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First Time All 28 Aldermen Are Democrats

St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

History was made last month — for the first time in the history of St. Louis every alderman is a Democrat.  Yes, we all know the City of St. Louis is a Democrat city — to get elected you need to be a Democrat — at least a DINO. But up until last month at least one member wasn’t a Democrat.

In 1949 Democrats took majority control of the Board of Aldermen but Republicans continued to have multiple members, dropping to one in 1977 but up again to two in 1979 when Fred Heitert was sworn in. The number was back to one after Jim Shrewsbury defeated the GOP incumbent in the 16th Ward.  Republican Fred Heitert was an alderman from April 17, 1979 t0 April 19, 2011 — when his successor Larry Arnowitz, a Democrat, was sworn in. But that same day in 2011 an Independent, Scott Ogilvie, was sworn in representing the 24th Ward. Last month Ogilvie was sworn in to a 2nd term — this time as a Democrat.

So last month, on April 21, 2015, became the first time in St. Louis’ history that every Alderman was a Democrat. UPDATE 5/19 7:45am: Current seniority list.

How long will this last? If this is broken will it be by a Republican, an Independent, or a Green?

— Steve Patterson



Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. guest says:

    Talk about trivia! The significance of this “milestone” rivals “Pi Day”. Who cares?

  2. RyleyinSTL says:

    I didn’t realize Ogilvie had gone Democrat. What is the story there? Joined the machine like everyone else? Seems to me he was doing a wonderful job as a nonpartisan. Why sell out?

    My dream of the “complete waist of time partisan city representation” slowly evaporating has just vanished.

    Why oh why do we need partisan politics at the city level? How is the decision to repave Hampton a partisan matter? Or how much to spend on street lighting?

    How disappointing.

    • Agreed, but it may have been a smart move politically.

    • guest says:

      Of course Ogilvie became a Democrat. Because he is a Democrat. He only ran as an independent to be able to challenge the incumbent (D). Steve mentioned the idea that some of the city’s Dems are DINO (Democrat In Name Only). That would be an interesting discussion. Who are the DINOs and what makes them DINO? I don’t think you can make that claim stand up. Compared to Republicans, all city Dems are Dems, not DINOs. Those so-called “DINOs” never vote with Republicans on major Democratic issues. So really would like to hear that claim backed up, if it can be backed up.

      • guest says:

        Also, more to the point of your comment, city Democrats are Democrats because they are politicians. They want to advance their political careers AS DEMOCRATS. They won’t advance in politics as non-partisans.

    • Greg says:

      The reason he likely switched is that as an independent, he would remain last in seniority in perpetuity. He now starts out at the bottom of the list, but will move up as new Democrats (or non-Democrats) are elected.

  3. Tom of the Missouri says:

    How is that Democrat control working out for you? With occasional temporary exception, it seems to me that everytime Democrats take control of any political entity, most of the people living under their leadership leave. Take a look at the trend line in St. Louis population. I think its population was once near a million when they had two parties and competetive Republican opposition. Now 70% of the people have left. Now it is a low population basket case where half the population lives off welfare of various sources paid for of course by heavily taxeed more propsperous areas where there are still Republcans. This model seems to exist everywhere. Look at the migration patters in almost all Democrat controllled states and cities. Everyone eventually leaves and moves to Republican held areas. It is certainly time to celebrate. Odd that in all stories I have read about this no one has ever mentioned this pattern. Congratulations Democrats! Now that your opposition has completely vanished you can really get busy running everyone off and destroying things. Detroit and East St. Louis here they come.

    • One of the most destructive things in St. Louis’ history was the Comprehensive Plan of 1947 — conceived during Republican control and passed by a majority-Republican Board of Aldermen and signed by a Republican Mayor. https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/archive/1947-comprehensive-plan/

      • Tom of the Missouri says:

        Hmmm. 67 years ago Republican’s were in control, huh? I knew it was somewhere in the past. but did not know the exact year. Thanks for the info. Did you ever hear of Abramham Lincoln or Barry Goldwater? Abraham, a Republican, and a bunch of white guys, and a few black ones, with rifles freed the black slaves around 1865, with hundreds of thousands of the rifle guys paying with their lives, Barry Goldwater, a Republican, was instrumental in helping pass the civil rights laws over huge Democrat opposition back in the 50’s and 60’s,, much less than 67 years ago. Have you ever blamed (or given credit to) Republicans for that or was that too long ago? I personally am not sure a group of Republican’s actions 67 years ago is relevant to the discussion regardless of what they did. 30 years ago, China had almost no modern cities. Now they have hundreds if not thousands of modern cities larger than St. Louis, But for some reason St. Louis is stuck in place and declining caused by a Republican 67 years ago. Hmmm.

        P.S. Are those guys running the Taxi commission and stopping Uber and Lyft Democrats or Republicans? The answer might be a small clue to the city’s decline.

        P.P.S. As for the economic effect of Democrat control, see my answer to JZ71 below.

    • JZ71 says:

      We currently have Republican domination at the state level in Missouri – I don’t think that that is working out any better than Democratic domination at the city level. The two biggest ways to make things better would be a balance between R & D AND a focus on legislating through consensus, not insisting on fealty to any specific dogma. Walking in lockstep and catering to extreme positions does little to serve most citizens, at any level of government!

      • Tom of the Missouri says:

        Compared to the Democratic one party rule utopias (sarcasm intended) of say Illinois, New York and Calfornia I think Missouri is by contrast a true utopia. Compare Republican dominated St. Charles city or county to St. Louis City or perhaps Chicago. Democratic run cities are universally on the edge of bankruptcy. Missouri would be no different if run my Democrats. And I think Missouri would be even better had right to work passed. I think you should look to say Texas as an example of a state that is well run. What is Illinois going to do when the money runs out?. Chicago just had their bond rating dropped to junk level, and that is after they sold the freeways to the private sector. Illinois and Chicago have already been paying their bills late now for years causing many of their vendors to go bankrupt. Their bond holders are not far behind, after which none of their social programs will be funded. St. Louis is never far behind.these Democratic run role models. either. Good luck with your Democrat rule. Can you name me one Republican run politically entity in the country that is in financial trouble? OK, there was once Orange County, CA, but any others. I did not think so. but you don’t think Republican’s are any better? Interesting blinders you are wearing there my friend. I btw, am not a Republican. I am a conservative.


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