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Government, Politics & Issues

Gardner Wins Democratic Nomination For St. Louis Circuit Attorney

Kim Gardner greets a poll worker on the morning of the Missouri primary on Aug. 4. Gardner is running to retain her position as St. Louis Circuit Attorney.
Eric Schmid
/
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner greets a poll worker on Tuesday morning. She defeated Mary Pat Carl in the Democrat primary to be the city's top prosecutor.

The first Black woman to serve as prosecuting attorney in St. Louis is a step closer to winning another term in office.

Kim Gardner defeated Mary Pat Carl, a former assistant prosecutor who is now an attorney at Husch Blackwell, 61% to 39% in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Gardner will face Republican Daniel Zdrodowski in November.

“I’m going to continue to push for justice,” Gardner said in brief remarks to her supporters at a party in south St. Louis celebrating her victory. "It’s really about individuals who just want to feel safe, individuals who want to have equality, individuals who really want to be heard. And that’s what this election is about.”

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Her victory comes as the city struggles with a summer spike in violent crime. As of Tuesday, 158 people had been killed in the city, compared to 194 in all of 2019. St. Louis is on pace for more than 250 homicides, the most since the early 1990s.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner submits her primary ballot on Tuesday. She defeated challenger Mary Pat Carl to be the Democratic nominee in November's general election.
Eric Schmid / St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner submits her primary ballot on Tuesday. She defeated challenger Mary Pat Carl to be the Democratic nominee in November's general election.

Gardner has frequently been the target of intense criticism, especially for her handling of two cases with political overtones — the charges she filed against then-Gov. Eric Greitens in 2018 and against Mark and Patricia McCloskey last month.

“The people have overwhelmingly said, ‘Enough is enough,’” Gardner said. “This was against all odds.”

As she did in her first election, Gardner attracted support from national groups campaigning for progressive prosecutors, such as Color of Change.

“Kim Gardner is a real agent of change for St. Louis City,” Arisha Hatch, the executive director of the group’s political action committee, said in a statement. “Her win shows that people are ready to continue walking in the right direction to usher in real change and progressivism. We know she will work tirelessly to fight for justice and the rights of all those she serves. We are excited to continue to witness the victories Gardner will accomplish this time around.”

Mary Pat Carl enters her polling precinct on Aug. 4. Carl was defeated by incumbent St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in the Democratic primary to become the city's top prosecutor.
Eric Schmid / St. Louis Public Radio
Mary Pat Carl enters her polling precinct on Aug. 4. Carl was defeated by incumbent St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in the Democratic primary to become the city's top prosecutor.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Carl thanked her supporters and wished Gardner a successful second term.

“I urge her to choose to be transparent with the public, and to build working relationships that will make our city safer,” Carl said.

Zdrodowski, Gardner’s main opponent in November, runs his own firm, where he handles family law and personal injury cases. He was among Mayor Lyda Krewson’s initial nominees to the Board of Freeholders but was withdrawn from the now-dormant process because he filed for office.

He is running on a pledge of returning the focus of the circuit attorney’s office toward prosecuting crimes.

“Other candidates to this office want the office to be an instrument of social change and to right past wrongs,” he said. “That is not the circuit attorney's job.”

Democratic St. Louis treasurer candidate Tishaura Jones canvassing outside the Ward 13 precinct the morning of the primary on Aug. 4. The incumbent faces a party challenge from Jeffery Boyd.
Eric Schmid / St. Louis Public Radio
Democratic St. Louis treasurer candidate Tishaura Jones canvassing outside the Ward 13 precinct the morning of the primary on Aug. 4. The incumbent faces a party challenge from Jeffery Boyd.

Jones wins treasurer’s race

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones is likely headed to a third term in the office.

Jones beat Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, D-22nd Ward, 58% to 41% in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. She is heavily favored against Republican and Green Party opposition in November.

“This campaign reflected my values,” Jones said in a Facebook Live video. “We talked directly to people, and we never forgot that we were campaigning in the middle of a pandemic. So not only were we calling and asking for support, we were also calling and asking people how they were doing, and making sure they had what they needed to survive.”

Though Boyd focused on whether the treasurer should run the city’s parking operations, Jones said the people she talked to didn’t care about that issue.

“People care about if they are being treated fairly by their government, and they care that they are being heard,” she said. “People know that that’s the case with me running the treasurer’s office.”

Boyd did not immediately have a comment on the results.

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