Tom Schweich

Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has ended months of speculation by declaring that she’s definitely not running for governor in 2016 and is endorsing Missouri Attorney Chris Koster instead.

“I have an amazing job. I am challenged every day,” McCaskill said in an interview Monday with host Steve Kraske on KCUR-FM, the public-radio station in Kansas City.

“I love the work, and so at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide. ‘Is the job that you’re thinking about going for, is it a better job than the one you have? And can you do more?’ ”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

State Auditor Tom Schweich has yet to decide whether to run for governor in 2016, but he’s making clear that lots of high-profile fellow Republicans want him to do so.

On Thursday, Schweich’s allies released “an open letter’’ signed by more than 120 donors and party activists who want him to run for governor.

The aim of Schweich’s supporters is to portray him as a better choice, backed by more party big shots, than former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, who already has declared her candidacy – and has promoted her own high-profile support.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1991, then-Missouri Attorney General Bill Webster’s ascension to become the next governor seemed inevitable. He had the looks, charisma, campaign cash and the connections.

But then a controversy erupted over whether his office was giving preferential treatment to donors when it came to state contracts. A federal investigation ensued. Webster’s reputation took a huge hit.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking crew welcomes Gregg Keller, a locally based Republican consultant who now runs his own firm, Atlas Strategy Group.

Keller represents a number of corporate and political clients, including state Auditor Tom Schweich, who’s expected to run for governor in 2016.

A graduate of Clayton High School, Keller got his political start after college (Florida State). He began as a volunteer, and later as a staffer, for Jim Talent when he ran in 2002 for the U.S. Senate (defeating Democratic incumbent Jean Carnahan).

Friends of Tom Schweich

The only statewide political office up for grabs in Missouri this year doesn't appear to be anywhere near up for grabs.

State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, is facing only token opposition from the Libertarian and Constitution parties, and the Democrats are not fielding a challenger. This contest may serve more as a campaign for Schweich's next political goal:

Libertarian nominee Sean O'Toole brought it up during a sit-down interview in September, saying that Tom Schweich is actually running for governor.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway got $750,000 this week from wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield for her 2016 campaign for governor. That’s more than 10 times what she raised during the past three months.

That huge donation was condemned late Wednesday by her potential rival, state Auditor Tom Schweich, a fellow Republican. His campaign accused Hanaway of being “dependent on one man and his self-proclaimed ‘political army.’ “

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Tom Schweich is taking aim at a gated Downtown St. Louis parking lot that he says should be open to the public. 

At issue is a parking lot at 1100 Washington Ave., in the heart of downtown’s bar and entertainment district. The lot is maintained by the Washington Avenue Transportation Development District (TDD), which relies on a 1-cent retail sales tax to maintain and cultivate transportation infrastructure around Washington Avenue.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Among the public policy issues that have emerged since Michael Brown’s death, reforming municipal courts appears to have gained the most traction

Last week, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich announced which municipal courts his office was investigating to see whether they’re keeping more traffic fine revenue than what’s allowed under state law.

St. Ann was one of the 10 municipalities on Schweich's list.

State Auditor Tom Schweich stands next to St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann during his St. Louis press conference. Schweich announced he'll be auditing 10 municipal courts, including seven within the St. Louis metro area.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Tom Schweich will audit 10 municipal courts to see if they’re running afoul of a state law that restricts how much revenue from traffic fines a city can keep. 

The Republican official included Ferguson’s court in the tally; it has come under scrutiny since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Besides Ferguson, Schweich will audit St. Louis County-based municipal courts in Bella Villa, Pine Lawn and St. Ann. He’ll also audit Foristell in St. Charles County and Foley and Winfield in Lincoln County.

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich plans to unveil in a few weeks a new initiative to target municipal courts that he believes may be violating state law.

Schweich told members of the St. Louis Chamber at a luncheon Tuesday that his office soon will  “start picking five of the most suspect courts in the state each year and checking to see if they are complying with this new law -- whether they are mistreating any person of a different race or religion and also whether they are refunding money to the state or illegally keeping money for themselves."

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