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Politically Speaking: Steve Bailey carries GOP mantle in 1st Congressional District race

Steven Bailey
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Steven Bailey

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome 1st Congressional District Republican nominee Steve Bailey to the program.

Bailey is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay in a district that takes in all of St. Louis and some of St. Louis County. Clay, D-St. Louis, was a guest on Politically Speaking a few days ago.

Bailey is a southern Illinois native who was a personal injury attorney for a number of years. He transitioned into higher education, and teaches at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

While Bailey has never held elected office, he’s run several times for Congress. In 1998, he received more than 25 percent of the vote in a two-person Democratic primary against then-U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt. When then-U.S. Rep. William Clay, decided against running for the 1st District seat in 2000, Bailey was one of a number of candidates to seek the Democratic nomination. He ended up getting 2 percent of the vote in a race that Lacy Clay won in a landslide.

Earlier this year, Bailey won a GOP primary against fellow Republican Paul Berry III. He will face an uphill battle to unseat Clay, because the 1st District is solidly Democratic.

Here’s what Bailey had to say during the show:

  • Bailey was for many years a “Hubert Humphrey Democrat.” But he said he started gravitating toward the GOP a few years, culminating in a complete party switch.
  • He says he runs for office because “always in the back of my mind, I’ve harbored some desire to make a big political splash. ... Congress is something that I sort of trained for,” he said.
  • If he were to get elected, Bailey said he would put his training as a lawyer to good use. Specifically, he’d want to look at America’s tax code – which he says is needlessly complicated. “I studied it heavily in law school," he said. "And my professor sort of jokingly referred to this one section that had 733 words, seven semi-colons, four colons, 17 commas and not a single period.”
  • Bailey said that while he has nothing against the Clay family, he wonders if it’s good for the St. Louis area that either William Clay or Lacy Clay occupied the 1st Congressional District seat for nearly 50 years.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Steven Bailey on Twitter: @bailey4rep1

Music: “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins 

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
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.