Jones takes city treasurer; in legislative races, Nasheed wins, Newman ekes out one-vote victory
Stacey Newman and Susan Carlson are both used to being in close elections, but it doesn’t get any closer than Newman’s one-vote victory over Carlson in a match between two Missouri House incumbents.
Both women were running in the Democratic primary in the 87th District in central St. Louis County, taking in parts of Clayton, Ladue, Richmond Heights, Brentwood and University City. With all 21 precincts reporting Tuesday night, Newman had 1,823 votes; Carlson had 1,822.
Though Missouri has no automatic recount provision for such close elections, a recount is almost assured.
Reached after the final, unofficial tally was reported, Carlson was philosophical.
“I wish I had another two votes in my pocket,” she said, “but I don’t.”
She said she couldn’t pinpoint what might have made the difference in such a razor-thin margin.
“We were out knocking on doors when it was 100 degrees,” Carlson said, “and we worked hard and ran a good race. She worked hard and she ran a good race and there we are, one vote apart.”
She was noncommittal on whether she would ask for a recount.
“Standing here tonight,” she said, “I am going to go to sleep and get up tomorrow and get rested and figure all of that out. I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t, when we're within one vote.”
Start update: The morning after her narrow win, Newman said she was picking up yard signs, as she promises to do after every election, and looking into recount procedures. She said her understanding was that nothing would happen until the results are certified by both election officials and the secretary of state’s office, a process that could take up to four weeks.
“I am on the House elections committee,” she said. “I respect the integrity of the whole election process and want to make sure that every vote counts.”
She said that her campaign against Carlson was tough because it involved “two progressive women with clear differences. I think it was my leadership that I focused on.”
One piece of campaign literature that said Newman had voted against clean drinking water and against jobs took votes of hers out of context, she said, and she had to spend some time answering questions and setting the record straight.
“I tried to address that,” she said. “I feel good that in the campaign we ran, we committed to a positive campaign with incredible voter contact. We contacted probably at least eight or nine thousand voters. That is what I feel good about.”
No one at the county election board was available to discuss recount procedures or whether any provisional votes had been cast that might make a difference in the 87th District race. End update.
In the race, both women stressed their similarly progressive records and their effectiveness in battling the Republican majority in Jefferson City.
Newman suffered a tough primary loss in 2008 to Steve Brown, who went on to hold office but resigned the next year after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. In the special election that followed in 2009, Newman won the seat, then was re-elected the next year after another contested primary.
That same year, Carlson won a decisive primary victory and used her experience as a lawyer on the House Rules and House Judiciary committees.
Redistricting this year put both women in the newly drawn 87th District, where their views were similar on many issues, including how to handle students who would want to transfer from the unaccredited St. Louis Public Schools to St. Louis County districts, including some who are in their district.
In another high-profile Democratic legislative race, state Rep. Jamilah Nasheed won a three-way battle for the 5th District Senate seat, beating incumbent Sen. Robin Wright-Jones and Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford.
With nearly 97 percent of the precincts in the district reporting, Nasheed had 40.26 percent of the vote, compared with 30.27 percent for Wright-Jones and 29.47 percent for Oxford.
"This campaign has been a roller coaster," Nasheed told her victory party.
"I've been on and off the ballot. For two months, I wasn't able to raise any money. But since then it's been full steam ahead. But now the real work begins. It's very important to me to make the 5th, one -- to bring together the south side and the north side as one and make sure we work together."
Asked about her loss, Oxford said:
"I'm somewhat surprised. Lots of folks who have the reputation of knowing local politics assured me I would win."
Would she remain in politics?
"I will probably always stay involved in public policy -- it's the deep love of my life. I don't know what way I'll do that but I imagine I'll be an advocate for the same issues that I've always been working on."
In other legislative results:
- Scott Sifton defeated Sue Schoemehl in the Democratic race in the 1st Senate district in south St. Louis County, 55-45 percent. Sifton will now go on to face state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, in a district that became more Democratic after redistricting. Lembke, though, has a reputation for being a tough campaigner and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his re-election bid.
- Gina Walsh beat Redditt Hudson in the Democratic race in the 13th Senate district in north St. Louis County, 64-36 percent. Since the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, Walsh is likely to replace state Sen. Tim Green, D-Spanish Lake, in the Missouri Senate.
