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Feeling Good Despite Not Winning

March 9, 2005 25th Ward 4 Comments

I lost my first political race by 117 votes (554 vs. 437). No bad.

The following are some well wishes from friends and supporters as well as some of my thoughts as of today:

“Congratulations to you for stepping up.  You ran a great race.”

I did step up. I put myself out there in the public arena and survived unscathed and a stronger person.

“Even though the final results are not what we all had hoped for I just wanted to let you know how impressed I am with your run. You did an amazing job and I think you really did change politics for the better in St. Louis. Most folks who run lose their first election — so don’t give up — there will be other chances if you still see a career in politics for yourself.”

The experience as a candidate is immensely rewarding. I will certainly be a political candidate again. For now I’ll leave it open for others to speculate where that might be.

“You can certainly claim victory. Hell of a race. The ‘regular’ Democrats are fooling themselves if they think they’re in good shape. The final numbers are too close for an election like this.”

When St. Louis Sheriff James W. Murphy spent a couple of hours handing out literature for Kirner and driving voters to the polls I knew I was having an impact. The tide is turning on the establishment.

“On a positive note, you got over 400 people to support you in basically a month of campaigning.  That is a lot of support for an unknown candidate to generate that quickly. You made Dorothy and the establishment aware that there are competent candidates ready to take on the entrenched power.  They were scared yesterday; you could see it in their eyes.

We spent the first month getting organized, determining our strategy and refining the message. We only had a true month of campaigning. If we’d had more time and money the result could have been much different. We did the best we could with the time and money we had available. Looking back I don’t think we would have done anything differently.

Throughout the race the I took the lead in terms of communications and message. My website informed people who I was and what my views were. Kirner’s team, a few weeks later, introduced a website. My talking points of investment and alley condition became the basis for a Kirner survey two weeks prior to the election. Had I not ran we would have had the same complacency seen in so many other wards where the incumbent is unchallenged. Even if I like and support an incumbent I want to see them challenged – it is good for the general discourse.

“I’m sorry to see the results in the paper today. It troubles me that the area would opt for the status quo. Seems that it wasn’t a great night, overall, for the progressive, young branch of the party; a shame. I agree with your site, though, that your campaign added a lot to the civic debate. We shouldn’t forget efforts like that in making a difference and I want to articulate that here: you ran a good, clean, positive race and deserve kudos for that.”

Young progressive Democrats, like myself, made great headway all over this city. I want to thank Rodney Burchfield for his efforts in the 17th Ward and Jeffrey Hardin for his very close race in the 3rd Ward. The three of us have decidedly similar views on urbanity and how the future of the city should be shaped, and equally important, how it should not be shaped.

“I just saw the election results in the Post-Dispatch.  I was extremely disappointed.  I just hope the defeat won’t keep you from considering another run.  The city of St. Louis definitely needs people like you who will get involved and make this an even better place to live, work & play.” 

I am more resolved than ever to make a difference in this city. I know my views on urban life and the future of our great city are shared by many throughout St. Louis. We’ve begun the process of networking and organizing. Over the next few election cycles I am confident we can wrestle City Hall away from the establishment.

“We are really proud of you for taking a stand and actually doing something about making a positive change to the city. You rock.”

Back at you. I’m very proud of everyone that stood with me during the race. We rock! In a future post I will thank the many people that helped.

“You ran a good honest campaign with a strong message that you live and breathe as part of your daily life.  That is an example for others.  You have to be proud of the way you conducted yourself.  I know that I am.”

I am still evaluating how to best harness the network of people that have been activated all over the city and especially in the 25th Ward. At this early stage I can tell you something will come of it. I and others are not going to just sit back and wait for years and try it again. No, we will be vocal and active in the Ward and City. To the establishment: If you thought the last couple of months were hot just keep watching.

“I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how proud this city resident was with your campaign. You were by far the better candidate and the establishment knows it. This was just the first shot over the bow because other people are thinking about challenging the status quo the same way you have.”

In the future I want to see all municipal incumbents challenged. Even if I like the incumbent I believe a challenge keeps people involved and issues on the table. In two years we’ve got the even number Wards, the President of the Board of Aldermen and a number of “county” offices.

– Steve


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Nadine Eimer says:


    I’m so disappointed but want you to know I’m very proud of you. You ran an awesome race and sent a clear message of your determination, ambition, and energy…. you nearly won the race and gave a “heads up” to the many folks who hadn’t heard of you before. Those folks know you now and I look forward to campaigning for you in your next election. You are a winner and we all look forward to hearing more from you.

  2. Donna Lawton says:

    Finally, someone had the “old guard” running scared and that person was YOU! The next time you’ll be in the official winner’s column but you’re already a winner with us. I’ve never received as much(or more appropriately, any) communication from your opponent or her husband in all the 27 years I’ve lived in this ward.
    Maybe this will make her more responsible towards her duties as our alderman. At least she’ll know there will be many more eyes watching what is done or not done in our ward. Even if someone is not inclined to keep track of this themselves, I’m sure your website WILL. What a wonderful communication link it has been even for those of us who wouldn’t be considered “young Democrats”!
    Congrats on a superbly run campaign! Victory will be yours in the next race!!!
    Donna Lawton

  3. Marlene Hood says:

    Well, I doubt if D. Kirner will be more responsive to our needs in the 25th. Even though she should consider this a wake up call. This is an example of the cronies who have been acquainted with her for the past 50 years. I think they voted out of friendship, ignoring the ever growing problems in our ward that have never been taken care of by her or her late husband.

    She certainly is caring on the tradition, I received the same response or should I say lack of response when I attempted to reach her late husband. Phone calls left unreturned, emails left unanswered. That tells me that either someone does not know how to use a phone or computer, doesn’t care to contact you or both. I suspect both!

    I think Steve gave her a run for her money and I hope that he will run again in the future. I will certainly support him. We need new blood, young blood in the City to ever make St. Louis work again. He has my vote, straight down the line. And I am one of the older residents of the City, but I recognize, hard work, challenge and vision when I see it. Hang in there Steve.

  4. steve says:

    Dorothy has been a very disappointing aldrerperson since she was appointed/elected. She has done nothing to serve the interests of the people of the city in my opinion and my vote is for a recall. Anybody interested in coordinating a petition, please post to this board.


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