Rematches, Lopsided Victories in St. Louis Board of Aldermen Primaries

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The first day for candidates on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen consisted of backfights, familiar faces, and some eye-opening margins.

16 of the city’s 28 districts had primaries on Tuesday and were held under a new permit system. For the first time, party affiliations were removed from the ballot papers and voters could choose as many candidates as they wanted. The first two in each race advance to the April 6 general election.

Nine of the sixteen races had only one or two candidates, which means that most of the contestants will move on on election Tuesday. But the primary still served as an insightful progress report in Aldermanic campaigns, where survey data is scarce, and where determining who is at the top is about as scientific as counting court signs.

One of these races, which is sure to attract more attention thanks to Tuesday’s results, is taking place in Ward 7 – a neighborhood that covers part of downtown and stretches south over a variety of neighborhoods including Lafayette Square, Peabody Darst Webbe, McKinley Heights and Soulard.

Reigning Jack Coatar will face challenger Shedrick “Nato Caliph” Kelley with two candidates in one of the elections. Coatar was selected for 59 percent of the ballot – a tough feat, but Kelley turned out to be a viable long-range shot on unofficial totals with a whopping 45 percent. The challenger, who is to the left of Coatar on issues like police reform and tax incentives, is likely to get even more support from the more progressive wings of the Democratic Party, especially those who see Coatar as being too friendly to developers.

In the reruns of the 2017 elections, incumbents Megan Green (Ward 15) and Dan Guenther (Ward 9) were well ahead of known opponents – two former councilors who previously held their seats.

Green was selected in 74 percent of the ballot papers, more than 1,000 votes ahead of Jennifer Florida, who represented the ward from 2001 to 2014, when she was named charterer. This is Florida’s second attempt to regain her old seat. She was selected on 31 percent of the ballot on Tuesday.

Günther had similar successes against ex-Alderman Ken Ortmann in Ward 9, an ax-shaped district that occupies part of the Cherokee Street district and runs south along the river. Günther was selected on 70 percent of the ballot, compared with 35 percent for Ortmann in the two-way race.

In the primary’s crowded race, Alderman John Collins-Muhammad Jr. was the top finisher in a six-candidate race for Ward 21, a northern borough that includes O’Fallon, Penrose and College Hill. In the general election, he faces Laura Keys, who was chosen on 38 percent of the ballot papers, second only to Muhammad’s 59 percent and well ahead of everyone else.

All the established companies did well enough to move forward through April, but the primary results signaled at least one possible glitch. In District 13 of Südstadt, challenger Anne Schweitzer was selected on 69 percent of the ballot, compared to 39 percent of Alderwoman Beth Murphy. It was a two-candidate primary, so both will go ahead and see if anything changes in the general election.

Here are the top two (or one in unhindered competitions) in the remaining Board of Aldermen primaries. The candidate with the most votes is listed first.

Station 1
– Sharon Tyus (incumbent)
– Yolanda Brown

Station 3
– Brandon Bosley (incumbent)
– Herdosia Bentum

Station 4
– Dwinderlin Evans (incumbent)
– Edward McFowland

Station 5
– Tammika Hubbard (incumbent)
– James Page

Station 11
– Sarah Martin (incumbent)

Station 12
– Vicky Grass (incumbent)
– Bill Stephens

Station 17
– Michelle Sherod
– Tina Pihl

Station 19
– Marlene Davis (incumbent)
– Cleo Willis

Station 23
– Joe Vaccaro (incumbent)

Station 25
– Shane Cohn

Station 27
– Pamela Boyd (incumbent)
– Chris Carter

– Darlene Green (incumbent)

We look forward to tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.

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