South County Turns Blue and Other Election Observations

Former Editor Sarah Flagg shares observations about the election results in South County from a new Chicago perspective.

Less than two miles away from Barack Obama on Election Night, I was almost impassive about his battle with Mitt Romney.

The uncontested Illinois representative races didn’t interest me. And neither did the lone state senate race that was almost, almost close.

Instead I was glued to Twitter, switching between Mehlville-Oakville Patch social media and the St. Louis County Board of Elections site.

My head was in Chicago, but my heart, as they say, was in Missouri.

I couldn’t wait to see the margin Marsha Haefner held over Joe Zelle.

I couldn’t wait to see Steve Stenger elected to another term on the St. Louis County Council.

And I couldn’t wait to find out the results of the races that were too close to call: the epic three-year Brown/Englund battle and the Senate Showdown of Sifton/Lembke.

I covered South County politics for two years. That’s not a long in the span of a lifetime, but in 24 months of constant emails and phone calls, my emotional attachment to these races took me by surprise.

Journalists are supposed to be impartial, and I believe I was in my past coverage. But let me take a moment to commend those who won, because the voters of South County made the right decisions.

They proved Missouri has a soul by electing Claire McCaskill to another term. Dear Lord if Todd Akin won, I don’t think I could put up with the rest of the nation’s jeers about my home state. There are now 19 women in the US Senate - let's get some work done, ladies.

In the St. Louis County Council, voters couldn’t lose with Steve Stenger and Tony Pousosa running for the Sixth District. While both candidates would have done a great job, Stenger’s track record along with community liaison extraordinaire Linda Henry couldn’t be beat. I can only hope this leads to a County Executive run in 2014. Now that would be a fun primary to report on.

Rep. Marsha Haefner prevailed over Joe Zelle. The main question was; who was Joe Zelle? The scarce coverage of this race coupled with Haefner’s name recognition in Oakville could only lead to one conclusion.

Despite what he said, Scott Sifton didn’t win because redistricting put a large amount of Democrats in his lap. He won because he worked. His campaign worked. Who would have guessed he’d beat Oakville’s own Sue Schoemehl in the primary? That alone should have sent a message to Jim Lembke about Sifton’s drive. But Lembke is no slouch. He knows the meaning of going door-to-door, getting to know new people and even… tweeting. In the end it was Sifton, but by such a narrow margin that Lembke and his staff should be proud. It'll be interesting to see how South County changes under the new leadership.

And the one race I couldn’t predict and honestly couldn’t decide: Democrat Vicki Englund and Republican Cloria Brown. Sure, their political stances are as different as night and day, but their tenacity and passion in representing their district is unmatched in Missouri politics. As a woman, I could not help but admire this race and these candidates. Congrats, Vicki Englund.

Despite how you voted, the truth about every candidate is that they believe in their cause, they work to the best of their abilities and they deserve the respect of every citizen.

So ends my nostalgic rant of South County politics. Many thanks go out to Lindsay Toler and the rest of the St. Louis Patch team who worked tirelessly to update residents on the state and nation’s future.

All the best Mehlville and Oakville—I miss ya, 


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Karl Frank Jr. November 08, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Great stuff and well said. I think the results are better than the alternative, but being unincorporated St. Louis County still gives us too little a voice. The gap in interests between rural and urban Missouri is too much to overcome and is a real handicap for Missouri in the global economy. I don't really know what can be done about it, if anything. Sometimes it just feels like all you can really do is play a fiddle and watch it burn...but people like Vicki and Scott and Claire keep my hopes up a little. This was a refreshing read. Thanks for writing it. (BTW, what do you think of the fact that statewide we elected White Democrats to the U.S. Senate, MO Governor, MO Treasurer, MO Attorney General, MO Secretary of State, etc., but the "Black" Democrat, President Obama lost in a landslide.)
Pam Z November 08, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Just what St Louis County needs..another Dooley. Check out this video to see how Steve Stenger wins an election. Oh by the way, when you watch the video you need to know the Vondarhar the County worker is talking about IS Stengers treasurer.For your viewing enjoyment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OhGRBtOXk0
Karl Frank Jr. November 08, 2012 at 10:28 PM
LOL. I think the dead horse is this video. He is right. The property manager has the right to give permission for political signs. I think you are just embarrassing yourself Pam Z, but I could be wrong.
Pam Z November 09, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Karl..Look at the video again and you will see that this is on Stl County property and therefore NO political signs are allowed. But Oops.. I'm sure the Clayton Attorney doesn't know this. Right? Just kidding. And I am also sure this county worker called every property owner to see who was given permission. Right Karl? Again just kidding.
Karl Frank Jr. November 09, 2012 at 08:40 PM
So, Pam, what have you found out so far on your research? Anybody arrested, in jail, or being investigated for an ethics violation yet?


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