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Mario González Contreras, on a speaking tour to spread awareness about the Ayotzinapa 43, attends a Saint Louis University student mass at St. Francis Xavier College Church after speaking with students.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Mario González Contreras doesn’t like speaking at universities.

The students who fill the lecture halls and seminar rooms are about the same age as his son, César. He notices his son’s features in their faces. Or maybe, he looks for them. And that’s when it hits him the hardest.

On Sunday evening, González stood behind a lectern at Saint Louis University’s Center for Global Citizenship. About two dozen students listened intently as he talked about his son.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster with images of money
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s $45 million and counting for Missouri’s two major-party nominees for governor as they head into the home stretch.

That’s how much Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens have raised, as of Friday, in their record-setting battle. So far, they’ve spent close to $36 million (some of it before the Aug. 2 primary.)

Arch City Defenders executive director Thomas Harvey speaking during a 2014 meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Florissant has become the 16th north St. Louis County municipality to face a federal lawsuit for jailing defendants simply because they couldn't pay a fine or court cost.

The Arch City Defenders filed the class action lawsuit on Monday. It alleges that the five individuals were among hundreds, if not thousands, of defendants "threatened, abused, and left to languish in confinement until their frightened family members produced enough cash to buy their freedom, or until City jail officials decided, days or weeks later, to release them free of charge — after it had become clear the City would not be able to extract any money from them."

Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans have spent roughly a decade trying to implement a requirement that voters show government-issued photo identification before they can cast a ballot. After numerous starts and stops, the GOP is one public vote away from achieving a long-standing public policy goal.

Amendment 6 would authorize Missouri lawmakers to pass a photo ID statute. The constitutional change is needed because the Missouri Supreme Court years earlier had tossed out photo-ID mandates, saying they violated the state constitution.

Gov. Jay Nixon October 2016
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are honored to welcome Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to the program.

The two-term Democrat spent more than an hour discussing his legacy as the state's chief executive — and provided in-depth insight into how he faced crisis while in office.

These stories appear in our top five stories periodically.

Some are assigned to classes for students.

Others appear on websites, such as Reddit.

The rest are inexplicably popular.

Eric Greitens, Missouri's GOP candidate for governor, embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during a get-out-the-vote rally in Chesterfield.
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker headlined a parade of Missouri Republican candidates who exhorted local allies Sunday to do all they can to help generate a GOP sweep on Nov. 8.

“If you’re going to turn the country around, first off, you need to do it in the states,” said Walker, who was campaigning primarily on behalf of Eric Greitens, Missouri’s GOP nominee for governor. Greitens is locked in a tight contest with his Democratic rival, Attorney General Chris Koster.

Walker traveled Sunday with Greitens and other Missouri candidates to the state’s most-populous regions – Springfield, Kansas City and St. Louis. The blitz came about 48 hours after Vice President Joe Biden held a St. Louis rally aimed at energizing Democrats.

In this election year, much of the dialogue between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump has been particularly harsh. Both candidates for president of the United States have taken turns hurling accusations of illegal or immoral behavior at one other.

The verbal assaults, frequently discussed in decidedly “adult language," have left some likely voters wondering what ever happened to common decency and common sense.

What, then, are parents supposed to do, when their children hear talk and see actions that in no way set examples of how reasonable people should behave?

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd of supporters at a rally for Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander at The Pageant.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Vice President Joe Biden swung through St. Louis Friday to extol a largely youthful crowd to send Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander to the U.S. Senate.

Biden spoke to hundreds of people at The Pageant, a popular music venue in St. Louis. His visit comes amid a tightening race between Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt in a contest that could determine whether Democrats take over the U.S. Senate next year.

Kander's aides estimated that nearly 2,000 people came to hear Kander and Biden speak.

Police chief Sam Dotson addresses Tower Grove South residents at a community meeting on December 12, 2014.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

An attempt by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to record its discontent with a sitting police chief running for mayor fell short on Friday.

The resolution from Alderman Joe Roddy, D-17th Ward, got just 13 of the 15 votes it needs to pass. It calls on St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson to resign if he officially files to run for mayor in November. The chief announced earlier this month he would seek the office, being vacated after 16 years by Mayor Francis Slay.

Paula Bradshaw is the Green Party candidate in Illinois' 12th Congressional District.
Facebook photo | used with permission of the candidate

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from our first Green Party candidate of the election: Paula Bradshaw, a nurse, who is running for Illinois’ 12th congressional district.

Bradshaw ran for the same seat in 2014, but was defeated by Mike Bost [R]. She also ran in 2012. In both elections, she garnered nearly six percent of the vote.

The three candidates for Illinois’ 12th congressional district squared off in their only televised debate last Thursday night - and all agree more needs to be done to help the economy.

Illinois voters aren't getting many chances to see their candidates for U.S. Senate face off. Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and the incumbent -- Republican Mark Kirk -- met Thursday in Springfield. It was the first of only two televised debates, and their only downstate match-up.

s_falkow | Flickr

Nearly every voter in Missouri is aware of the contests for president and governor.

But there are also 48 trial and appellate judges who are hoping to remain on the bench through retention elections. 

Ann Wagner 2016
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner to the program.

The Ballwin Republican is seeking re-election in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District. That takes in portions of St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. Wagner is running against Democrat Bill Otto, a state representative from Maryland Heights who recorded an episode of Politically Speaking earlier this month.

Judy Baker and Eric Schmitt are the Democratic and Republican candidates for Missouri Treasurer.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from Missouri’s Democratic and Republican candidates for Treasurer: Judy Baker and Eric Schmitt. The two interviews are excerpted from earlier Politically Speaking podcasts conducted by St. Louis Public Radio political reporters Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum.

