Election 2016

(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.

Join St. Louis Public Radio on July 6 for a live broadcast debate between Missouri GOP gubernatorial candidates.
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio.

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.

Steve Eagleton
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 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.

A voter enters Our Lady of Guadalupe School on election day in Ferguson.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

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.

Eric Greitens, John Brunner, Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder are campaigning to become Missouri's GOP gubernatorial candidate.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Cornel West, center, is part of a 15-person platform drafting committee that met last week in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Joe Biden speaking at the August 23, 2008 vice presidential announcement in Springfield, Illinois, while presidential nominee Barack Obama listens.
Daniel Schwen | Wikimedia Commons

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.

Dave Robertson, Jo Mannies and Vivian Eveloff discuss the presidential race on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

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 Donald 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.
File photo, Bill Greenblatt | 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.

Republicans at 2nd District convention at Parkway West High School gather to elect presidential delegates.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Former St. Charles state legislator Carl Bearden is co-chairman of GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz’s Missouri campaign. As of Saturday,  Bearden also is a delegate to the Republican presidential convention — for Donald Trump.

Bearden is among a number of Cruz supporters who were elected Saturday to fill the bulk of Trump’s 15 delegate slots at stake at Republican congressional district conventions around the state. Another nine delegate slots were designated for Cruz.

Democrats gather at the 1st Congressional Caucus.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democrats have turned to a mix of party veterans and newcomers to fill the first wave of delegate spots for this summer’s presidential convention.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s sister, Anne McCaskill Moroh, is among the 47 Democratic delegates elected Thursday night at eight congressional conventions held around the state, including three in the St. Louis area. The delegates also include three St. Louis aldermen: Antonio French, D-21st Ward, Jack Coatar, D-7th, and Megan Green, D-15th Ward. Other delegates include Sanders backer Jabari Allen, a 24-year-old political newcomer who works for a home-security startup, and John Burroughs history teacher James Wagner.

The battle between supporters of Ted Cruz, left, and Donald Trump for Missouri's Republican delegates is not over.
Wikipedia images

Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder exemplifies Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.

Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, hopes to get elected Saturday as a delegate from the 2nd Congressional District to this summer’s Republican presidential convention. But Onder is a supporter of GOP hopeful Ted Cruz, while all the 2nd District delegates will be bound to Trump, who carried the district and Missouri during the state’s March 15 presidential primary.

“If I am chosen on Saturday to go to Cleveland, on the first ballot, I’ll be voting for Donald Trump,’’ Onder said.

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.

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.)

Eric Greitens
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Let there be no ambiguity anymore: GOP gubernatorial hopeful Eric Greitens opposes a so-called “religious shield” amendment that’s dominated the Missouri General Assembly’s attention.

It's a stance that sets him apart from his Republican rivals — and has stoked questions about the former Navy SEAL and author’s conservative credentials.

Anders Krusberg | Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Ted Koppel, former “Nightline” anchor and commentator for NPR, joined guest host Steve Potter to discuss the responsibility of the media during the 2016 election.

“It certainly has the atmosphere of a three-ring event,” said Koppel. “The tone of it probably owes as much to entertainment as it does to the serious pursuit of politics. … I don’t think it has ever been at a lower level of politesse as it has been in the last fifteen years.”

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.

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

Updated on Wednesday with comments from state lawmakers: In Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander’s view, what happened last week in St. Louis County was an “inexcusable” event that prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots.

The Democratic official launched an investigation into why roughly 60 polling places ran out of ballots during last week’s municipal elections. His findings largely matched up with what St. Louis Board of Elections director Eric Fey said: There were errors in a database detailing the number of ballot types needed at certain polling places.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The latest legislation against the 1 percent earnings tax in St. Louis is on hold in the Missouri Senate.

Late Monday, Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, unveiled a revamped bill that would NOT phase out the tax, but instead would exempt St. Louis residents from paying on the first $10,000 earned. Also, anyone at or below the federal poverty level would not have to pay the tax at all.

Ferguson City Manager De'Carlon Seewood
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson officials say mixed results from Tuesday’s election will not keep the city from complying with its consent decree with the Justice Department.

Voters approved a sales tax increase but a measure to hike property taxes fell short of its needed two-thirds majority.

St. Louis fire chief, Dennis Jenkerson, is all smiles on April 6, 2016 after city voters overwhelmingly approved the earnings tax and a bond issue.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The overwhelming votes in St. Louis and Kansas City to keep the earnings tax may short-circuit efforts at the state level to eliminate it in St. Louis.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is spearheading the measure, which would phase out the 1 percent tax over 10 years. On Thursday, Senate Republican leader Ron Richard said he will not push to bring his colleague's bill up for a vote.

Pages