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Politically Speaking: Jay Ashcroft gears up for secretary of state general election

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

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Republican secretary of state nominee Jay Ashcroft to the program.

Ashcroft was on the show earlier this year when he was running in a competitive GOP primary against state Sen. Will Kraus. Ashcroft defeated the Lee’s Summit Republican in a landslide, and now faces Democrat Robin Smith in the general election.

(Smith recorded an episode of Politically Speaking earlier this week. You can hear her episode by clicking here.)

This is Ashcroft’s second run for political office. In 2014, he lost a state Senate race to Democrat Jill Schupp. Before entering electoral politics, Ashcroft taught engineering at a community college and worked as an attorney. He resides in unincorporated St. Louis County.

Ashcroft’s father, John Ashcroft, is arguably one of the most successful Republican politicians in Missouri history. In addition to serving as U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator, John Ashcroft is the only Missouri Republican to serve two consecutive terms as governor.


The race for secretary of state this year is competitive because incumbent Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate. With the exception of a four-year stint from 2001 to 2005, a Democrat has controlled Missouri's secretary of state’s office since 1993.

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

  • When asked if his last name of Ashcroft helped his chances in a GOP primary, Jay Ashcroft replied: “I’m sure my name helped. But I also think it helped to be on the right side of the issues....I think it helped to be the individual that started off trying to say we should have a photo ID constitutional amendment." 
  • Ashcroft pushed back against the largely Democratic contention that a recently-passed photo identification requirement to vote would disenfranchise 200,000 Missourians who lack the government-issued ID mandated by the state law.  The law will go into effect only if voters approve a constitutional amendment authorizing such a measure.
  • He wants to provide more guidance and support to local county elections officials before an election actually occurs. Ashcroft also said that the secretary of state’s office should be held accountable for the type of election advice it administers.
  • Ashcroft said it may be a good idea to create a task force that looks over ballot summary language. That group could include teachers, journalists or attorneys that “are used to the English language and writing… that don’t necessarily have a political bias or an ax to grind.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Jay Ashcroft on Twitter: @JayAshcroftMO

Music: "This Side of Brightness" by Thursday

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.