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Corcoran jumps into 24th District state Senate fight, while Zimmerman jumps out

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 18, 2009 - State Rep. Michael Corcoran, D-St. Ann, is definitely in. Fellow legislator Jake Zimmerman, D-Olivette, is definitely out.

That's the latest news regarding the expanding field of Democrats seeking the 24th District state Senate seat now held by Sen. Joan Bray, D-University City, who can't seek re-election in 2010 because of term limits.

One of the definitely-ins, St. Louis County Councilwoman (and former representative) Barbara Fraser, kicked off her campaign with her first major fund-raiser Thursday night in University City.

Earlier this week, the other definitely-in Democrat, former state Rep. (and unsuccessful lieutenant governor candidate last fall) Sam Page, announced that he had the support of Maryland Heights Mayor Mike Moeller and the majority of members of that community's City Council.  Maryland Heights is in the 24th District.

As for Corcoran, his kickoff fundraiser is set for next Wednesday at the Sprinkler Fitters Hall (he is a sprinkler fitter) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Invitations are being sent out by members of Local 268.

Corcoran and Page are already battling it out for union support. Page earlier has announced support of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, AFl-CIO, Local 42 and the Painters’ District Council, No. 2.

But the hottest news may be Zimmerman's official decision not to seek Bray's seat. The last campaign-finance reports, filed in April, showed Zimmerman with more money in the bank than  Fraser, Corcoran or Page. Zimmerman reported close to $144,000.

Zimmerman declined to go into detail late Thursday as to why he decided not to join the crowd competing for the 24th District. But he did say that he has personally contacted all three Democrats to tell them of his decision.

"I'm running for re-election and not for the Senate,'' he said.

Will he endorse or financially support one of the three announced Democratic candidates?

"It's too early to say if I will endorse, but my instinct says I will probably not get involved in that fight,'' Zimmerman said. "I'm looking forward to being a spectator and buying some popcorn."

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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