Tip O’Neill once quipped that all politics is local. That was certainly true around here in yesterday’s election. While much of the nation may have been focused on the special congressional election in Ohio’s 12th district, we here in Saint Louis had plenty of local action to contend ourselves with.
Anne did her election judge thing again, getting up at uh-oh dark thirty (3:30) and working upwards of fifteen hours. Later, I learned that she had to endure that marathon workday schedule without any air-conditioning. There was no way that I was going to get out of bed that early, so that meant that Anne had the car and I had to walk to the polls, in the rain. For an August election, the poll was jumping. I had to wait in line, which has never happened for a summer election. Ours is a heavily Democratic precinct, so I took that as a good sign.
This election was our statewide primary election. Claire McCaskill (D), who is running for reelection for US Senator, was nominated with over 80% of the Democratic ballots (500K votes), while challenger Josh Hawley (R) garnered less than 60% of the Republican ballots (389K votes). Come November, this will be our marquee race. There were 60K more Republican votes cast than Democrat, but Hawley has way more party consolidation to do than McCaskill. There is a lot more campaigning to do here before the November election.
The only other statewide vote was a proposition to make Missouri a right-to-work state. It was resoundingly defeated, by a 2-to-1 margin. Republicans had passed legislation making Missouri a right-to-work state, but labor was able to get enough signatures for this proposition, which put the new law on hold. With this defeat it is hoped that the Republicans won’t next attempt to overrule the will of the people, like they have in the past and pass right-to-work again.
For the rest of the ballot, a Democratic primary win means a win in November. Congressman Lacy Clay easily weathered progressive Cori Bush’s challenge and for the state legislature term limits had given us new choices for both the senate and the house. I picked a winner and a loser, but will be voting for both winners in November. The real action yesterday was at the county level.
Four years ago, Bob McCulloch was reelected to his seventh term as county prosecutor. One week later, Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson by a police officer. McCulloch chose not to prosecute the police officer, exacerbating an already bad situation. Yesterday, Ferguson city councilman Wesley Bell beat McCulloch with 57% of the vote. McCulloch now joins the list of prosecutors who have lost their jobs, because they elected not to prosecute in a black lives matter case: Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown.
But wait, there is more. Four years ago, Steve Stenger, McCulloch’s handpicked protégé was first elected county executive. After yesterday, Stenger is sitting on a 0.64% lead. If after the counting of absentee and provisional ballots, his lead falls below half-a-percent that will trigger an automatic recount. Stenger’s tenure has been marked with bitter disputes with the county council. His best ally on the council has been my councilman, who also lost his election yesterday. As of today, Stenger is now calling for a truce.
After yesterday, I’m really looking forward to November. Democrats as a party can be both bumbling and messy. We lack the lockstep discipline of the Republicans, but this year we are riled. If the Saint Louis electorate did not forgive or forget wrongs committed four years in the past, it certainly is not going to forgive or forget the daily insults doled out by the Cheeto-in-Chief.