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Politically Speaking: Susan Montee says the national political environment resonates in Missouri

Former Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Former Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome former state Auditor Susan Montee to the program.

Montee is a former St. Joseph councilwoman and Buchanan County auditor who successful sought the office of state auditor in 2006. One of her selling points was the fact that she was both a certified public accountant and an attorney.

She lost her bid for a second term in 2010 to Republican Tom Schweich.  By all accounts, a bad environment for Democrats and Roy Blunt’s decisive victory over Democrat Robin Carnahan were major factors behind Montee’s defeat.

After leaving statewide office, Montee became chairwoman of the Missouri Democratic Party. She left that post when she decided to run for lieutenant governor in 2012. After easily besting a crowded field of Democratic candidates, Montee narrowly lost to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

Since she transitioned out of electoral politics, Montee has resumed practicing law and has become an accounting and business law instructor at Missouri Western University. She still holds fundraisers for Democratic candidates and owns a building in St. Joseph that serves as a staging ground for Democratic activists.

Among Montee's observations on the podcast:

  • One sure sign that Montee’s 2010 campaign was in trouble was the fact that no national money would flow into Missouri that year, because national Democratic groups backed away from helping Robin Carnahan, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. Back in 2006 and 2008, competitive U.S. Senate and presidential races greatly helped other Democratic candidates.
  •  Montee contends the Missouri Democratic Party doesn’t have as an effective of a political infrastructure as it did in the past. “When Mel Carnahan was governor, (1993-2000) we had a big ground game that came from the Democratic Party infrastructure,” she said. “And he had a lot of emphasis on the Democratic Party. We don’t have that anymore.”
  • Montee said there’s a lack of believability behind Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens’ decision to join the GOP. “Eric Greitens, up until he decided to run, said he was a Democrat – and he went to Democratic things,” she said. “When he said ‘I’m a Republican,’ he says ‘therefore here are my positions.’ And they were all Republicans issues. There wasn’t a single position on an issue that he believed that put him ever in the Democratic camp.”
  • Montee said that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster’s opposition to gun control “is not down the line of the Democratic Party.” “I think if you can’t pass a background check, then you probably shouldn’t have a gun. And who can’t pass a background check? Well, probably somebody who shouldn’t have a gun,” she said.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Susan Montee on Twitter: @SusanMontee

Music: “Losing My Edge” by LCD Soundsystem

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
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.