2020 Missouri elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2020 Missouri elections

Jamie Tolliver
Courtesy of Jamie Tolliver

Jamie Tolliver, St. Louis County executive hopeful, is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The University City resident talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about her bid. 

Tolliver is one of four candidates running in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary. All four candidates will appear on Politically Speaking in separate episodes released this week. 

Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills
File photo | Tim Bommel I House Communications

Citing her responsibilities as Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker is stepping away from her duties as Missouri Democratic Party chairwoman and turning over control to former state Rep. Clem Smith.

In a statement released Thursday evening, Baker said Smith, vice chairman of the party, “is the right person to lead our party at this critical moment.”

Elad Gross
Courtesy of Elad Gross

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Democratic Missouri attorney general candidate Elad Gross talks about his bid for the office — and the steps he would take to reshape the post. 

Gross is running against Rich Finneran in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary. You can listen to Finneran’s appearance on Politically Speaking here. The winner of that contest will take on Republican incumbent Eric Schmitt.

Rich Finneran
Courtesy of Rich Finneran

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Democratic attorney general candidate Rich Finneran talks about his bid to unseat Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt — and his priorities for the office. 

Finneran is running against Elad Gross in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary. Gross’ appearance on Politically Speaking will be posted later this week.

Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz
Courtesy of Barry Glantz

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz joins the show to talk about his run for the 2nd District St. Louis County Council seat. 

Glantz is facing incumbent Kelli Dunaway in the Aug. 4 primary. Dunaway was elected to represent the district that takes in Creve Coeur, Chesterfield, Maryland Heights, Overland and St. Ann in 2019. She filled the seat vacated by Sam Page when he was named County Executive. Dunaway was on Politically Speaking last week.

Ferguson residents vote at Griffith Elementary School in Ferguson, Missouri. Residents voted in person for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. June 2, 2020
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents across the St. Louis area came out to vote Tuesday in Missouri's first elections since officials enacted stay-at-home orders to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday’s municipal elections were originally scheduled for April 7. Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order in March to postpone the election to June as the virus spread across the state. 

On Tuesday, many voters wore masks and other personal protective gear and stayed socially distant from others waiting to vote.

A poll worker sets out "I voted today" stickers at the St. Louis County Board Of Elections on Oct. 25, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Under normal circumstances, Heather Robinett and Ella Jones wouldn’t be running for mayor of Ferguson right now. 

But these aren’t normal times. The coronavirus pandemic pushed the April 7 municipal and school elections to June 2. 

These contests are taking place in a radically different electoral landscape than the beginning of the year. Not only are some jurisdictions increasingly gravitating toward absentee ballots, but candidates like Robinett and Jones are using social media, direct mail and phone banking to reach out to voters for Tuesday’s election.

Medical workers collect a sample from a patient at Mercy Health's drive-through novel coronavirus test collection site in Chesterfield on Monday afternoon, March 16, 2020.
File photo |Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After weeks of often acrimonious debate, the St. Louis County Council voted along party lines Tuesday to give St. Louis County Executive Sam Page power over directing nearly $175 million worth of federal coronavirus funds.

It’s a move Democratic members of the council said they feel is necessary to act quickly to combat the deadly virus. But the council’s three Republicans, and some of Page’s opponents in the Democratic county executive primary, believe it creates an imbalance of power.

File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As a mother, Katy Fechter said she makes it a point to bring her kids to the polls every election she votes in.

But this year, Fechter said, she may need to give up her right to vote to protect her son, who is considered high risk for contracting COVID-19 because of his asthma. That said, Fechter feels this presidential election is the most important one in her lifetime.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has approved a petition to allow Missouri voters to decide whether to expand Medicaid.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

Sandy Diamond is planning to vote this year, even with high anxiety over the spread of the coronavirus. 

If the University City resident must vote in person, she’ll put on a mask and practice social distancing to participate in democracy. But Diamond would like to see policymakers come up with ways to make more Missourians feel safe participating in the upcoming elections — including expanding access to absentee ballots.

