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Nasheed, Oxford considering whether to challenge Jones for state Senate

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 30, 2011 - State Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, plans to announce next Tuesday what office she plans to seek in 2012. Will she seek re-election? Or will she make a bid for the 5th District state Senate seat, possibly challenging fellow Democrat who is the incumbent, Sen. Robin Wright Jones?

The political bets have Nasheed making the Senate plunge because:

--  Jones has run into campaign-finance troubles;

-- Redistricting tossed Nasheed into the same House district with two other legislators, fellow Democrats Chris Carter and Karla May.

But another Democratic House member from St. Louis, outgoing Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, has confirmed she also is considering a run for the 5th District post. Oxford cannot run for re-election to the state House because she is completing her final term under the state's term limits.

Said Oxford in an email late Thursday: "Many people have asked me to run for Senate over the years, and I never thought that was what I would do next for a variety of reasons. However, a request that I received in mid-December touched my heart in a way that led me to say I'd give it some consideration. I will make a decision by late January."

Nasheed could decide to move into another state House district, since several city districts are to become vacant, because of term limits and because a number of legislators were thrown into the same districts by the judicial panel drawing up the boundaries.

As for Jones, in her last comment to the Beacon, she emphasized that she did plan to run for re-election in 2012.

If so, the only question is whether she will have Democratic rivals -- and how many.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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