- Sue Meredith defeated Rep. Tracy McCreery, who was serving as an independent, in the Democratic primary in the 71st House district, 55-45 percent.
- Mary Nichols defeated fellow incumbent Eileen McGeoghegan in the 72nd House district in north St. Louis County by 58-31 percent; a third candidate, Paul Berry, had 11 percent.
- In another race between Democratic incumbents, state Rep. Sharon Pace beat state Rep. C.M. Spreng in the 74th House district in north St. Louis County, 69-31 percent.
- Rochelle Walton Gray defeated fellow Democratic incumbent Sylvester Taylor in the 75th House district, 60-40 percent.
- Rep. Penny Hubbard defeated two opponents in the newly drawn 78th House district. Hubbard had 46 percent to 34 percent for Ruth Ehresman and 19 percent for Samuel Cummings III.
- Karla May won a three-way Democratic primary in the 84th House district, with 44 percent compared with 33 percent for Mike Owens and 23 percent for Hope Whitehead.
- In the 79th District, Michael Butler - a legislative aide to Wright-Jones - defeated business owner Martin Casas 62-38. Butler managed to win decisively even though Casas collected prominent endorsements from Mayor Francis Slay and former Gov. Bob Holden.
- Roughly four years after losing badly to Nasheed in a primary for state representative, attorney Kim Gardner easily prevailed in the 77th District over McFarlane Duncan and Chris Elliot. Gardner collected 61.9 percent of the vote.
- Richmond Heights Councilwoman Gina Mitten outmuscled Webster Groves resident James Trout in the 83rd District. Mitten had unsuccessfully sought to fill Brown's vacancy back in 2009, while Trout lost decisively to Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, in the 2008 contest for the 15th Senatorial District.
- In the 93rd District, Bob Burns easily dispatched Joe Montecillo by a 59-41 percent margin. Burns - who previously served as an aide for U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-St. Louis, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. - was heavily involved recently in efforts to disincorporate the town of St. George. Montecillo is the ex-husband of state Rep. Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis.
- And in the 73rd District, IT professional Courtney Curtis defeated Doug Clemens for the north St. Louis County district. Curtis prevailed by a 54-45 percent margin.
City treasurer’s race
In the closely watched Democratic race for St. Louis city treasurer, Tishaura Jones won a decisive victory over three opponents and is headed to becoming the city's first female treasurer.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jones had 34.92 percent of the 39,570 votes counted, followed by Fred Wessels with 26.31 percent, Jeffrey Boyd with 25.5 percent and Brian Wahby with 13.27 percent.
As her widening lead was announced, Jones' father, former city comptroller Virvus Jones, took the stage first, telling the jubilant crowd:
"We had the best staff working this campaign. We had no money and no chance, they said, but we had great people and a great ground game."
He added that they were the campaign with the least amount of money, but they had people who believed in them from the beginning.
Virvus Jones also said that Alderman Greg Carter was a big help to the campaign. Carter, who was killed July 27 in a traffic accident, was the first to endorse Jones' campaign.
Jones and her father both agreed that they believed their ground game helped earn the victory.
"Hard work pays off," Tishaura Jones said. "We knew campaigning would be in the streets identifying voters." She said it was not about money or glossy mailers, but talking to the people and letting them know what she stood for.
Jones said her next steps were to get a transition team ready and prepare for January.
The second-place finisher, Wessels, thanked friends, family and his fellow alderman for their support.
"I'm sorry we didn't get the results we wanted, but I think we gave it the best that we could," he said.
A special thanks went out to his wife, Gloria Wessels, who acted as his campaign manager and treasurer. "If you want to win a campaign and stay on a tight budget, have your wife write the checks," he joked.
Ultimately, Wessels said, he plans to run for re-election as alderman from the 13th ward.
"I'm disappointed, but I think, I'm an alderman, I'm going to run for re-election next March," he said. "I love being an alderman. I'm going to be an alderman as long as voters in the 13th ward will send me there."
In the race for St. Louis sheriff, incumbent Jim Murphy won 46 percent of the vote and defeated challengers Vernon Betts and David Mosley.
Beacon reporter Nancy Fowler and Beacon interns Josie Butler and Molly Duffy contributed to this report.
Correction: This story originally said, incorrectly, that Joe Montecillo lost by a vote of 59-31 percent.