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March 2015 Municipal Primary

St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

The March primary is when each party — Green, Republican, Democrat — selects their nominee to face each other, and any Independents, in the April general election. Filling to appear on a primary ballot closed last Friday, those seeking to run as an Independent in the April general have until February 16th to submit signatures.

President of the Board of Aldermen

Incumbent Lewis Reed’s only opposition in the Democratic primary is Jimmie Matthews, a regular candidate for city-wide offices. Republican Eric Shelquist will win his primary because he’s the only GOP candidate, he’ll face Green Jeffrey Schaffer — also assured a primary victory —  and the winner of the Democratic primary (cough *Reed* cough) in April.

Alderman Ward 2

Incumbent Democrat Dionne Flowers faces three challengers in the primary: Joyce M. Hall, Jasmine Turnage, & Winfield Scott. Green Elston K. McCowan will win his primary in March due to no other Green being in the race.

Alderman Ward 4

Sam Moore (the incumbent, not the famous Soul/R&B singer) faces Arneatrice Meyers in the Democratic primary.

Alderman Ward 6

Incumbent Democratic Christine Ingrassia, Republican Dan Elder, and Green Jonathan McFarland will each win by default in their respective primaries.

Alderman Ward 7

With the resignation of Phyllis Young last month, this seat is open for the first time since my senior year of high school — 1985. The Democratic primary has three candidates: John (Jack) Coatar, Chelsea Merta, and Samuel J. Cummings III

Alderman Ward 8

Incumbent Stephen Conway faces Kevin B. McKinney in the Democratic Primary.  Republican Robert J. Shelli will win his primary.

Alderman Ward 10

Joseph Vollmer, the incumbent, will win his Democratic primary as the sole candidate, same for Republican Daniel P. Kalaf.

Alderman Ward 12

Incumbent Larry Arnowitz is challenged by Rafael Hernandez in the Democratic primary.

Alderman Ward 14

Incumbent Carol Howard will win the Democratic nomination in the March primary.

Alderman Ward 15

Megan Ellyia Green, just recently elected in a special election, will face Beth Braznell in the Democratic primary. Joshua D. Simpson will win the GOP nomination by default. I wouldn’t be surprised to see former 15th Ward Ald Jennifer Florida, who lost her bid for a full term as Recorder of Deeds in November, run as an Independent in the April general election.

Alderman Ward 16

Donna M. C. Baringer, the incumbent, will win the Democratic primary by default.

Alderman Ward 18

Terry Kennedy, the incumbent, will face Charles Grumbach in the Democratic primary.

Alderman Ward 20

A 3-way race for the Democratic nomination between incumbent Craig Schmid, Cara Spencer, and David A. Gaither. Green Vickie A. Ingram will win her party’s nomination by default.

Alderman Ward 22

Incumbent Jeffrey L. Boyd faces two challengers in the Democratic primary: Deceal Burgess & Angela D. Newson. Renee Keeble will be the Green nominee in the April general.

Alderman Ward 24

I anticipate the 24th Ward being the most interesting race in this primary season with the current one-term alderman being challenged by the previous one-term alderman and a former alderman that was recalled by the voters. Scott Ogilvie was elected as an Independent 4 years ago, defeating Tom Bauer in the general. Bauer had defeated William Waterhouse in the Democratic primary. Waterhouse was elected after voters recalled Bauer. After being in office as an Independent Ogilvie is running in the Democratic primary this year, who’ll win the primary is anyone’s guess.  Republican Peter Schumaker will be the GOP nominee in the general. Hopefully a 24th Ward resident will collect signatures to run in the general as an Independent — they might just get elected!

Alderman Ward 26

The Democratic primary includes incumbent Frank Williamson & challenger Rodney V. Norman. Fred Baines is the only Green candidate so he’ll win the nomination.

Alderman Ward 28

Lyda Krewson, the incumbent, will face William C. (Bill) Haas in the Democratic primary, Green Jerome H. Bauer will represent his party in the general.

Closing Thoughts

The trick to winning a local primary is to run as a Republican or Green. As I’ve said before, having partisan municipal elections increases voter apathy & costs us more money. St. Louis needs to switch to non-partisam elections!

— Steve Patterson


A Decade Since Steve Patterson Filed To Run For The St. Louis Board Of Alderman

A decade ago today I decided I wasn’t going to let an incumbent win four years in office because of a lack of a challenger.  If she, Dorothy Kirner, wanted a four-year term she was going to have to work for it. Two months later I lost the primary, receiving 44.1% of the vote.  Not bad considering I started putting together my campaign after filing on the very last day, instead of months earlier.

Here I was a candidate but I had no team, no money, no plan.   My check for the filing fee didn’t even clear, thankfully then-Democratric party chair Brian Wahby allowed me to replace it rather than disqualify me from the race. At this point I was an unknown, this blog had only been around a little over two months.

