All Politics Is Local

The Verdict of the People – George Caleb Bingham

Tuesday was Election Day here in Saint Louis. Primary elections were held for state and federal offices. The headliner elections included the Republican senatorial primary. West County US Congressman Todd Akin (R) beat his two competitors for the right to challenge incumbent Claire McCaskill (D). This will be a hotly contested race and will dominate Missouri politics into November. Due to redistricting the two sitting Saint Louis area Democratic US Representatives, Lacy Clay (D) and Russ Carnahan (D), had to duke it out for the one remaining Democratic seat left in town. The latest census cost Missouri a Congress seat and the Republican dominated state legislature chose to gerrymander one of the Democratic districts out of existence. Clay handily won the primary and will be our new congressman come November.

Moving closer to home, our incumbent State Representative Stacey Newman (D) had a very close election with another victim of Republican gerrymandering, Susan Carlson (D). As of now, the vote count is 1823 for Newman and 1822 for Carlson. That’s right, just a one vote difference. In a percentage format, that is a 50.01% to 49.99% difference. I’m sure that there will be a recount. Whichever one eventually wins will be our state representative. Also close to home, two of our friends, Nelson and Gina Mitten (D), both won their elections. Nelson will be our city council representative and Gina will be the adjoining district’s state representative. Congratulations to them both!

Anne worked the polls on Tuesday as an election official. These make for long days for her. She is out of the house before 5 AM and it was after 8 PM when she called me for a ride home. Dan had borrowed her car during the day. I drove to the election commission’s office. I found her standing out in the middle of the business park’s darkened parking lot. Even though she was alone and standing in the dark, she didn’t feel uncomfortable. Partly, this was because I was only five minutes away. Maybe more importantly though, it was because police car after police car came rolling past her. They were escorting ballot boxes from the four corners of our far-flung county.

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