Election 2016

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.

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill admitted that she cast Missouri’s votes at Democratic National Convention with a bit of emotion.

Missouri’s senior senator was given the honor of announcing how the Show Me State was divvying its delegates. It was part of a roll call vote that made Hillary Clinton the first female presidential candidate of a major party.

PHILADELPHIA – Michelle Argento may be living proof of the vast impact of Michael Brown’s shooting death.

Argento lives in Gillette, Wyo., a 30,000-person town in the middle of the Mountain West. The Bernie Sanders delegate paid close attention to what happened in Ferguson – and added that it showcased a need to overhaul America’s criminal justice system.

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.

PHILADELPHIA – Ralph Trask doesn’t want Donald Trump to become president. But that doesn’t mean he’s completely sold on Hillary Clinton.

Trask is a farmer from Iron County who is attending the Democratic National Convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate. He arrived in Philadelphia amid a somewhat tense time between supporters of the two campaigns, and national speculation over whether Sanders supporters can work this fall for Clinton.

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.

PHILADELPHIA – In some ways, Hillary Clinton’s impending presidential nomination has been a long time coming for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

The Kansas City Democrat was a strong supporter of Clinton in 2008. He said he felt immense pressure to back then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama – who, of course, would go onto become America’s first black president.

You could say Jimmy Loomis has accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

The 21-year-old Washington University student is president of the school’s College Democrats chapter. He’s also a Democratic committeeman in St. Louis County, which means he’ll get a say in who will follow state Sen. Joe Keaveny in the Missouri Senate.

But perhaps Loomis’ most impressive feat may have been besting dozens of people to become a national delegate for likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. That means he’ll get to go to Philadelphia next week with some of the Show Me State’s most prominent activists and political figures. And he’ll get to be an active participant in what’s been a historic presidential election.

CLEVELAND – Regardless of who they backed before, Missouri’s GOP delegates are leaving their convention committed to electing Donald Trump for president.

And his acceptance speech was a hit.

“He was confident, he was strong, he was energetic, enthusiastic’’ said delegate Chuck Williams of Town and Country. “He had the crowd fired up.”

U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield
Official portrait

CLEVELAND — Missouri U.S. Rep. Billy Long is arguably the state’s version of Donald Trump.

Long was a well-known auctioneer and radio talk-show host in Springfield, Mo., who emerged from a seven-person GOP field in 2010 to win the congressional seat that had been held by fellow Republican Roy Blunt until Blunt opted to make his successful shot for the U.S. Senate.

Long says he was impressed with Trump when he first met him in 2011, just months after Long arrived in Washington. The occasion was a charity event, and Long approached the billionaire businessman to thank him for his charity support.

Longtime Republican stalwart Phyllis Scholarly said Donald Trump is "a choice not an echo," which references her long-ago support of Barry Goldwater.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly was on the convention floor Tuesday night and was pleased as punch, when Donald Trump — whom she endorsed months ago — officially became the Republican presidential nominee.

“He’s a take-charge person and he’s going to attack the establishment,” said Schlafly, who’s attending her 12th straight GOP convention. “And the establishment, as I’ve pointed out, has given us a whole series of losers.”

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.

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.  

Let’s get something out of the way: Missouri’s lieutenant governor doesn’t have a lot of power or many defined responsibilities.

The lieutenant governor is charged with presiding over the Senate, serving on boards and commissions, and assuming the governorship if the state’s chief executive dies. That reality has often under whelmed people elected to the office: The late U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton once quipped that the lieutenant governor’s office is only good for standing at an office window and watching the Missouri River flow by.

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

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has outraised his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, according to the latest campaign-finance reports due later this week. But the gap in their bank accounts is closing.

Copies of their official summary sheets due Friday — but made available early to St. Louis Public Radio — show that Blunt collected $2.3 million during the last three months, compared to $1.75 million for Kander.

(Updated) Three weeks to go before the Aug. 2 primary, Missouri’s GOP candidates are hitting the road — and doubling down on the negatives.

Wikipedia

Regardless of whether Missouri becomes a battleground in the presidential contest, national labor leaders see the state as one of their top priorities this fall.

“Missouri has the most important governor’s race in the country going on right now,” said Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO, during an exclusive interview while he was in St. Louis over the weekend.

On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio hosted Missouri's GOP gubernatorial contenders ahead of the August primary so you could hear their stances during a debate. Scroll down to listen to the audio, watch a video of the debate or read our reporters' analysis of the night.

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies continue their interviews with candidates for the 15th District Senate seat. This time around, they’re interviewing Democrat Steve Eagleton.

The 15th District takes in parts of south and central St. Louis County. Since Sen. Eric Schmitt is term-limited, the race for the seat this year is wide open.

Updated with new comments - The deadline to register to vote for Missouri’s Aug. 2 primary election is Wednesday, July 6.

You can register in person at your city or county board of election office, a local library or the Department of Motor Vehicles. To register online, submit your application through the Missouri Secretary of State’s website GoVoteMissouri.com by 5 p.m.

On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio will host a live debate with the Missouri candidates running to become the GOP candidate-of-choice in the August 2 primary for governor.

When Democrats gather in Philadelphia next month, the focus will probably be on whom delegates select to be the party’s presidential nominee. But that’s not the only piece of official business.

Democrats will also ratify a platform, which is effectively a statement of principles for the party. While the document isn’t binding, it could provide a glimpse of what’s to come if Hillary Clinton becomes the next president. And it could provide a voice for the millions of people who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It seems like a silly time to ask the question “do vice presidents matter?” when every half hour there’s chatter on news networks about who Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will choose as their running mates. But, yet, the vice presidency wasn’t always considered as significant as it is now.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

Even before the shootings this week in Orlando, Fla., guns had become a major issue in Missouri’s contest to choose the next governor.

The state’s four Republican candidates have made clear for months that they support gun rights, and several — notably former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway — have pressed for expansion.

The likely Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, delivered strong words last week condemning gun violence. But he also has not backed away from his pro-gun stance that earlier has won him endorsements from the National Rifle Association.

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed the current state of presidential politics.

Joining us:

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.

Bill Slantz of St. Charles is chair of the Missouri Libertarian Party and a delegate at the national convention.
provided by Bill Slantz

At the National Libertarian Convention this weekend in Orlando, Missouri delegate and party chair Bill Slantz said the level of excitement was palpable, especially during Sunday’s vote for the Libertarian presidential candidate.

“The numbers here are 30 percent higher than any other convention in history. We have almost a thousand delegates here this weekend and the buzz in the room is very, very exciting,” Slantz said. “The room is just electric.”

StanJourdan | Flickr

For now, it’s all over but the counting. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will be busy the next few weeks determining whether five initiative-petition proposals collected enough valid signatures to get on the state’s August or November ballot.

Republican Presidential candidate Dontald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Just days after Ted Cruz’s Missouri backers scored local victories over Donald Trump, the Cruz camp is mulling its next move now that Cruz has dropped out as a presidential candidate.

But Missouri congresswoman Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin who had backed Cruz, is mincing no words about Trump – who she is not ready to endorse.

“I have no intention of supporting Hillary Clinton, now or ever,” Wagner said in an exclusive interview. “However, I’m like any other voter. A candidate has to earn my vote. And thus far, Donald Trump has not.”

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In the midst of a re-election campaign, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he won’t be attending this summer’s Republican presidential nominating convention in Cleveland.

Blunt has attended most presidential conventions during his congressional career, although he notes that his visits have usually been only for a day or two. His decision to skip this one entirely, he says, has nothing to do with the party’s turmoil over its likely nominee, Donald Trump – nor his heated fall contest against Democrat Jason Kander.

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