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Politically Speaking: Jay Ashcroft on his bid to become Missouri's secretary of state

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Jay Ashcroft

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome secretary of state aspirant Jay Ashcroft to the program for the first time.

There are two reasons the name "Jay Ashcroft" may sound familiar, especially to St. Louis County residents: The Republican attorney and engineer unsuccessfully ran for the state Senate in 2014. And his father, John Ashcroft, served as Missouri’s auditor, attorney general, governor and U.S. senator. John Ashcroft also served as U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush.

The race for secretary of state is wide open this year, thanks to incumbent Secretary of State Jason Kander’s decision to run for the U.S. Senate. So far, Ashcroft and state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, are running the GOP primary for the office. Retired newscaster Robin Smith and perennial candidate Bill Clinton Young are seeking the Democratic nomination for the post.

(Kraus was a guest on Politically Speaking last year. You can listen to his show here.)

The skirmish for secretary of state may not get as much attention as, say, the gubernatorial race. But the office perhaps touches more ordinary people’s lives than other statewide posts. After all, Missouri’s secretary of state is responsible for monitoring elections, registering businesses and regulating securities.

Here’s what Ashcroft had to say during the show:

  • Ashcroft lost to Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, in an expensive battle for the 24th Senatorial District. But he says he learned a lot from that contest, which he notes was an election for a Democratic-leaning district. “I think it instilled in me the understanding that you always do your best,” he said. “Things of lasting importance are not done easily. They are not accomplished without effort.”
  • Like Kraus, Ashcroft supports requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote. He’s organized a constitutional amendment for the issue, which Republicans have supported for years. (Kraus is also a supporter of “photo ID.”)
  • Ashcroft doesn’t buy the argument from Democrats that a photo ID requirement would make it harder for the elderly or lower-income Missourians to vote. He noted that enabling legislation would provide free IDs to people who can’t afford them. “If there are people that don’t have those, we’re bringing them more closely into society and allowing them to participate in areas that they’ve been locked out of,” Ashcroft said. “Not just doing that, but we’re also protecting their vote.”
  • Since the secretary of state’s office maintains a lot of data, Ashcroft says he wants to make sure that sensitive information from Missourians is protected against any potential cyber-attacks.
  • John Ashcroft has stumped for his son at some GOP events, including last month’s Lincoln Days event in St. Louis. Jay Ashcroft says his father may be on the campaign trail for him over the next few months.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Jay Ashcroft on Twitter: @jayashcroftmo

Music: “Big Bang Baby” by Stone Temple Pilots 

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.