Tom Schweich

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Typically when December ends, journalists tend to become reflective about the highlights and lowlights of the past year. This reporter is no exception, as the scandal, tragedy, transition, conflict and hilarity of the past 12 months gave everybody who covers Missouri politics a lot to think about.

So yes, this is an article rounding up all of the big moments from the past year. But renowned financier Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson inspired me to take this retrospective in a different direction.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The past year was full of watershed political moments in St. Louis and the state of Missouri, but what will have the greatest implications for 2016? On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” host Don Marsh picked the brains of two people who know best: St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum, political reporters and hosts of the podcast Politically Speaking

David Barklage
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome GOP political consultant David Barklage to the program for the first time.

The Cape Girardeau native possesses a two-fold claim to political fame: He played a big role in building big Republican majorities in the Missouri Senate and he long served as a key political adviser to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

Barklage is part owner of the consulting firm Barklage Knodell, with offices in St. Louis and Jefferson City.

Nicole Galloway takes the oath of office as Missouri auditor from Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Russell.
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

(Updated 4/28/2015, 11:58 a.m.)

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway has named her new senior staff.

In a press release issued Tuesday, she named John Luetkemeyer as Deputy State Auditor and Michael Moorefield as Chief of Staff.

Luetkemeyer has been with the Missouri Auditor's office since 1981.  He was promoted to executive staff in 2008 under former Auditor Susan Montee, a Democrat, and also served as Director of State Audits under Tom Schweich, a Republican.

Sen. McCaskill's Flickr Page

Clearer skies might hang on the political horizon with the swearing in of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, but matters are not all clear just yet between Republicans and Democrats.

On Monday, Mo. Senator Claire McCaskill told St. Louis on the Air host, Don Marsh, that in order to achieve more heights, both parties must be willing to compromise. With a number of politicians from the Republican Party running for president, McCaskill says that matters of the here-and-now may become distracted. Those matters include a highway bill and the debt ceiling, among others.

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

The campaign operation for the late state Auditor Tom Schweich, who killed himself, is reporting that it has returned more than $370,000 in campaign donations, including $75,000 to Clayton business magnate Sam Fox and his wife.

Schweich launches his campaign for governor on January 28, 2015
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 10:45 p.m. to reflect that confirmation  of the suicide occurred  on Tuesday, not Wednesday.)

Clayton police say they may never know why Tom Schweich killed himself in February.

The department confirmed Tuesday that Schweich, the state auditor and a Republican candidate for governor, shot himself in the head with a .22-caliber handgun on Feb. 26. His wife, Kathy, was the one to call 911.

Nicole Galloway
Boone Country Treasurer website

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed Boone County Treasurer Nicole Galloway as the new state auditor, replacing Tom Schweich, who committed suicide Feb. 26.

Galloway, a Democrat, is a certified public accountant, and has held her current post since April 2011.

Bill Greenblatt I UPI

With St. Louis County no longer involved in funding a new football stadium in St. Louis, there’s some uncertainty about the public financing of the project. But during a stop in Earth City on Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon expressed confidence that the money will be there to build the facility.

Jefferson County Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker talks with the press Tuesday.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Before shooting himself, Spence Jackson, spokesman for the Missouri auditor, tried to make clear why he was ending his life.

Wrote Spence in a note: "I'm so sorry; I just can't take being unemployed again.”

The note was dated "3-27-15" at the top.

His words were made public Tuesday by Jefferson City police Capt. Doug Shoemaker, who disclosed the preliminary results of the probe into Jackson’s apparent suicide.

Spence Jackson
From his LinkedIn page

Spence Jackson, spokesman for the late Missouri auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead in his apartment Sunday, according to a press release from the Jefferson City Police Department. His death is being investigated as a suicide.

Gov. Jay Nixon may soon decide his pick to replace state Auditor Tom Schweich. Nixon appointed John Watson earlier this year as an interim auditor while he mulls a permanent selection.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Filling Tom Schweich’s void in the state auditor’s office may be one of the most important decisions of Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure. He’ll have to pick somebody who can perform the tasks of an important office – and contend with the rigors of maneuvering through statewide politics.

Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s episode of Politically Speaking features Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock, who has been under fire for weeks, in a candid conversation with St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies.

An audit released Tuesday finds that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's office has not instituted a policy to guard against conflicts of interest. In response, Koster noted that his campaign organization had instituted changes following earlier news reports about possible conflicts.

Republican GOP - RIGHT WIDTH - also avail. gopelephantleft
Wikipedia

Prominent Republican donor David Humphreys has revised his sworn affidavit that initially accused Missouri GOP chairman John Hancock of making an anti-Semitic remark about state Auditor Tom Schweich, adding a new element to the internal GOP battle that has raged since Schweich's Feb. 26 suicide.

Republican GOP - RIGHT WIDTH - also avail. gopelephantleft
Wikipedia

(Updated 4:20 p.m. Friday, March 20)

Retired U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth says he’s not giving up in his quest to force the ouster of Missouri GOP chairman, John Hancock, whom Danforth blames for an alleged anti-Semitic “whispering campaign’’ that Danforth believes prompted state Auditor Tom Schweich to kill himself.

“I think (Hancock) should be repudiated by all Republicans,’’ Danforth said in a telephone interview late Thursday.  The retired senator added that he was not calling for Hancock’s resignation, and instead wanted Hancock to be forced out.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel speaks to the St. Louis Regional Chamber on Friday, March 13, 2015.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Soon after Michael Brown’s shooting death sparked riots and protests that jolted businesses in and around Ferguson, state Treasurer Clint Zweifel decided to get the lay of the land.

Speaking to the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Zweifel said he didn’t look to consultants or political figures for help. Nor did try to figure out solutions from a distance.

John Hancock at 2015 Lincoln Days
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Embattled Missouri Republican Party chairman John Hancock has launched a major public offensive to refute allegations that he had conducted an anti-Semitic “whispering campaign” against state Auditor Tom Schweich. Critics assert that "whispering campaign" contributed to the auditor’s suicide on Feb. 26.

Friends of Tom Schweich

For different reasons, both Missouri Republicans and Democrats have found themselves engaged in some introspection -- even soul-searching -- as they struggle to assess and reconsider their words, actions and policies in the face of some direct challenges from within.

Former state Auditor Tom Schweich speaks at his victory party in Clayton last November. Nixon will select somebody to serve out the remainder of Schweich's term, which runs through the end of 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon is still mulling over a permanent replacement for former state Auditor Tom Schweich.

Nixon appointed his former chief of staff John Watson to serve as interim auditor late last month. Nixon told reporters on Monday in Wentzville that he’s getting more focused on selecting someone to fill out the rest of Schweich’s term.

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