It’s an idea that’s gained traction with a bipartisan group of election officials.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.
The Missouri Secretary of State.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said today on St. Louis on the Air that he is convinced the “plain language” of state law does not allow voters to cast an absentee ballot simply because they fear the coronavirus. 

“There is no mention of someone that is scared of becoming sick … in which case it would not apply to a fear of the coronavirus,” he said.

But he vowed to have personal protective equipment in place for upcoming elections — and said he will not repeat Wisconsin’s mistakes. 

Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2012 photo

In Missouri, you may only vote by mail if you apply for an absentee ballot — and cite one of just six specific reasons detailed in state law. Among them are illness or disability, or the fact you’ll be traveling out of the area. “Fear of contracting COVID-19” is not listed among them.

The ACLU of Missouri argues that should, in fact, be sufficient cause for receiving an absentee ballot. Working in concert with the Missouri Voter Coalition, the organization filed a class-action lawsuit last Friday against the state of Missouri, the Missouri Secretary of State and a few local boards of election. It argues that the “illness or disability” clause in state law should apply to those staying at home to avoid the coronavirus, since it specifically mentions “confinement due to illness” as a qualifier.   

The Missouri state minimum wage will increase from $7.85 an hour to $8.60, after voters approved Proposition B in November.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Challengers for Missouri governor, Congress and St. Louis County executive raised more money in their campaign committees in the first quarter of 2020 than the people they’re seeking to oust from office. 

In at least two of those contests, the challengers still have a long way to go to close a gap when it comes to money in the bank — a key metric when examining campaign finance numbers.

A bid to expand Medicaid has received substantial amounts of monetary and organizational supporter over the past few months.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Coronavirus concerns have made gathering signatures for ballot items basically impossible, especially with state and local governments placing restrictions on public gatherings.

But a group seeking to put a Medicaid expansion proposal before Missouri voters says it started early enough to get the necessary signatures for the 2020 ballot.

Gary Taber cheers while watching early election results at a watch party for Biden supporters at John D. McGurk's Irish Pub and Garden in St. Louis. March 10, 2020
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:20 p.m. with all Missouri precincts reporting and comments from candidate supporters

Former Vice President Joe Biden won Missouri’s Democratic presidential primary by 26 percentage points Tuesday, beating Bernie Sanders in every county in the state the Vermont senator nearly won four years ago.

Biden’s Missouri victory is a continuation of momentum for the former vice president, whose campaign was in the doldrums until a string of victories over the past couple of weeks made him the frontrunner. He also won in Michigan and Mississippi on Tuesday, delivering a potentially insurmountable boost to his campaign.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, at left, talks with host Sarah Fenske, right, ahead of his St. Louis rally on Monday.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down with St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske ahead of a campaign rally in St. Louis on Monday. 

Missouri voters will go to the polls to cast primary ballots on Tuesday. The Vermont senator’s visit follows a campaign stop in St. Louis on Saturday by former Vice President Joe Biden, whose staff did not make him available for an interview.

The conversation with Sanders touched on the senator’s strong showing in the 2016 Missouri primary, the new coronavirus and who’s best situated to unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump. It also delved into the potential impact of a transition to Medicare for All on one of the St. Louis region’s biggest employers: the health care industry.

Updated at 10 a.m. March 4 — As the race for the Democratic presidential nominee narrows, Missouri voters will weigh in on Tuesday with their preference. 

While most of the attention is focused on the heated Democratic primary, voters can choose to cast a ballot for the Republican, Libertarian, Green or Constitution party nominee. Here’s what you need to know about your vote. 

Voting election illustration
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies try to wrap their arms around Missouri’s Democratic presidential primary — which will take place on March 10.

One of the reasons that contest is difficult to gauge right now is that Missouri’s delegates are up for grabs a week after Super Tuesday. And it’s unclear how many of the seven major candidates will still be in the race by the time the Show-Me State goes to the polls.

Gov. Jay Nixon made expanding Medicaid a top priority when he first ran for governor. While he made some small steps, he was largely unsuccessful in achieving that goal.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

With a little more than two weeks to go before Democratic voters head to the polls for Missouri’s presidential primary, the remaining candidates are banking on endorsements from the state’s political figures to get the word out.

