On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the special election to replace the St. Louis 8th ward alderman. Joining him for the discussion were St. Louis Public Radio reporters Rachel Lippmann and Jason Rosenbaum.
Annie Rice, who ran as an independent candidate, beat the Democratic nominee, Paul Fehler in Tuesday’s special election 60 percent to 40 percent in unofficial results. A special election takes place when there is a vacant seat prior to an election.
The seat has been vacant since November, when long-time alderman Steve Conway resigned to become the city’s assessor. The ward covers parts of the Shaw, Tower Grove East and the Southwest Garden neighborhoods.
Rosenbaum said the race was a clean race between the two candidates, but called the hostility between their supporters a “proxy war.”
“Aldermanic races in St. Louis can be incredibly nasty affairs and this one was not one of them,” Rosenbaum said. “But their surrogates and supporters kind of were on another level of animosity against each other.”
Listen to the full discussion on the 8th ward alderman election:
Women in politics
Rosenbaum said there has been a tremendous advancement of women in elected offices with significant power in St. Louis. Lippmann said the result of Donald Trump’s election in 2016 led to further conversations about women in politics, including the addition of the title “alderwomen.”
“[Women] saw a reason for them to get motivated,” Lippmann said. “They are being asked to run and they are responding to those calls to run.”
Alderwomen-elect Rice and Vivian Eveloff, director of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at the University of Missouri-St. Louis later joined the conversation to talk about the increase in the number of women in elected offices.
Eveloff discussed the history of the role of women in politics. She said in the past, women who served in elected offices were widows of men who had been elected to it.
“That’s just the way it was. Nobody thought to recruit a woman,” Eveloff said. She was involved in campaigning for various women running for elected offices, including long time Missouri representative Sue Shear and herself.
Rice said the various movements, such as Time’s Up and Me Too, inspired women to speak out and call for more representation in decision making.
“There’s a piece of that lighting this fire. There are a lot of women and people who are kind of sick of men making all the decisions for us and are ready and energized by all sorts of people in politics and leadership pushing women forward,” Rice said.
Rice plans to run for re-election in March 2019 under the Democratic Party.
Listen to the full discussion:
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.