Catherine Hanaway

The LG PAC is airing an ad attacking Missouri Republican gubernatorial hopeful John Brunner.
Screen capture | YouTube

Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor each claim to be shocked by the emergence of a new political group, LG PAC, that has launched a $1 million TV ad campaign this week.

That spending is more than all of the state’s gubernatorial candidates have spent on TV so far -- combined.  LG PAC also is just the latest of a series of groups, with unknown donors, that are spending money to aid or attack Missouri’s statewide candidates.

Updated Monday, June 6, with details on Eric Greitens' first TV ad — After raising money for months, or even years, it’s now time for many Missouri candidates to start spending it.

That’s particularly true in the state’s four-way GOP contest for governor, where the contenders are launching their final two-month sprint to woo voters for the Aug. 2 primary.

As of Monday, St. Louis area voters will start seeing more TV ads.

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.

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.

Michael Brown Sr. and organizers with his Chosen for Change Foundation talk outside the Ferguson Community Center after the City Council's vote to approve the terms of the Department of Justice's consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few months ago, Starsky Wilson ended his time on the Ferguson Commission with stirring and strong words for politicians who would have to do the work ahead.

“If the win for you is getting elected, we don’t need you,” said Wilson, the president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation. “If you eat steak because you got what you wanted in the community that’s still fighting for a generation, you’re not the one.”

Eric Greitens found himself fending off questions about a controversial donor at Thursday's Missouri Republican gubernatorial debate in Columbia, the first one this year to be televised.

Both Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder called on Greitens to return a $1 million campaign contribution from Michael Goguen. The California venture capitalist is being sued by a woman who accuses him of holding her as a sex slave for 13 years.

Missouri Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster is joining three of his Republican rivals in calling on the fourth — Eric Greitens — to return $1 million donations that he’s received from a California businessman who’s accused of keeping a woman as a sex slave for 13 years.

Greitens’ three rivals — Peter Kinder, John Brunner and Catherine Hanaway — are expected to bring up the issue during their forum tonight in Columbia, Mo.

Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in the Missouri Senate have given first-round approval to legislation that would shield clergy and business owners from state penalties for refusing to work on same-sex weddings.

Democrats had filibustered Senate Joint Resolution 39 nonstop since Monday afternoon, but early Wednesday morning GOP leaders used a procedural move, known as "moving the previous question," to cut off debate and force a vote.

Catherine Hanaway
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 GOP gubernatorial aspirant Catherine Hanaway.

The former Speaker of the Missouri House speaker and U.S. attorney was the first Republican to jump into the wide-open 2016 contest for governor. She appeared on Politically Speaking back in 2014, a few weeks after officially announcing her foray back into electoral politics.

Unlike the Republican presidential debates of the past few months, the four GOP candidates for governor were in agreement for most of the forum held by the Christian County Republican Central Committee on Saturday at the Ozark Community Center.

John Brunner, Eric Greitens, Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder were able to state their positions on the economy, agriculture, the proper role of the federal government, education, healthcare and transportation. Here’s a basic breakdown of what was said Saturday afternoon.

Economy

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis businessman John Brunner is celebrating New Year’s Eve by donating more than $3.6 million to his own Republican campaign for governor.

Brunner’s contribution, split among two checks this week, represents the largest Missouri donation so far, self-funded or not, to a single 2016 candidate. But he has spent more of his own money before.

The five GOP contenders for governor: Peter Kinder, Eric Greitens, Catherine Hanaway, Bob Dixon and John Brunner
St. Louis Public Radio file photos

It’s fair to say that Missouri state Sen. Rob Schaaf has been a thorn in Gov. Jay Nixon’s side over the proposed riverfront stadium in St. Louis.

The St. Joseph Republican was one of the first members of the legislature to raise serious alarm about Nixon issuing state bonds for the $1 billion project without a legislative or statewide vote. More than 20 senators and some key House leaders have threatened to kill any state appropriation to pay off the stadium bonds if Nixon follows through.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Almost weekly, it seems, Missouri’s Republican field for governor either gets larger or smaller.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is now in the race, as is state Sen. Bob Dixon of Springfield.  State Sen. Mike Parson of Joplin is out. And two likely St. Louis area contenders – John Brunner and Eric Greitens – are in the wings, presumably waiting for the right time to launch.

All that jockeying appears to have drawn attention away from the one Republican who’s been campaigning the longest: former state House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

Catharine Hanaway
Provided by the campaign

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, a Republican running for governor, appears to be consolidating her support among the region’s top GOP donors as she prepares for a major fundraising event next month.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is to be the major speaker at the event, to be held June 18 at Hunter Farms, the legendary west St. Louis County estate owned by former U.S. Ambassador Stephen Brauer (chairman of Hunter Engineering) and his wife, Kimmy Brauer. The estate has been the locale of many major GOP fundraising events for decades.

