With the 2012 presidential election barely behind us, St. Louis’ spring 2013 election season has started. Candidates began filing on November 26th, the first was Francis Slay filing for an unprecedented fourth term for mayor.
ABOVE: The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)
The list of candidates posted on the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners website includes filings only from the first two days, November 26-27. Republican Director Gary Stoff confirmed yesterday morning their list of candidates is current, no additional candidates have filed. See the list online or archived.
Here’s the offices and my early take:
As mentioned above, Francis Slay filed to run for a fourth four-year term as mayor. Raymond Tucker is our only mayor to seek a 4th tern, he lost to Alfonso J. Cervantes in 1965. Cervantes was a former President of the Board Aldermen, though not at the time he ran against Tucker.
Current President of the Board of Aldermen, Lewis Reed, also filed to run for mayor. Will Reed be able to keep Slay from a fourth term? A 3rd candidate also filed to run for mayor in the democratic primary: Jimmie Matthews.
Darlene Green was unchallenged in early filing for another term as Comptroller, a position she’s held for four terms.
Incumbent Charles Quincy Troupe was first elected in 2005, he’s seeking a third term.
Notably absent from initial filing is that of incumbent Freeman Bosley Sr. Next spring will mark the end of his 6th term in office so perhaps he’s decided 24 years is enough. A Maxine Johnson is the only candidate filed so far.
Incumbent Tammika Hubbard easily won a 3-way special election earlier this year after April Ford-Griffin resigned to take a job with the city. But Hubbard hasn’t filed for reelection to a full term. Michelle Hutchings-Medina, however, has filed for the seat.
I’ve met Hutchings-Medina a couple of times in the last year and I’ve been very impressed by her character . I’m not going to make any endorsements until after filing closes in January but as a voter in the 5th ward she has my early support.
6TH WARD (SPECIAL ELECTION)
Kacie Starr Triplett surprised many recently when she resigned her seat to take a private job. The position of alderman is part-time so many have full-time employment. But one must have a job with the flexibility to spend some time in city hall during the week.
So far two candidates have filed for the March 5th Democratic primary; Christine Ingrassia and Damon A. Jones.
Phyllis Young is finishing up her 7th term as alderman of the 7th ward — that’s 28 years! For many voters she’s been in office their entire lives. Young has filed for an 8th term in office and as you might expect, nobody is challenging her.
Ken Ortmann was first elected in 1999, presumably to finish the tern of the prior alderman. He was reelected in 2001, 2005, and 2009. To my knowledge, he’s not faced an opponent in the primary or general.
For the first time in many years voters may not see the name Villa on the ballot. Matt Villa resigned a couple of years ago to focus more attention to the family business, his uncle Tom Villa won the special election to finish the term. Albert “Red” Villa was alderman from 1953-1990.
The only candidate filed so far is Eddie Tucker, owner of Tucker’s Bar and Grill on south Broadway (not to be confused with Tucker’s Place in Soulard).
Like Phyllis Young, Fred Wessels is finishing his 7th term as alderman in the 13th ward. Also like Young, he’s a very nice person. To his credit, Wessels ran for the citywide office of treasurer earlier this year, coming in a close second in a hotly contested 4-way race. Politicians should not be reelected time and again due to a lack of a challenger. A lack of a challenger is not a victory, it’s a failure of democracy.
Jennifer Florida has been another of the aldermen to be reelected due to a lack of a challenger but 2013 will be a different. Florida, seeking a fourth term, will face Lisa Miller in the Democratic primary. I recently met Miller and I think she’ll be a strong challenger to Florida. Will it be a 2-way race or will a spoiler file?
Incumbent Joseph (Joe) Roddy waited until the afternoon of the 2nd day to file. In the spring he’ll have served 25 years in office, third in seniority behind Young & Wessels. Roddy has been challenged before but he’s easily won each time.
Marlene Davis was elected in 2007 after Michael McMillan was elected license collector, no challenger has come forth.
Four years ago Antonio D. French did something rarely ever done — he defeated an incumbent. French has ruffled some feathers in the ward and in Room 200, but so far nobody has filed to run against him as he seeks a second term.
Joseph (Joe) Vaccaro is also seeking a second term. In 2009 he got 48.8% of the vote in a 7-way race for the Democratic nomination. When you finally get an open seat suddenly candidates are everywhere.
Another candidate facing his first reelection campaign is Shane Cohn. This is the seat I ran for, and lost, in 2005 against incumbent Dorothy Kirner. In 2009 Kirner decided not to run again and Cohn won in a 4-way race.
In August 2012 Alderman Gregory Carter was killed in a traffic accident, his nephew, then-state Rep Chris Carter, won the special election to finish the term. Carter didn’t file for reelection but a Pamela Boyd has filed for the seat.
Many dislike how term limits have resulted in quick turnover in state government. Conversely, lack of term limits has limited opportunities for new blood in the Board of Aldermen. We need to keep the state-level limits but increase them from 8 years to 12 or 16. At the local level we need to enact term limits of 12 or 16 years so we can get some fresh faces into office. This is needed because some don’t know when to leave office.
While we’re making changes to our city charter, we should also consider the following:
- Eliminate partisan primary elections since only one elected official isn’t a Democrat; Scott Ogilvie is an independent, not a Republican or Green. Holding a partisan primary every two years so one party can select a nominee, followed by a general election a month later so the Democratic nominee can be on a ballot facing nominees from no other political party is a massive waste of money and effort.
- Adopt Instant Runoff Voting for when you have three or more candidates. IRV eliminates the spoiler effect of three or more candidates. For more information on IRV see FairVote.org.
– Steve Patterson