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Politically Speaking: Hanaway on Ferguson, Mizzou and her way forward in a crowded governor's race

Catherine Hanaway
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Catherine Hanaway

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back GOP gubernatorial aspirant Catherine Hanaway.

The former Speaker of the Missouri House speaker and U.S. attorney was the first Republican to jump into the wide-open 2016 contest for governor. She appeared on Politically Speaking back in 2014, a few weeks after officially announcing her foray back into electoral politics.

On Thursday night, Hanaway is kicking off her statewide “Safe and Strong Tour,’’ which will highlight her prosecutorial background and her focus on the rising crime rates in Missouri’s largest cities.

Hanaway contends that she would be the strongest candidate to challenge the likely Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, because he also has a prosecutorial background.

Hanaway was the first Missouri Republican to launch a bid for governor, in 2014. And she was soon joined by then-state Auditor Tom Schweich. His suicide a year ago altered the contest’s dynamics, prompting three other Republicans — Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, businessman John Brunner and author/former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens — to enter the contest.

Hanaway’s campaign got ensnared in accusations that it had bullied Schweich, because a consultant (Jeff Roe) aligned with her ran a radio spot that ridiculed the auditor’s appearance. At the time, she had denied any knowledge or involvement in the ad. But in deference to Schweich, Hanaway put her campaign in limbo for about a month.

On the podcast, Hanaway’s observations included:

  • She believes that the rise in crime in the state may be attributable, in part, to the “Ferguson effect” – a reference to the unrest following the August 2014 police shooting that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
  •  Hanaway is critical of Gov. Jay Nixon’s actions, or lack thereof, and contends that he didn’t do enough to back up law enforcement. But Hanaway praised St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s conduct as he oversaw the grand jury proceedings, and disagrees with his critics. “I thought Bob McCulloch did a courageous job’’ and “truly led.”
  • She believes the Ferguson Commission should have come up with fewer recommendations, in order to target its message. Hanaway also disagrees with the panel’s proposals to expand social services, saying the decades-old “War on Poverty’’ pressed by Democrats has failed.
  • Hanaway is sharply critical of how officials responded to last fall’s unrest on the Columbia campus of the University of Missouri. “Had I been governor, I would have sought the resignation of the some on the Board of Curators.”
  • She sees Schweich’s death as a tragedy for his family, and declined to characterize it in political terms. Hanaway says she prays for his family regularly.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Catherine Hanaway: @HanawayForGov

Music: "Diamond Eyes" by Deftones

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.