John Brunner

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.

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.

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.

Eric Greitens, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, opened a campaign office in Crestwood earlier this week. Feb. 8 2016
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

For all the months of declarations and endorsements, the campaign season really gets underway when candidates begin opening their field offices, and their first TV ads hit the airwaves. The season also often kicks off with a broadside attack.

This week, all three happened.

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.

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican field for Missouri governor has grown larger. St. Louis businessman John Brunner announced his candidacy this morning in a pre-recorded YouTube video.

John Brunner
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies interview one of the many Republicans considering a bid for governor in 2016 – John Brunner.

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.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –  From U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on down, Missouri Republicans at the party’s annual Lincoln Days festivities are full of confidence about their chances at the polls this fall and in 2016.

And the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,’’ is getting much of the credit.

“If this disaster doesn’t help us take control of the Senate, it will surprise me,” said Blunt, who sparked several ovations at Friday night’s opening banquet of the weekend gathering, held this year at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, the senator's home turf.

John Lamping mo senator 2014
Official photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When it comes to lengthy commutes, state Sen. John Lamping’s may take the cake.

The Ladue Republican represents a swath of central and eastern St. Louis County in the Missouri Senate – a distinction he earned after a very narrow victory in 2010 over Democrat Barbara Fraser. But his family lives in Kansas City, mainly because his daughter is training to become an elite gymnast.

(via John Brunner for Senate; file photo; Wikimedia Commons/U.S. House of Representatives).

Most of the people gathered outside of Washington University’s Edison Theater before a recent GOP Senate Primary debate already knew who they were voting for.  

But Shelby Hewerdine wasn’t sure yet.

So, she drove in from St. Charles to get a better feel for the character of each candidate.

“I don’t know how else people are going to look at it because they are very similar on the issues, so, we’ll see,” Hewerdine said.  

And during the debate, the three main candidates laid out basically the same policy platform. 

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The three Republicans vying for the right to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November didn't stray far from the party's script at a debate in St. Charles last night.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

US Chamber of Commerce weighs in on Missouri's GOP Senate primary

The US Chamber of Commerce has made an endorsement in the three-way Republican Senate primary in Missouri.

The chamber on Tuesday backed former Vi-Jon chairman John Brunner, saying his private sector experience in cutting spending and balancing budgets provides the best contrast with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

A report issued Monday by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri concludes that US House members circumvented a ban on earmark spending more than 100 times. (read full report here)

House Republicans banned earmarks last fall for two years to curb government spending. But, McCaskill's report finds that the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee used tricks to allow more than $800 million in earmarks be inserted in the 2012 Defense authorization bill.

(via Flickr/Senator McCaskill)

Missouri's Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill introduced legislation Wednesday to put a permanent ban on earmarks, the legislative practice of funding specific projects.

Currently, there is a temporary ban on earmarks in place.

Speaking to reporters during a conference call this morning, McCaskill says projects need to compete on merit.

(via John Brunner for Senate)

Updated 2:11 p.m. with details

The Republican race to challenge U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill in 2012 is officially a three-way contest.

John Brunner, chairman of St. Louis-based Vi-Jon, Inc.,which makes Germ-X hand sanitizer and other personal care products,  has officially entered the race.

Brunner made the announcement via a 10:45 a.m. press conference Monday. Here are his prepared remarks for you to review.

Brunner, a former Marine, describes himself on his Twitter profile and Facebook page as "a true constitutional conservative running to cut spending, balance the budget, and restore the American Dream." He has a long track record of donating to Republican and conservative causes. But he's never run for public office - which he says makes him the most qualified person to serve.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Cardinals top Phillies 5-4

Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead single in the seventh to give the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies last night. John Jay added two RBIs for the Cardinals, who evened the National League division series matchup at one game apiece. St. Louis will send Jamie Garcia to the mound tomorrow in game 3.

Brunner expected to announce U.S. Senate candidacy