I had been paying attention though, the day before filing I posted:

Carl Coats, a former city building inspector, had filed to challenge Dorothy Kirner for the 25th Ward aldermanic seat. On 1/4/05 he withdrew himself as a candidate. Unless someone files tomorrow Dorothy Kirner will win by default. This is my ward – I was hoping someone would mount a good challenge to Kirner. (See 25th Ward Challenger Carl Coats Has Withdrawn from Race).

That night I realized nobody else was going to run, but why not me? I was 37 and self-employed, so I had the time. I owned three properties in the ward, one co-owned with a friend, so I was invested. I had ideas I wanted to become part of the conversation during the election. I called a few people that night and the next day I went down to the Board of Election Commissioners to file.

People I know & people I just met stepped up to offer help, money, advice, etc. — too many to thank them all individually.

Steve Patterson speaking at a gathering at Gallery Urbis Orbis downtown, February 2005
Candidate Steve Patterson speaking at a gathering at Gallery Urbis Orbis downtown, February 2005
Patterson yard signs in the 25th Ward
Patterson yard signs in the 25th Ward
The yard sign graphic
The yard sign graphic with my campaign website prominently displayed
Kirner reused signs from the prior year, before the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Club had endorsed her in the current race
Kirner reused signs from the prior year, before the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Club had endorsed her in the current race
This rink in Mt. Pleasant Park was one issue during the campaign, none of us in the immediate area asked for this in the park -- it just appeared,
This rink in Mt. Pleasant Park was one issue during the campaign, none of us in the immediate area asked for this in the park — it just appeared

Early press was discouraging, such as the story ‘Incumbent aldermen assured of re-election’  in the South Suburban Journal five days after filling closed:

Incumbent Alderman Dorothy Kirner, 70, of the 3700 block of Taft Avenue, faces challenger Steven L. Patterson, 37, a real estate agent living in the 3100
block of Mount Pleasant Street. The primary is March 8.

“I have lived in the neighborhood for 48 years,” said Kirner, who was elected June 15, 2004 to succeed her husband, Alderman Dan Kirner, who died in office. Stressing her experience, she said, “I have been around longer than my husband was in the political field.”

But Patterson, who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, said he had a lot of experience in getting things done, in looking at development and managing people and projects.

“I think the fact that I haven’t spent many years in politics is actually a benefit to me. It’s time for a fresh approach to the ward,” he said.

As the campaign progressed the coverage did improve, from the Vital Voice, an LGBT publication, just days before the primary:

Steve Patterson is busy knocking on doors and talking to residents throughout the 25th Ward in hopes of becoming the first openly gay individual to serve in the 28-member St. Louis Board of Alderman.

Patterson, who turns 38 on Feb. 28, is mounting a serious challenge to unseat incumbent Alderwoman Dorothy Kirner in the March 8 primary. Kirner, 69, was elected last June to serve the remaining ten months of her late husband, Dan Kirner’s term.

“What brought me into politics is the desire to see change and realizing that I couldn’t sit here and complain that no one was taking charge without realizing that maybe that should be me,” said Patterson of his insurgent campaign. “The campaign experience is awesome. I’m really enjoying getting involved and being involved. It actually feels really good to be this civic minded.”

The 25th Ward, which includes neighborhoods around far South Grand is ethnically diverse with large Caucasian, African American, Bosnian and Vietnamese communities. The ward also has a representative gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. Nevertheless, the heavily Democratic 25th is socially conservative and accordingly voted to approve Amendment 2 last August witch banned gay marriage in the Missouri Constitution.

Yes, only one of the city’s 28 wards voted in favor of Amendment 2 and I, an openly gay man, was running for alderman in that ward just 4 months later.  What was I thinking? I do remember knocking on one door, the woman who answered asked me if I supported gay rights or same-sex marriage. When I told her I was gay I turned a sceptic stranger into a voter, we remain friends today.

Although Kirner won a full 4-year term I have no regrets about running, one of the best decisions I ever made.  I do have some hindsight from my one and only political campaign:

  • Plan well ahead, don’t wait until the last day to file to start putting the campaign together.
  • Run to win, but know that becoming serious candidate makes you a winner even if you don’t win the election.
  • Video record your debate, I wish I’d done so!

This election was prior to social media — no Facebook or Twitter! Like I indicated in the photos above, I had a blog/website, one of the earliest aldermanic campaigns to have one. I raised & spent about $1,200m Kirner raised & spend about $12,000 — she  had to hire consultants to build a website.   She showed up for a debate on the issues, something she wouldn’t have had to do otherwise.

One issue raised during our campaign was a Citizen Review Board, I favored it while Kirner, whose late husband had been a police officer, opposed external review of the police. The Board of Aldermen passed a Civilian Review Board bill a year later — vetoed by Mayor Slay.

