elections
Are the Missouri August Primary results a fluke or the beginning of a trend?
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electionsMany Republican voters pulled a Democrat ballot August 5th, in St. Louis County. Having crossed over once, how many will do it again in November? It is no secret that the Republican legislature in Jefferson City has exhibited minimal leadership on major issues while spending most of a short legislative calendar talking about issues invented by lobbyists.

Republican voters expected more.

Many St. Louis County Republican voters are baffled by the absence of political ‘guts’ displayed in Jefferson City. Those who took the time to go door-to-door convincing neighbors to vote Republican are mortified by a legislature (that has a veto proof majority in both the House and the Senate) and still cannot accomplish anything of substance. Most of them believe Republican politicians have not made good use of the huge mandate which has been given to them. Politicians talk about big goals on the campaign trail but become timid within the confines of the State Capitol.

Big ideas which drive the political direction of a legislative body are not on display in Jefferson City. As a result, St. Louis County’s Republican voters are adrift.

Republican rank and file dissatisfaction with a legislature that cannot accomplish anything of substance may allow the Democrats to win a majority in the House or the Senate within two or three election cycles.

If Republican voters are not adrift, why did so many Republican voters who voted for Steve Stenger continue to vote for other Democrats? Asked more directly, why were Republican voters so unsure their County Executive candidate was going to win in November that they had to vote for Stenger to make sure Dooley would be gone.

Democrat candidates running in St. Louis County received a huge increase in their normal vote count. Those numbers most likely came from Republican voters who voted Democrat. Like the alcoholic who takes that first drink, Republican voters who voted Democrat in August might do it again in November.

In the 2014 St. Louis County Executive primary, Republican candidate Rick Stream received 34,765 votes. (Tony Pousosa received 16,433) Four years ago, Republican Bill Corrigan received 66,288 votes, 31,523 votes more than Rick Stream.

In the Democrat primary, Steve Stenger received 84,980 votes (50,215 more votes than Rick Stream). Charlie Dooley received 39,027 votes (4262 more votes than Rick Stream). There were 127,868 Democrat votes cast for County Executive compared to only 51,198 Republican votes cast.

In St. Louis County, Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner received 40,467 Republican primary votes. Democrat challenger Arthur Lieber received 48,742 Democrat primary votes. (Lieber’s totals for St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson counties were 54,369. Wagner’s totals were 54,949, only 588 more votes than the Democrat.)

Compare the numbers above to the vote totals from the 2012 St. Louis County primary election. Then, four Republican primary candidates for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional district received 63,978 votes. Of that total, Mrs. Wagner received 42,573 votes (2106 more votes than she received in 2014). Four 2012 Democrat primary candidates received a total of 22,446. 2014 candidate Lieber received 48,742, which was 26,296 more votes than four 2012 Democrat candidates.

In the recent primary election, soon to be Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, John Diehl Jr. (District 89) received 3445 Republican votes. His Democrat opponent Al Gerber received 2928 Democrat votes (only a 517 vote difference). In 2012, Mr. Diehl ran unopposed by a Democrat and received 5773 Republican votes.

Republican State Representative Andrew Koenig (District 99) received 2198 votes. Perennial candidate William (Bill) Pinkston (Democrat) received 2477 votes, 279 votes more than Representative Koenig. (In November 2012, Mr. Pinkston received 41% of the vote to Mr. Koenig’s 59 %.)

In the Missouri State Senate District 24 race, Democrat Representative Jill Schupp (District 88) received 16,153 votes in her primary race compared to a total of 11,625 votes for three Republicans seeking to replace retiring Republican State Senator John Lamping. Mrs. Schupp received 4528 more votes than all three Republicans.

The St. Louis County primary results are dramatically different this year than 2012 or 2010. Are those results a fluke or the beginning of a trend?

(Lee Presser is the Host and Executive Producer of Conversation with Lee Presser which has appeared on Charter cable in Metro St. Louis since January 2001)

  • I agree with many of the comments I have read here. I have been a life long Republican voter. I was also upset over the Prop 7 nonsense. The Republican led legislature has no back bone. If we need more money for roads then do your damn job and find it in the budget by cutting unnecessary spending. There seems to be little push back against the ultra partisan Jay Nixon. My local rep downplays the threat of federal intrusion by agencies like the EPA and belittles those who sound the alarm. It is pathetic. I did not vote for my state rep. I just left it blank. I wont vote for Donna Lichtenegger in the fall either.

