an errant note, she stopped.

Campaign chairman Richard Gaines stepped up to put his arm around her shoulder. The crowd applauded encouragingly. Aimee regained her composure, started over and played the majestic tune flawlessly to the end.

A city tow truck brings a St. Louis Fire Department ambulance in for  repairs.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

For the second time in seven months, voters in the city of St. Louis are being asked to authorize borrowing for major capital needs.

Last August, voters rejected Proposition 1, which would have funded $180 million in borrowing with a property tax increase. On April 5, city residents will consider a smaller version of that proposal in Proposition F.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III listens to public comments on Saturday during a public hearing at the Ferguson Community Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson residents will consider raising taxes next week to fill a big budgetary gap, a potentially critical decision for the beleaguered city.

Before the city approved a consent decree with the federal government, members of the Ferguson City Council placed a sales tax increase and a property tax hike on the April 5 ballot. The sales tax proposal would boost the city’s sales tax rate by 0.5 percent. The property tax item would increase the city’s property tax rate by 40 cents per $100 assessed value.

car lot
Martin Kleppe | Flickr

On April 5, all St. Louis County voters, and residents of more than four dozen municipalities in St. Louis and St. Charles will see a variation of the following proposition, known as Proposition B  (A, V, or 1) on their ballot.

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