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Missouri's two major nominees for the U.S. Senate -- Democrat Robin Carnahan and Republican Roy Blunt -- are launching new campaign efforts as they head into the final dog days of August.

And both camps are focusing on Blunt.

Carnahan has just gone up on the air with her campaign's first TV ad, which is running statewide. Although allied groups have run ads attacking Blunt (an indirect benefit for Carnahan) since late last year, this is the first spot that the Carnahan campaign is paying for.

She sits in a small conference room at her lawyer's office. It's mid-morning, hours before she heads to a popular downtown St. Louis restaurant, where she buses tables. Maria isn't her real name, but what she's requested we call her for this story. She's 32, small, with short brown hair and big silver hoop earrings. She's a mother to four, an employee, a daughter and a sister.

And she's undocumented, meaning she has no legal status in this country, which is why we're calling her Maria instead of her real name.

Oh see, CC Rider, oh see

What you have done...

On a brutally hot Tuesday in early August, about 22.9 percent of Missouri's registered voters went to the polls to deliver their verdict on ObamaCare. For the Democrats on Capitol Hill who'd struggled so valiantly to reform health care, the results were less than encouraging.

With pollution closing some Lake of the Ozarks' public beaches, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster plans to hold a symposium next week on the lake's water quality problems.

Gov. Jay Nixon is to kick off the two-day gathering, set for next Wednesday and Thursday.

According to Koster's office, "The purpose of the public symposium is to explore the total range of water quality issues confronting the Lake of the Ozarks today and over the next 20 years."

The latest news from the investigation of sudden acceleration crashes indicates that something is amiss -- but not necessarily with Toyotas.

While the federal safety investigation continues, it might be time to consider what the episode demonstrates about another important institution -- not the auto industry but the media. As the Beacon's editor and a longtime journalist, I find the matter perversely instructive.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and his 3rd District Republican rival -- lawyer Ed Martin -- have agreed to debates, although they haven't agreed on how many, when or where.

In fact, Martin has announced a series of three weekly debates in August, beginning next Tuesday. Trouble is, Carnahan wasn't consulted and doesn't plan to show up.

The trouble with Florissant, says state Auditor Susan Montee, is that there aren't many Missouri communities like it.

Florissant has what is called a "strong mayor" form of government that many area mayors may covet (notably, the last half-dozen St. Louis mayors), but most don't have.

Tuesday night, Montee outlined the findings of her office's exhaustive and expensive audit of Florissant's city government, conducted at the behest of petitioning city residents.

I have long believed that we should instruct our politicians:

Ask not what programs you can enact to burnish your legacy -
Ask what programs you can repeal to set our people free.

The recent dust up over the extension of unemployment benefits has given me an idea.

U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., swiftly registered his sorrow today over the death of a longtime former colleague, former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

Stevens, 86, was among five who died in a plane crash Monday in his home state. Stevens lost a bid for re-election in 2008 following a corruption conviction, which was tossed out last year.

Said Bond: "Like all of Ted’s friends and family, Linda and I are shocked and saddened by this tragedy.

Kent D. Syverud
Washington University photo

Kent D. Syverud, dean of the Washington University School of Law, has been appointed as one of two independent trustees of the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust fund established by BP to settle claims for damages from the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an interview with the Beacon Monday, Syverud said he understands the importance of the position.

“It is a public responsibility, and I care about it and understand the importance of it,’’ he said. “I will do my best.’’

To succeed, small businesses need fertile ground in which to grow as well as protection against predators and unfair competition. Whether we like it or not, government plays the role of "traffic cop" in our economy; ensuring for everyone, including small businesses, that we are headed in the right direction and avoiding calamitous outcomes.

Brian Nieves
Official photo

A court date has been set for Thursday morning in Cole County Court in Jefferson City on a protection order being sought against state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, Mo. Nieves just won a primary last week to be the party's nominee for state senator in the 26th District, which includes parts of St. Louis and Franklin counties.

After California's ban on gay marriage was tossed out by a judge this week, could Missouri's gay-marriage ban be next?

That fear prompted Frieda Keough to show up in Clayton's Memorial Park on Thursday, homemade sign in hand, to join about 70 others protesting Wednesday's decision by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. He ruled that California's Proposition 8, approved by voters in 2008, violated the rights of gays and lesbians who wish to marry.

Roy Blunt, now the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, and U.S. House colleague Todd Akin were both swift today to assert that July's jobs figures make clear that A) the federal stimulus spending hasn't worked and B) the Bush tax cuts can't be allowed to expire.

Blunt, R-Springfield, has been highlighting his "Where are the Jobs?" slogan -- with signs as well as talk -- ever since his victory party Tuesday night in south St. Louis.

At the "Women for Roy Blunt" event
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2010

Former Missouri House Speaker/U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway, who's now a lawyer working with the Ashcroft Group, helped launch Monday a "Women for Roy Blunt'' coalition aimed at promoting the U.S. Senate bid of the southwest Missouri congressman.

Hanaway will cohost the coalition, along with Renee Hulshof, a radio-show host in Columbia, Mo., and the wife of former U.S. Rep. (and unsuccessful 2008 gubernatorial nominee) Kenny Hulshof.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, an environmental advocacy group, is launching a new statewide ad campaign in Missouri that accuses U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, of being too close to major oil companies.

A spokeswoman said the ad buy is "in the six figures" for a week's worth of spots on cable and broadcast stations in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Peter Kinder primary election night 2010
Rachel Heidenry | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was fitting in national TV and newspaper interviews today around his previously scheduled afternoon flight to San Diego to take part in a meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

For all the flaps over some of his ill-conceived Tweets in recent weeks, it appears that Kinder was arguably the biggest victor in Tuesday's primary -- Republican or Democrat -- who was not on the ballot.

State Sen. Chuck Purgason's smaller-than-expected vote tally in Tuesday's Republican U.S. Senate primary, coupled with the defeat of state Rep. Allen Icet in the GOP contest for auditor, has prompted some post-primary talk about the true clout of Missouri's Tea Party movement.

"The Tea Party movement did not show a lot of strength,'' said Dave Robertson, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "The Republican 'establishment' was able to withstand the assault from the Tea Party wing."

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan didn't mention it yesterday during her Senate primary victory speech, but the Missouri Republican Party -- and her mother -- made note of it today.

Today is Robin Carnahan's 49th birthday. It's also the 49th birthday of the nation's 44th and current president, fellow Democrat Barack Obama.

The Missouri GOP and former Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo. -- who both make note of the U.S. Senate race -- obviously have different takes on Robin Carnahan's shared big day.

The state Republican Party said in its release, in part:

One second after Tuesday's polls closed, and before the votes were counted, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley launched his first full-throttle campaign attack against Republican Bill Corrigan.

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