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Government, Politics & Issues

Bauer ousts 24th Ward incumbent in St. Louis primary

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 9, 2011 - The donkey is back!

Former St. Louis Alderman Tom Bauer, known for campaigning with a donkey, may be back in the saddle at the Board of Aldermen. Bauer ousted incumbent Bill Waterhouse in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Bauer -- who first lost to Waterhouse in 2005 and in a 2007 rematch -- was the only challenger to win among the four aldermanic primary contests at stake in Tuesday's voting. The other 10 city aldermen on the ballot had no primary challengers.

Voter turnout citywide was in the single digits.

The other incumbent Democrats facing primary challengers -- Kacie Starr Triplett, 6th Ward; Donna Baringer, 16th Ward; and Craig Schmid, 20th Ward -- all retained their seats. Triplett handily defeated lawyer Brad Kessler.

Bauer now faces Independent candidate Scott Ogilvie in the April 5 election. Schmid will face Independent David Gaither. The other aldermen, including Triplett and Baringer, have no April rivals.

However, Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed will face Green Party candidate Maxine Johnson in April.

As we reported earlier Tuesday:

The city of St. Louis is holding its aldermanic elections today, making it the only area community where voters are going to the polls.

Officially, today's city election is a primary, but because virtually all the aldermen -- and their challengers -- are Democrats, today's vote is the one that really counts. The polls opened at 6 a.m., and close tonight at 7 p.m.

Half of the city's 28 aldermanic posts are on the ballot. Only a handful have contests. One of the hottest is in the 6th Ward, where incumbent Kacie Starr Triplett faces a challenge from prominent defense lawyer Brad Kessler.

The city of St. Louis' general election will be in April, when most area communities -- and some school districts -- will be holding theirs. That's when St. Louis voters will cast their ballots on the future of the city's earnings tax.

UPDATE: City Republican elections director Scott Leiendecker reported this afternoon that turnout was extremely low, so low that he projected the final percentage citywide would be under 10 percent. 

The only contested primaries are in the 6th, 16th, 20th and 24th wards. Turnout appeared to be stronger in the 16th, Leiendecker said. That's not surprising, since the 16th traditionally sees a higher percentage of voters show up at the polls.

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