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O'Leary captures St. Louis County Council seat, while St. Charles Mayor Faith wins re-election

A voter enters Our Lady of Guadalupe School on election day in Ferguson.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo
A voter enters Our Lady of Guadalupe School on election day in Ferguson.

Democrat Kevin O’Leary has won his campaign for the 6th District seat on the St. Louis County Council, replacing now-County Executive Steve Stenger and retaining their party's 5-2 seat edge.

The contest, like so many others around the region, appeared to hinge on organization to counter a low turnout. With most of the county's votes counted, pre-election estimates appeared correct: Only 16 percent of the county's voters showed up at the polls.

O’Leary, a former bar owner in Oakville, collected almost 54 percent of the vote against Republican Tony Pousosa in the 6th District contest. It will mark the third defeat for Pousosa, who lost in the GOP primary for county executive last summer, and lost to Stenger in the 2012 fight for the 6th District. 

O'Leary's win also upset the county GOP's hopes to improve its standing, while shoring up the Democratic brand.  The 6th District is swing political territory, and voters there rejected Stenger last fall in favor of Republican Rick Stream in the tight battle for county executive.

Credit Rachel Heidenry | File photo | St. Louis Beacon

However, Tuesday's most nationally watched contest was for three city council seats in Ferguson.The results indicated that a massive get-out-the-vote drive by a number of progressive groups and members of Congress could claim only a partial victory.

In the 1st Ward, their choice of Ella Jones — who raised by far the most money -— handily won in a four-person field. But in the 2nd Ward, former Mayor Brian Fletcher was the victor, as was lawyer Wesley Bell in the 3rd Ward. Both men had been opposed by the progressive coalition.

Credit Campaign web site
Sally Faith

Still, voter turnout in Ferguson was almost double the county's average.  And the election results mean that the six-member Ferguson City Council will now have three African-American members. Previously, the council had only one.

More than a dozen mayoral contests throughout the region also were on Tuesday's ballot, along with hundreds of other local officials and ballot issues. St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith succeeded with an easy re-election bid over County Councilman Mike Klinghammer, a fellow Republican.

In St. Louis County, the mayoral victors included:

  • Credit Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio
    Adam Paul

    Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul — the target of a recall in 2013 — who handily defeated Mike Roemerman;

  • Christopher Thornton, who won a three-way battle in Brentwood;
  • Incumbent Tom Schneider, who easily won a second term in Florissant;
  • Yolanda Fountain Henderson, among five contenders for mayor in Jennings.

St. Louis' aldermanic results hold few surprises

Most of the city's political fights took place in last month's Democratic primary, so Tuesday's results were largely as expected. The only surprise was that some of the Democratic victors had smaller margins than they may have hoped to garner.

Lewis Reed 2013
Credit Provided by Lewis Reed
Lewis Reed

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed collected 82 percent of the vote against Republican and Green Party rivals.

But in the 2nd Ward, Democrat Dionne Flowers received 62.5 percent of the vote against Green Party candidate Elston McGowan.

In the 6th Ward, Democrat Christine Ingrassia received 76 percent of the vote. And in the 20th Ward, which featured a lively three-way fight, Democrat Cara Spencer — who had ousted the longtime incumbent last month — collected 69 percent of the vote.

In the other wards, all the Democratic victors captured more than 80 percent of the vote.

Across the Mississippi River in Illinois,the counting to determine who will be East St. Louis' mayor appeared to be headed for a late night.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.