Baker is a former state representative who served for two terms representing some of Boone County. Schmitt is a state senator from Glendale who has served in that role since 2009.

You can read more about each candidate here:

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt enjoys referencing the movie Spaceballs in his campaign speeches.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

In the early years of his political career,  U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt had a reputation as a reformer. 

In 1992, Blunt — then Missouri secretary of state — ran a stunning ad that accused fellow Republican Bill Webster of engaging in “pay to play” in the Missouri attorney general’s office.

Bill Freivogel, Jane Dueker and Mark Smith were part of St. Louis on the Air's October Legal Roundtable discussion.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday, St. Louis on the Air’s Legal Roundtable discussed pressing legal issues of the day, including voter fraud, voter photo I.D., the dismissal of a Ferguson excessive force suit, St. Louis’ minimum wage and the Supreme Court.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jason Kander speaks at a labor rally in St. Charles earlier this fall. Kander is squaring off against U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt this November.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s a dreary, rainy day in Troy, Missouri, and Jason Kander is about to meet a small group of veterans at the Roasted Bean Coffee Shop. In a weird, parallel universe, the 35-year-old Democrat would be stumping for his second term as secretary of state. But Kander’s aiming higher and is focusing his time and energy on trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Few national pundits believed Kander’s gambit would be worthwhile. They looked at presidential results and polls, and concluded (wrongly) Missouri was just too Republican for a Democrat to prevail. But Kander never bought into that type of assumptive prognostication. And now, Kander is within striking distance of being a building block for his party’s return to power in the U.S. Senate.

Republican Mike Bost, left, and Democrat C.J. Baricevic are the main party candidates for the Illinois 12th Congressional District seat.
Campaign photos

On  Oct. 27, residents of the 12 counties of Illinois’ 12th Congressional District will get their only chance to watch the candidates face off. Lindenwood University-Belleville will host the debate among Republican Mike Bost, Democrat C.J. Baricevic and Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw.

August 2014 St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson
File photo | UPI

The decision by St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson to run for mayor without resigning his current post isn’t a very popular one.

Sen. Eric Schmitt
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Schmitt, the GOP candidate for Missouri treasurer, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies for the latest Politically Speaking podcast.

It’s Schmitt’s fourth appearance on the show.

Schmitt, a state senator from Glendale, faces Democrat Judy Baker on Nov. 8. Baker also has been featured on Politically Speaking.

Teresa Hensley and Josh Hawley are the Democratic and Republican candidates for Missouri Attorney General.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from Missouri’s Democratic and Republican candidates for Attorney General: Teresa Hensley and Josh Hawley. The two interviews are excerpted from earlier Politically Speaking podcasts conducted by St. Louis Public Radio political reporters Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum.

You can read more about each candidate here:

Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, listens as fellow senators thank each other for their work.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Scott Sifton knows a thing or two about high-stakes elections.

The Affton Democrat took part four years ago in the most competitive legislative race in the state against incumbent Sen. Jim Lembke. A lot more was on the line than just flipping the 1st District Senatorial seat: Lembke and Sifton were divided on a host of key issues, and Sifton’s victory gave the smallish Democratic caucus more firepower to achieve their agenda.

As he runs for re-election in a district that’s been historically close, Sifton sees similarly high stakes in his contest against Republican Randy Jotte. But it’s over an issue in which he and Lembke found agreement: “right to work.”

The candidates for lieutenant governor are Republican Mike Parson, left, and Democrat Russ Carnahan.
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in 12 years, someone besides Peter Kinder will be lieutenant governor of Missouri.

Kinder jumped into the governor's race and lost in a crowded Republican primary, coming in third in a contest won by Eric Greitens. The major party candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot are Democrat Russ Carnahan and Republican Mike Parson.

The Great America PAC, a super PAC supporting Donald Trump, is airing a TV ad encouraging his supporters to express their worries about a rigged election.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been warning his supporters for weeks that the 2016 election is rigged.

It's a claim that Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander calls "unfair" to local election authorities. The Illinois State Board of Election said in a statement that "allegations of a 'rigged' election are completely unfounded."

St. Louis Public Radio asked area election officials what keeps them up at night two weeks before a presidential contest. Here's what they said:

Participants in St. Louis' Black & Engaged trainings pose with fists raised after part of the weekend's sessions.
Charles Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

While the presidential election on Nov. 8 looms large across the nation, St. Louis activists and community organizers are trying to refocus the conversation on local politics. Black & Engaged is a national project for mobilizing black voters under 40. Organizers held its final civic engagement training in downtown St. Louis as part of their four-city tour this month.  

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s two major candidates for governor disagree on many things. But Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens do share similar views on the dueling tobacco-tax hike proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. They oppose both of them.

That opposition could be significant, since whoever is elected governor will likely have significant roles in implementation of any of the six ballot measures that go before voters. Here’s a rundown on where Greitens and Koster stand on those issues, including some of their observations.

Judy Baker
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes back Democratic state treasurer hopeful Judy Baker to the program.

The Columbia Democrat is running against state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, in the contest to succeed state Treasurer Clint Zweifel. Zweifel is unable to run again, because the treasurer’s office is term-limited.

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
File photo| St. Louis Public Radio

The financing package for part of Paul McKee's massive Northside Regeneration Project has gotten the first of two rounds of approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Aldermen on Friday finalized the language for bills authorizing $2.8 million in tax increment financing incentives, and the creation of a new community improvement district, funded through a 1 percent sales tax. A final vote could come next week.

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