And with presidential contenders focusing on contests, including Super Tuesday, that take place before Missouri's primary, some campaigns are sending notable surrogates to gin up excitement.

State Sen. Brian Williams, D-University City
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Brian Williams is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The University City Democrat joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum to talk about his priorities for the 2020 session — and what to expect when the General Assembly hits the home stretch.

Williams represents Missouri’s 14th Senate District, which takes in a slew of municipalities in central and northern St. Louis County. That includes places like University City, Ferguson, Normandy, Bridgeton and Hazelwood.

Mark Mantovani
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:45 a.m. with comments from Mantovani

The Democratic primary for St. Louis County executive is becoming a little more crowded.

Mark Mantovani announced Wednesday he will run for St. Louis County’s top post, less than two years after he nearly upended an incumbent county executive. 

That puts him on a collision course with St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman, who have already announced they're in the August race.

State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Dan Shaul joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum on the latest edition of Politically Speaking.

The Imperial Republican represents the 113th District in the Missouri House. That takes in a portion of northern Jefferson County, particularly parts of Arnold, Imperial and Barnhart. 

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, speaks to supporters and media on Tuesday night. She defeated Democratic challenger Cort VanOstran in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum break down the big stories that have made headlines over the past week.

Arguably the biggest was Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp announcing she would run for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties. She’ll face Republican incumbent Ann Wagner. While the 2nd District has been in Republican hands for a generation, it’s become more competitive as white suburban voters have soured on President Trump.

Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, spoke out against an abortion ban that ended up passing out of the Senate on Thursday morning.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Jill Schupp made her rumored 2nd Congressional District bid official on Tuesday, saying she has the track record and campaign acumen to bring the historically Republican district into the Democratic column.

Schupp’s decision sets up a potential matchup with Congresswoman Ann Wagner, a Ballwin Republican who has represented the district since 2013. It’s a showdown that could be the most competitive race for a Missouri congressional seat in the past decade.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page speaks to guest at an event to kick off his 2020 re-election campaign on Nov. 21, 2019, in Bridgeton.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Saying there’s more work to be done, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page officially announced his bid to keep his job on Thursday.

With a Democratic primary on the horizon, Page told a crowd of supporters at the Machinists Hall in Bridgeton that he’s the best person to pick up the pieces of a county that went through a tumultuous time — and still faces big challenges.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks with St. Louis Public Radio in downtown St. Louis on Nov. 14, 2019.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Mike Parson says his biggest success so far as the state’s chief executive is passing legislation that expanded Missouri’s workforce development program and repaired scores of bridges. 

And after roughly a year and a half in office, he says there’s been little disappointment.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, left, and St. Louis Assessor Jake Zimmerman, right, are planning to run in 2020 Democratic county executive primary. Zimmerman made his bid official on Oct. 29, 2019.
File photos I Carolina Hidalgo and Lara Hamdan I St. Louis Public Radio

Two of St. Louis County’s top Democratic officeholders are primed to run against each other in a 2020 special election for county executive.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman announced on Tuesday that he will run in next year’s Democratic primary for county executive. The current officeholder, Sam Page, plans to kick off his campaign for the position next month.

State Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin
File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Shamed Dogan returns to Politically Speaking to talk with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about his efforts to change how Missouri handles criminal justice.

The Ballwin Republican represents the 98th House District, which includes parts of Ellisville, Fenton and Wildwood. 

State Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Hannah Kelly is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Mountain Grove Republican talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue about some of the important issues for her rural Missouri district.

Kelly represents portions of Wright and Webster counties. She has served in the Missouri House since 2017.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway speaks at the Truman Dinner on August 17, 2019.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

As Jean Peters Baker spoke to a packed room at the Missouri Democratic Party’s Truman Dinner last weekend, she acknowledged the obvious: The past few years have been bruising for a party that used to dominate state politics.

Republicans up and down the ballot generally prevailed in the past three election cycles — leaving Democrats on the outside looking in when it comes to policy and leadership. But Baker, chairwoman of the Missouri Democratic Party, said this isn’t a time to sulk. Instead, Democrats should use the 2020 election cycle as a prime opportunity for a comeback.