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St. Louis Municipal Primary Just Two Weeks Away

February 19, 2013 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy 12 Comments

In two weeks voters will decide the winner in some hotly contested primary races, including mayoral. Haven’t seen any independent candidates or competitive third-party candidates so the Democratic primary will likely decide these races. Remember independent Scott Ogilvie won a seat on the Board of Aldermen in the April general election, defeating the winner of the Democratic primary.

ABOVE: One Republican has filed. If he gets one vote in the March 5th primary he'll face Democrat Joe Vaccaro in the April general election. Vaccaro will win the Democratic primary because he has no challenger.
ABOVE: One Republican has filed. If he gets one vote in the March 5th primary he’ll face Democrat Joe Vaccaro in the April general election. Vaccaro will win the Democratic primary because he has no challenger.

Four years ago seven candidates ran in the 23rd Ward Democratic primary, it was an open seat then. Now with an incumbent running for reelection nobody is interested. This is how incumbents become entrenched, nobody challenges them.

At least the local Green Party has a number of candidates on the ballet but here the primary is costly. Since there are candidates for two citywide seats (mayor & comptroller) ballots must be printed for availability at all precincts.

ABOVE: The Greens are holding a primary to select their candidates in five races. All five will get the nomination of their party

Of the 17 races in the Democratic primary only 8 have a challenger. As I’ve said before, St. Louis should consider dropping partisan primary elections. Put all the candidates in one election with instant-runoff voting when you have more than two candidates seeking the seat.  Hopefully we can get this change passed in the next decade so it can become active at the time the reduction of the Board of Aldermen happens.

Tomorrow night is a chance to hear from some of these candidates.

The Amazing Candidate Race, Wed, February 20, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

How much do the candidates really know about multimodal transportation and sustainable development? Do they have special skills that distinguish them from other candidates? You’ll find these answers and more at The Amazing Candidate Race. Civic participation has never been so fun!

Trailnet and the Livable St. Louis Network are proud to present the first St. Louis candidate forum focused on livability issues of land use and transportation.

Contemporary Art Museum 3750 Washington Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63108

Who: Mayoral candidates (in ballot order) Francis Slay, Jimmie Matthews, Lewis Reed and Aldermanic candidates Michelle Hutchings-Medina (5th Ward), Damon Jones, Christine Ingrassia, Michelle Witthaus (6th Ward), Jennifer Florida and Lisa Miller (15th Ward) (see flyer)

Glad to see Trailnet hosting such an event.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Moe says:

    Ballots? You need more than ballots to win. You need to show up at debates and voice your views. The Green Candidate has yet to do show up. Why would anyone vote for Green, Red, or Blue if the person can’t even explain their views. then they wonder why they aren’t taken seriously.

    • All five Green candidates will win their primary because they have no opponent in the primary. One vote and they’ll represent the Green Party in the April general election, where they’ll lose.

      • moe says:

        Says a lot doesn’t it? I understand the primary operations, but how can they expect to win any votes if they never show up to debate or explain their positions. At least with Democratic races with multiple parties, we at least get to hear which Dem stands for what.

        • Most local candidate forums are conducted prior to the primary election, not the general. The Greens may not even be invited since most voters won’t see them on the primary ballot. One nonpartisan election would simplify this and allow all candidates in a race to participate in a forum.

          • moe says:

            General or Primary….how can it not but help for any other party to present at any debate? And isn’t it disrespectful for the host group to not invite other party members? Most of the groups (not counting the ward groups) say they held the forums to infor the voters. If this were true, then they would invite other parties regardless if their name will be on the Primary or General ballot. I would rather have too much info than not enough….this can only help as we wade through all the crap that will be thrown at us up till the General.

          • If the debate is about helping voters make a decision in the primary how would having others involved make a difference? We have one Democrat and one Republican running in the 23rd ward. I can say with 100% certainty that each will win the nomination of their party in the primary but they won’t face each other until April. It would be nice to have a debate between the two in the month between the primary and general.

          • moe says:

            It’s simple….I find it very telling and interesting to see how a politician’s answers change over time as it gets closer to voting time. It tells a lot about them if they have to change their postion/story.

      • Eric says:

        When I was in college (in an inner-city neighborhood), I had a friend who saw that the Republican primary had no candidates, so he signed himself up and became the Republican candidate. As expected he was trounced by the Democrat, but he got to put it on his resume…

  2. JZ71 says:

    I live in the 23rd Ward. Joe Vacarro (the incumbent) has done a good job in his first term. Change is not necessarily “better”, just for the sake of change. Yes, “choice” is good, but there’s also that old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” . . . .

    • I have nothing good or bad to say about Ald. Vacarro or any of the others that aren’t being challenged. The idea of winning term after term simply because nobody is willing to challenge an incumbent isn’t good or our city and increases voter apathy.

      • JZ71 says:

        And if the incumbent is performing poorly, why wouldn’t one or more challengers appear? Inside or outside the party? Yes, incumbency is an advantage, but given the disdain many voters feel toward many/all politicians these days, I doubt that inertia, alone, can sustain any mediocre/poor office holder for multiple terms.

        I do agree, however, that the current system, in St. Louis, skews power toward the Democratic Party – I’d much rather see the Board of Aldermen be non-partisan, eliminate the need for primaries, and let every candidate win or lose on their own merits. There would still be a whole bunch of “who you know” and one’s ability to raise campaign funds, but at least the voters would be given the choice of all of the candidates in the first/main event, not just rubber-stamping the Democratic victor from the primary.

  3. stlcity7thward says:

    The reason the GOP is not competitive in St. Louis City is because it is perceived
    as the party of bigoted old white men and their corporate sponsors. The GOP has
    only itself to blame for so few buying their product. We, as a city with a
    partisan election process, bear no responsibility to change our way of doings
    things in order to accommodate “the stupid party.”


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