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Missouri GOP To Honor Former Sen. Talent At Awards Dinner In Clayton

U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)
File Photo
U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)

The Missouri Republican Party is honoring former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent with its “Spirit of Enterprise’’ award during the party’s fundraising dinner in Clayton on Feb. 19.

Talent, who resides in Chesterfield, is one of the state's most respected former Republican officeholders. He  served four years in the Senate until he was defeated in 2006 by Democrat Claire McCaskill, who still holds the seat.  Talent  previously served eight years in the U.S. House, and narrowly lost a contest for governor in 2000.

Since his departure from Congress, Talent has become nationally known as an expert on national defense matters, serving as an adviser for Mitt Romney during both of his bids for the White House in 2008 and 2012.

Talent currently is a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. He also is a partner at Banner Public Affairs, a Washington D.C. public affairs firm.

Only 57, Talent repeatedly has been encouraged by Republicans to run again for public office. But so far, he has said that he prefers to remain in the private sector.

The dinner honoring Talent is to be held at the Ritz Carlton. Other featured guests will include U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Scott is the first African-American from the South to serve in the U.S. Senate.  Scott was appointed to the post when Republican Jim DeMint resigned last year to become head of the Heritage Foundation.  Scott will compete this fall in a special election to serve the final two years of DeMint’s term.

Coincidentally, Talent won his seat in the U.S. Senate during a special election in 2002 to fill the final four years of the term won posthumously in 2000 by former Gov. Mel Carnahan, a Democrat who died in a plane crash three weeks before the election.  Talent defeated Carnahan’s wife, Jean Carnahan, who had been appointed to serve the first two years of her husband’s term.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.