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County Republicans choose O'Sullivan as nominee for Brown's old House seat

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 9, 2009 - President Barack Obama's speech wasn't the only political game in town Wednesday night.

St. Louis County Republicans got down to the business of selecting a nominee for the 73rd state House seat that had been occupied until recently by Democrat Steve Brown.

Brown, of Clayton, resigned when he pleaded guilty to a federal charge in connection with his activities on behalf of former state Sen. Jeff Smith during the latter's unsuccessful 2004 bid for Congress.

The Republican committeemen and committeewomen in the three townships in the 73rd -- Hadley, Clayton and Jefferson -- chose Dan O'Sullivan, who had been the GOP nominee last fall, losing to Brown.

Now, O'Sullivan will compete in the Nov. 3 special election against Democrat Stacey Newman, who was chosen by her party last week. (Still in the wings: the not-yet-chosen nominees from the Libertarian and Constitution parties.)

Unlike Newman, who beat out six rivals, O'Sullivan had no opposition for his party's nod.

County GOP chairman Rich Magee -- who also is the Jefferson Township committeeman -- said that Republicans believe O'Sullivan has a strong shot in November.

Aside from the GOP's generally better turnout in special elections, Magee said, "The issues favor us. The environment favors us."

Among other things, the county party plans to emphasize that Republicans control the state House. So O'Sullivan will have more of a voice in Jefferson City than Newman, Magee said.

The county party chairman added that the meeting to select O'Sullivan was finished before Obama took to the podium in Washington.

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.