Paul Wieland

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.

Breaking new ground is one of the trademarks of the Politically Speaking podcast, and this year was no exception. 

After three years of podcasts, Politically Speaking changed its format and put the spotlight on guests. In all, 48 episodes featured federal, state and local officials from across Missouri and Illinois – as well as a few folks who aren’t in office.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we gathered our political reporters to recap Tuesday’s election. The consensus: Republicans ruled the night.

“It was a Republican bloodbath, nationally and regionally,” said Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter. “But it also shows that St. Louis County is definitely Democratic turf because the only two Democratic candidates — big names — who remained standing were Steve Stenger and Jill Schupp.”

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

The 2014 mid-term election is over, but its impact on local and state politics could be long lasting.

That’s because Republicans  -- who were already in firm control of the Missouri General Assembly – expanded their numbers in the House and Senate in part because they were able to crack the Democrats'  once-sturdy strongholds in Jefferson County, southeast Missouri and northeast Missouri. In St. Louis County, Republicans also came close to electing a county executive for the first time since 1990 when Democrat Buzz Westfall ended 28 years of GOP control over the office.

Jill Schupp at her victory party Tuesday night.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democrats took a beating on Tuesday in contests for the Missouri General Assembly, losing even more ground in the Missouri House and Senate — including a hotly-contested race for a vacant Jefferson County Senate seat.

A bright spot for Democrats was in St. Louis County, where State Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, narrowly won a hard-fought contest for the 24th District Senate seat.

St. Louis Public Radio aired the first public debate between two candidates for St. Louis County executive, Democrat Steve Stenger, left and Republican Rick Stream (right).
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s somewhat instinctual for Missouri political reporters to describe every election as decisive, critical or groundbreaking. And to be fair, it’s not an unnatural impulse – since every Show Me State election year for the past couple of decades has featured a competitive statewide, U.S. Senate or presidential contest.

This year, though, state Auditor Tom Schweich likely won’t lose to his Libertarian or Constitution Party opponents, and the Missouri House and Senate will remain firmly in Republican hands. And there's no U.S. Senate contest.

It's one of the few hotly contested races on the ballot the year: the 22nd District state Senate race in Jefferson County.

Both Republican Paul Wieland and Democrat Jeff Roorda joined us on the podcast a couple months ago, so we took the time afterward to ask them a few questions on video. You can see their answers by clicking on the questions below.

What's the biggest issue facing Jefferson County? What would you do to fix it?

What is the difference between you and your opponent?

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area is home to Missouri’s arguably most competitive – and expensive – state Senate contests on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Both state parties, and their allies, have been pouring money into the battles for the 22nd District and 24th District seats. The 22nd District is in Jefferson County, while the 24th stretches across a large area of central and west St. Louis County.

The 24th District pits state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, versus Republican attorney Jay Ashcroft.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking crew continues its look at the so-called “Battle for JeffCo,” the expensive campaign for the 22nd District state Senate seat that's among the region's most competitive contests this fall.

After hosting Republican state Rep. Paul Wieland last week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum now welcome his opponent – state Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart – to the podcast.

The November winner of the 22nd District contest will represent a big chunk of Jefferson County for the next four years.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s mid-term election season is in full swing. And that means it’s time to interview the candidates in some of the state’s most competitive electoral contests. 

State Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to discuss his bid for the 22nd District state Senate seat. Wieland is running against state Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, for the open Jefferson County-based seat.

(Roorda is slated to appear on next week’s episode of Politically Speaking.)

Mo. House Communications

Amid the continued controversy within Democratic ranks over St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch,  one official remains solidly in his corner and not afraid to say so:

State Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart.

“Bob McCulloch is the definition of integrity and he was elected overwhelmingly,’’ said Roorda, who’s now locked in arguably the region’s most competitive state Senate contest this fall.

Roorda is competing against fellow Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, for the Senate post in Jefferson County vacated by Democrat Ryan McKenna because of term limits.

Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial
Provided

The lawyer for state Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, predicts that his suit against mandated contraceptive coverage will help launch an avalanche of court challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring insurance companies to offer such benefits.

But first Wieland needs to persuade a federal appeals court to reinstate his case. A lower court had tossed it out.

Updated 3:23 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17

State Sen. John Lamping, R-Frontenac, has yet to say if he’s running for re-election this fall, in what could be the region’s top legislative contest.

But his campaign money could be speaking for him. He has very little.

Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger — state Rep. Jill Schupp of Creve — has raised a lot.

The latest campaign-finance reports for the two, filed this week, show that Schupp raised more than $108,000 during the past three months. She now has $261,202 in the bank.

It make take longer than expected to fill Ryan McKenna's void in the Missouri Senate.

When the Jefferson County Democrat resigned in December to become director of the state labor department, he left open the possibility that his Senate seat may remain vacant throughout 2014. If that occurs, the Missouri Senate would not be at full membership for an entire calendar year.

Testimony was heard in Jefferson City today on legislation that would outlaw the use of red light cameras in Missouri.

The bill is sponsored by State Representative Paul Weiland (R, Imperial).  He called red light cameras a gimmick for boosting revenue, saying that cities that use them fine violators without adding points to their driving records.