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Newman wins in do-over primary race in St. Louis County

Newman wins in do-over primary race in St. Louis County

Stacey Newman, Susan Carlson

Stacey Newman and Susan Carlson, Democratic candidates for the 87th state representative district.

For the second time in seven weeks, final but unofficial tallies showed that Stacey Newman of Richmond Heights won the Democratic primary in Missouri’s 87th District.

Newman won in another tight race over Susan Carlson of University City in a special election on Monday.

The unofficial final results showed Newman with 1,861 votes to 1,766 for Carlson.

The primary was supposed to have been settled in the Aug. 7 election, where unofficial tallies showed Newman winning by one vote, 1,823 to 1,822. But the county Election Board threw out those results after it learned that 102 voters got the wrong ballots at a polling place in Brentwood.

Neither candidate could be reached for comment on Monday.

Newman, 58, and Carlson, 62, were incumbent Democratic legislators who, through redistricting, got thrown together into a primary for the same seat.

The district encompasses Brentwood, Clayton, Ladue, Richmond Heights and University City.

Unofficial results showed that about 15 percent of the district’s 24,000 registered voters cast ballots on Monday, about the same as in the August election.

Leading up to the first election, the race was a fairly typical, under-the-radar state house primary.

But after a St. Louis County Circuit Court judge ordered a new election to settle the August error, the race became hotly contested as supporters of both campaigns traded accusations of dirty politics.

Much of the furor focused on two bills — the Safe Drinking Water and the Quality Jobs acts — that Newman had opposed and Carlson had supported.

Newman had asserted that the safe water bill would have allowed for the transportation of dangerous radioactive waste around the state and that the jobs bill would have cost the state $10 million that it could not afford to spend.

Carlson noted that the final version of the safe water bill did not have the radioactive waste language that Newman had objected to in earlier versions. Carlson acknowledged the expense of the jobs act but said she thought it was worth supporting nonetheless.

Monday’s election drew voters who had cast ballots in August as well as some who missed the first opportunity.

Meghan Kuckelman and her husband, Kevin Beverage cast their ballots at VFW Post 3500 in Richmond Heights.

Election workers there said late Monday afternoon that voters had been trickling in throughout the day at the rate of about five an hour.

"We missed the first election because we had to go out of town due to a family emergency," Kuckelman said. "When I found out how close the election was the first time around, I was really excited to have another crack at it."

Jeff Kraus, of Richmond Heights, also voted at the VFW Post.

"I voted in August, too," Kraus said. "I kept track of today’s date because I didn’t want to miss the chance to vote again."

Newman is seeking her third term. She said her most important goal would be to protect voting rights and oppose efforts to require voters to show a government-issued photo ID.

The special election cost about $50,000, to be paid by the state, rather than the county.

County elections director Rita Heard Days said there were no problems with Monday’s election.

No Republicans filed to run in the district, meaning the Democratic victor will likely represent the area in the state House.

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Paul Hampel is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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