Missouri Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar
MoHorizonNews | Flickr

(Updated, 9:40 p.m. Thursday, April 30)

In a move long expected, Missouri Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, announced today that he’s running for Missouri governor in 2016.

And his top issue, he said in his kickoff address, "will be about protecting and fighting to expand the number one industry in our state - agriculture."

His entry also is expected to kick off a likely parade of rural GOP rivals.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has maintained a large financial lead in his 2016 quest for governor, despite new self-imposed rules that prompted him to return $45,000 in donations.

Koster, a Democrat, reported over $3.2 million in the bank in his latest campaign filings, due Wednesday.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Ordinarily, candidates for governor would go out of their way to publicize a major fundraising event that attracted 400 people.

But not so Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the state’s only major Democratic candidate for governor, who opted to quietly hold the $500-a-couple (and up) gathering this week at the Renaissance Grand hotel downtown.

John Hancock at 2015 Lincoln Days
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Embattled Missouri Republican Party chairman John Hancock has launched a major public offensive to refute allegations that he had conducted an anti-Semitic “whispering campaign” against state Auditor Tom Schweich. Critics assert that "whispering campaign" contributed to the auditor’s suicide on Feb. 26.

Ray Howze / St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican gubernatorial primary is more than a year-and-a-half away on Aug. 2, 2016, but candidates are already busy staking out their positions and priorities.

Schweich launches his campaign for governor on January 28, 2015
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich launched his campaign for governor by lashing out at the man who he says is a symbol of the “rampant corruption” in the state Capitol -- wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield.

Schweich said that Sinquefield, the state’s top political donor, has been engaging in “corrosive tactics’’ with “an army of mercenaries.’’  Their aim, he said, is to advance proposals – such as the elimination of Missouri’s income tax and replacing it with a huge sales tax -- that he says would help the wealthy but hurt small business and middle-class Missourians.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has ended months of speculation by declaring that she’s definitely not running for governor in 2016 and is endorsing Missouri Attorney Chris Koster instead.

“I have an amazing job. I am challenged every day,” McCaskill said in an interview Monday with host Steve Kraske on KCUR-FM, the public-radio station in Kansas City.

“I love the work, and so at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide. ‘Is the job that you’re thinking about going for, is it a better job than the one you have? And can you do more?’ ”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

State Auditor Tom Schweich has yet to decide whether to run for governor in 2016, but he’s making clear that lots of high-profile fellow Republicans want him to do so.

On Thursday, Schweich’s allies released “an open letter’’ signed by more than 120 donors and party activists who want him to run for governor.

The aim of Schweich’s supporters is to portray him as a better choice, backed by more party big shots, than former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who already has declared her candidacy – and has promoted her own high-profile support.

(UPI)

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, the only announced Republican candidate for governor, has the support of one of the state’s political icons who used to be her boss: Former U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo.

Bond and his wife, Linda Bond, are special guests at a reception/fundraiser Tuesday in Kansas City for Hanaway.

Before she ran for office herself,  Hanaway worked for Bond in the mid-1990s.  He has been a key mentor for her, and among those backing her presidential appointment in 2005 as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, based in St. Louis.

The Missouri Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Dysfunction in government is in the eyes of the beholder.

That, in essence, was the upshot of Friday’s Third Annual Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

What some speakers viewed as dysfunction, others saw as evidence of proper government action – or restraint.

Take, for example, the four-person panel of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers, past and present.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1991, then-Missouri Attorney General Bill Webster’s ascension to become the next governor seemed inevitable. He had the looks, charisma, campaign cash and the connections.

But then a controversy erupted over whether his office was giving preferential treatment to donors when it came to state contracts. A federal investigation ensued. Webster’s reputation took a huge hit.

Catherine Hanaway 2014
Provided by Hanaway

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway says she’ll freeze most state regulations, and block implementation of many federal ones, if she’s elected governor in 2016.

Speaking Tuesday to members of the Regional Chamber, Hanaway – a Republican from St. Louis County – presented a vision of a more assertive governor when it comes to confronting the federal government.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway got $750,000 this week from wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield for her 2016 campaign for governor. That’s more than 10 times what she raised during the past three months.

That huge donation was condemned late Wednesday by her potential rival, state Auditor Tom Schweich, a fellow Republican. His campaign accused Hanaway of being “dependent on one man and his self-proclaimed ‘political army.’ “

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

The group backing the proposed transportation sales tax is the biggest money-raising operation in the state – but it has yet to air a single TV ad.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, the campaign committee for the sales tax known as Amendment 7, appears to be entering the final weeks of the campaign with more than $2.5 million to spend.

Congressional office

Missouri’s Republican field for governor in 2016 may be about to get more crowded, as some party activists are urging U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, to enter the race.

If he were to jump in, Luetkemeyer would face former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, a Republican from west St. Louis County who already has declared her candidacy, and possibly state Auditor Tom Schweich, a St. Louis native who is running for re-election this fall with no major opposition.

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