El-Amin's replacement will likely not be elected until Feb. 2.
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 25, 2009 - Gov. Jay Nixon's staff said today that they have yet to receive a resignation letter from soon-to-be former state Rep. T. D. El-Amin, D-St. Louis, who pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal bribery charge.
In any case, El-Amin's resignation will come too late for the Nov. 3 special election date already set by the governor for two other area vacant legislative seats, according to the secretary of state's website. A Nixon spokesman agreed.
As a result, Feb. 2 is likely the earliest election date that Nixon now will call to fill El-Amin's seat, which is almost a month into the next legislative session. (Nixon has sought to hold special elections on already-scheduled election days, to keep down costs for the state and local election authorities.)
The upshot: Missouri House Democrats -- already in the minority -- will begin the next session with an even smaller bloc.
After his court appearance, El-Amin said he already had submitted his resignation to the governor's office, which handles such matters when the Legislature is not in session.
So far, a number of names are being bandied about as possible contenders to replace El-Amin. They include Joe Palm, the 26th Ward Democratic committeeman who lost to El-Amin in an earlier 2006 matchup and Karla May (who also sought the post earlier) and lawyer Hope Whitehead.
Palm said in an interview that he believes he has the experience for the legislator job. However, he emphasized that he also had a high regard for the other likely contenders -- "I think everyone is pretty capable" -- and that he wants to do whatever Democratic leaders see as best for the city.
Palm, 40, currently heads the Office of Minority Health for the state Health Department. He previously has worked for St. Louis mayor's office (for a predecessor to current Mayor Francis Slay) and for U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay.
Talk also is swirling about the as-yet-unknown preference of Slay, who successfully lobbied a few weeks ago to advance the candidacy of 28th Ward committeeman Joe Keaveny for the 4th District state Senate seat vacated by Democrat Jeff Smith, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in an unrelated case.
El-Amin pleaded guilty to one court of accepting a bribe, after the FBI had obtained tapes and video of his dealings with a businessman in his district. The man, identified in court documents only as "John Doe," had paid $2,100 to El-Amin in the businessman's request for help because he believed he was being harassed by various city departments because of a dispute with his alderman.