I received
I received 278 votes (51.5%) in the two precincts East of Grand, while Kirner received 292 votes (64.7%) from the two precincts West of Grand.  I lived East of Grand, Kirner West of Grand, her support was stronger than mine. Total votes was 437 vs 554.

After serving her one term, Dorothy Kirner didn’t seek a 2nd in 2009, setting up a 4-way race for the open seat. Openly gay Shane Cohn won the democratic primary with 487 votes (46.25%), this 4-way race had 1,053 votes vs 991 votes in my 2005 race.

Filing for the March 2015 primary has closed, though independent candidates can still get on the ballot in the April general by collecting signatures. Those of you in odd numbered wards who are considering running in 2017 should begin planning now.

Tomorrow I’ll look at the 2015 spring municipal races.

— Steve Patterson


Spring 2015 Municipal Election Season Has Started

The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)
The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)

The national midterm elections are only 3 weeks behind us, but already the Spring 2015 St. Louis municipal election season has begun, yesterday candidates filing for office in the city’s even-numbered wards. Also on the ballot will be the citywide office of President of the Board of Aldermen.

So far the following wards will have contested races in the Democratic primary: 4, 8, 15, 20, 24. 28.  The last day to file for office is January 2, 2015.  You can see a list of candidates that filed yesterday here.

— Steve Patterson


Independents Trounce Partisan Nominees In 15th Ward Special Election

The unofficial results from Tuesday’s special election in the 15th ward are interesting to me.  First, the turnout was a decent 17.5%. By contrast, the December 2011 special election in my ward, the 5th, just 10.37% of voters participated.

Here are some recent participation rates for the 15th ward:

  • August 2014 primary: 23.95%
  • March 2013 primary: 22.72%.
  • November 2012 general: 73.71%

Huge difference between big national elections, state elections, and a special local race. Here are the unofficial results from Tuesday:

  • MELISSA MCDANIEL (D) 123 [10.82%]
  • JOSHUA SIMPSON (R) 63 [5.54%]
  • MEGAN GREEN (I) 521 [45.82%]
  • RHONDA SMYTHE (I) 427 [37.55%]
  • Write-in Votes 3 [0.26%]

I made the following visual:

The two independent candidates received 83% of the votes cast
The two independent candidates received 83% of the votes cast

There was a time that being the democratic nominee meant easy victory, that may still hold true in many wards.  Not in the 15th this year, Melissa McDaniel only managed to get 11% of the total. Ouch!

None of the four candidates received a plurality, but we don’t have runoffs or instant runoff voting. Megan Green will be sworn in as the next 15th ward alderman. In early 2015 she’ll have to defend the office, in March if she switches to the Democratic party, or April if she remains an independent. I still want to see all local offices become nonpartisan.

— Steve Patterson


Reminder: 15th Ward Candidate Forum Tonight; Another Thursday October 2nd

September 29, 2014 Board of Aldermen, Events/Meetings, Featured, South City Comments Off on Reminder: 15th Ward Candidate Forum Tonight; Another Thursday October 2nd
A candidate forum will be held on Monday September 29, 2014 at the Carpenter Library, 7pm
A candidate forum will be held at 7pm tonight, Monday September 29, 2014, at the Carpenter Library

If you’re a registered voter in the 15th ward I urge you to attend the candidate forum at 7pm tonight, Monday September 29, 2014, Carpenter Library, lower level, 3309 S. Grand

Here are the four candidates, in reverse ballot order:

The special election is a week from tomorrow, Tuesday October 7, 2014. Previous post: Upcoming 15th Ward Special Election In Three Weeks; Candidate Forum Monday September 29, 2014.

Can’t make it tonight but want to meet the candidates?  The Royale St. Louis Bar & Grill has another forum on Thursday, October 2nd 9pm-10:30pm. Here’s the description of the Facebook event as of 9/18:

Megan Ellyia-Green (independent) – confirmed
Missy Pinkerton McDaniel (Democrat) – invited
Joshua Simpson (Republican) – confirmed
Rhonda Smythe (Independent) – confirmed

Michael R. Allen, moderator

In a special election on October 7, voters if the 15th Ward will elect a new alderperson. Three candidates are running for the open seat, and this event will allow them to share their views and passions. The format will be simple: the moderator will pose questions with yes or no answers, and then allow each candidate time for the short one-word answer and an elaboration. People will leave knowing without a doubt where these candidates stand. Clear answers make informed voters who make a stronger city.

The Royale is a great venue because it serves Tower Grove South, the ward’s largest neighborhood. While currently located in the 10th ward, the Royale has been previously included in other wards before including the 15th, and has many patrons within the 15th. In 2023, when the city reduces from 28 to 14 wards, who knows — the Royale could be represented by one of the four stars of this evening’s event!

Neither the Royale nor the moderator have endorsed or otherwise supported any of the four candidates, or any committee that has endorsed or supported them. Fair and impartial, y’all.

If you’re a 15th ward voter please try to attend one or both of these events.

— Steve Patterson