  • Dave

    I did not cross over but I left the vote for Ann Wagner blank. She doesn’t feel the need to respond to her constituents, she has an “Establishment” mentality and has become part of the problem rather than a solution. I don’t know that she thinks for herself or on behalf of the voters who put her in office. Voters would be well-advised to re-think continued support of Ann because issues such as the lack of border security, income tax reform, balanced budget and numerous others items which continue to threaten our liberties and our Constitution will not be resolved by the likes of Ann Wagner. I have been voting Republican for almost 50 years but have finally had enough. The Establishment (RINO’s) are not, repeat not looking out for your best interests, but their own interests of more power and wealth at your expense.

  • Christine S

    Something to consider..I had an incident last primary where I wanted a paper ballot for the Republican party. They had no Republican ballots out on the table. They had Democrat ballots, Constitutional Party ballots etc but no Republican Ballot. Poll worker tried to steer me to the electronic voting. I said I don’t trust those machine and something was fishy that they didn’t have any Republican ballots out. I started to make a stink when a poll worker gets up goes out in the hallway and 2 minutes later comes back with Republican ballots. I text my husband at work because he wanted to use paper ballots as well. He said they gave him the wrong ballot. The Ballot didn’t have Republican candidates on it. So he takes it back and they tell him he has to use the electronic voting. I reported incident to Board of Elections.

    Seems strange to have such a large number of democrats voting and so few republicans voting. I know there was cross over voting but in such a large number? Seems a lot people go and vote down party line and don’t even know the candidates. Maybe more people are paying attention. I hope nobody is messing with the electronic vote.

    • HC

      Same here on electronic votes. At at least one area in North County, one that Pousosa thought he had, they ran out of Republican ballots, suggesting to voters to vote electronically. They did eventually find some, saying they are usually traditionally Dem., not expecting to need more Rep. ballots. This is odd compared to the trends elsewhere. But this may not be a fluke, as crossing over (dangerous IMO) looks possible here http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/upshot/senator-pat-roberts-finds-himself-in-a-tight-race.html?_r=3&referrer
      Electronic voting, though, should be looked at seriously before the General! There have been warnings!

      • Christine S

        I believe a bill was passed last session to do away with electronic voting. But it still allows electronic voting until machines no longer function. I encourage EVERYONE to use paper ballot to ensure integrity of elections in MO.

  • HC

    “I truly hope that the Republicans crossing to Democrats is just a singular event. But, the Republicans will have only themselves to blame if it is repeated.”
    I agree!
    It would be great if the Republican mentality does not think Democrats would do even better!
    But we did gain back the super majority after Nixon stole some of them for other government jobs .
    I would look into Union shenanigans here and a huge big money push!
    I understand the state did much better overall, compared to our local areas.
    Also, in Jefferson County, there were quite a few incidents of Establishment Reps. who have been reported to possibly work on a strategy to get votes for ANYTHING but a Tea Party candidate! There were quite a few unpopular candidates no one knew much about, sandwiched between strong contenders.
    These were not fair elections,IMO.

    • I don’t think the GOP has any idea of the degree of dissatisfaction among grassroots, free market conservatives.

      And I think part of the Republican delusion comes from the consultants who want everyone to believe all is well.

      Yet, the establishment seems bent on pissing us off. Look at what happened at RedState Gathering over the weekend: http://hennessysview.com/2014/08/09/erick-erickson-reince-priebus/.

  • Gene Hutchins

    Republicans are angry with our State House&Senate. Particularly galling, the Prop 7 (MoDot Sale tax) cowardice. IF MoDot needs the money, they should have cut other divisions budgets. The other divisions have not been scrutinized in sometime.

    They could raise the fuel taxes, especially on diesel. OR, change the fee schedule for license renewal. Base it on, MILES DRIVEN AND THE PAYLOAD CAPACITY. A 40 Ton Dump Truck, that travels 75,000 mi/yr puts much more wear on Missouri’s roads than my Chevy HHR (its load capacity 800 lbs.) And travel 22,000 mi/yr.

    Would Democrats cut the other stat divisions? NO! Would Democrats raise vehicle license fees? Maybe. The Dems would raise income taxes, fuel taxes. But they would buckle under the lobbyists.

    Tim Jones leadership has been disappointing. He will make a great lobbyist.

    I truly hope that the Republicans crossing to Democrats is just a singular event. But, the Republicans will have only themselves to blame if it is repeated.

    • Thanks, Gene.

      I learned last year why most people run for the Missouri House: they want to be governor or president some day. Not kidding. There are exceptions–Paul Curtman, John Lamping, Nieves, others. But for most, State House is just the entry-level job in a corporate hierarchy.

      Frankly, I think the way term limits operate makes the problem worse. But, whatever the cause, state legislators know they need to keep the opportunist donors happy to fund their race for State Senate, US House, Governor, or whatever.

      The easiest way not piss off the donors is to delegate all the tough decisions to the voters.

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