Bob Onder

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.”

Bob Onder
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 welcome back Sen. Bob Onder. The Lake Saint Louis Republican was a guest on the show in 2014 soon after he was elected to his first term in the Missouri Senate.

Onder represents part of St. Charles County. His district includes most of that county’s fast-growing western suburbs, including Wentzville, O’Fallon, Lake Saint Louis and part of St. Peters.

Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, campaigned last year as a proponent of right to work -- even though labor unions have gained a bit of a foothold in St. Charles County.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Senate-sponsored constitutional amendment that would shield businesses in the wedding industry from legal repercussions if they denied their services to same-sex couples is headed to the House. The amendment passed 23-7.

People mill in the hallway leading to the Missouri Senate chamber. The Missouri Senate often moves slower than the Missouri House -- and can also be where the fiercest legislative fights occur.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

At the tail end of a recent episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, state Sen. Jill Schupp was asked a fairly straightforward question: Had her colleagues learned anything from the resignations of John Diehl and Paul LeVota, two lawmakers who stepped down last year amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female interns?

The Creve Coeur Democrat provided a pessimistic response:

Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, strongly questioned whether the legislature was taking the right focus with its ethics overhaul.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Since a high-profile sex scandal was partly responsible for torpedoing the end of the 2015 session, some lawmakers have made improving the ethical climate of Jefferson City a priority.

But even though the Missouri House passed a flurry of bills early this session, some Missouri senators think the ethics push so far is missing the mark.

Gov. Jay Nixon says legislators blew their chance to have a say on bonding for a stadium in St. Louis.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon is facing explicit warnings from key legislators that they won’t approve payments on bonds for a new football stadium on St. Louis’ riverfront if they aren’t first approved by a legislative or public vote.

But the Democratic governor is dismissing the threats as too little, too late – pointing to inaction during the past legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, is set to resign on Friday. Some feel his departure could serve as a departure to a Senate ruled by compromise.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The imminent departure of Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey amounts to an end of an era for the Missouri General Assembly, at least for Missouri Public Service Commissioner Scott Rupp.

Rupp – a former Republican senator from Wentzville – served in the Missouri House and Missouri Senate with Dempsey for years. He said the soon-to-be former St. Charles Republican senator was part of a very exclusive club within the Missouri General Assembly. 

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, wait out the final hours of the Missouri Senate's session. Both men were strong proponents of "right to work" legislation, which is opposed strongly by labor unions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn't particularly surprising that state Sen. Bob Onder was pushing hard to get so-called "right to work" legislation through a seemingly intractable Missouri Senate.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican campaigned last year in support of right to work, which bars arrangements that force workers to pay union dues if a majority voted to organize. He supported that measure even though the population of union members has steadily increased in St. Charles County, which may be why his two unsuccessful GOP rivals opposed right to work during the campaign.

Missouri Republican Party Chairman Ed Martin, left, lost elections for Congress and for attorney general. While those experiences can be instructive, he says losing sometimes "just plain stinks."
Courtesy of Ed Martin's Facebook page

When Ed Martin sent out an e-mail last week with the phrase “You’re A Loser” in the subject line, this writer thought the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party was being unneighborly.

In actuality, Martin – who, for full disclosure, lives in the same St. Louis neighborhood as I do – penned a  letter on how it feels to lose an election. Even though his party experienced a very successful mid-term election cycle, Martin wrote that not every Republican candidate is basking in the glow of victory -- and they probably aren't feeling that great right now.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomed future state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, to the Politically Speaking podcast. 

Onder, a doctor and an attorney, first burst on to the political scene in 2006 when he was elected to the Missouri House.

His tenure in the Missouri General Assembly was brief, because he left to make an unsuccessful bid in 2008 for the U.S. House in the (now defunct) Ninth Congressional District.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

When it comes to donating to Missouri candidates and causes, retired financier Rex Sinquefield may subscribe to the idea of “going big or going home.” 

This past election campaign is no exception. Sinquefield has  given out around $4.4 million so far this year to support ballot initiatives, candidates and friendly political groups. That money has flowed directly -- or through outside groups -- to a host of candidates who competed in last week’s primary elections.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Bob Onder completed his comeback into state legislative life with a victory in the hard-fought – and expensive – contest for the 2nd District state Senate seat. 

The Lake Saint Louis Republican's win capped off a relatively light slate of legislative races -- as well as some unusually active local contests.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 8 p.m. on Monday with news about Schneider repaying her loan.)

Vicki Schneider got on the phone earlier this year with Bob Onder after he loaned himself $200,000 for his state Senate bid. 

She said she asked a fairly simple question of one of her opponents for the St. Charles County-based 2nd District seat: "Do you want me to help you spend that?"

“And he just laughed,” she said.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Running for a seat in the Missouri Senate is tough. It takes months of door-to-door campaigning, an endless dash for cash, and a thick skin to win a competitive race. 

But Chuck Gatschenberger and Vicki Schneider may have a secret weapon: Both candidates in the race for the western St. Charles-based 2nd senatorial district had their campaign logos and faces imprinted on their trucks.

Schneider said she wrapped her truck because she “wanted people to know that they’re voting for someone that is just like them.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During the waning days of April, reports surfaced that a defeated Missouri Republican was seriously considering an electoral comeback after time away from public life.

No, it wasn't former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin. It was Bob Onder, a former state representative from Lake St. Louis who fell short nearly five years ago in the hotly contested 9th congressional district Republican primary.