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Incumbent aldermen come out on top in city primary election

CITY HALL – In the first round of the city’s elections for aldermen, the clear winners were incumbents.

Only one of the 16 races for aldermen didn’t include the current holder of the office, and only one of the 15 incumbents running didn’t come out on top in the new approval voter system.

Thirteenth Ward Alderwoman Beth Murphy received 39 percent of the votes to 69 percent for Anne Schweitzer in a two-person race. Schweitzer received 1,316 votes, while Murphy got 744 votes. They will face each other in the final election on April 6, but Murphy has lots of ground to make up if she’s to have a chance of winning in a month.

The results came in the first city election to use the new approval voting system. Under that system, approved in the Nov. 3 election, people can vote for as many candidates as they want, and the top two advance to the general election.

Because people can vote for as many candidates as they want, the total percentages of votes all candidates receive is more than 100 percent. Also, in cases in which there are only two candidates, the same two candidates advance to the final round. 

When only one candidate is on the ballot, that person advances to the final general election and is almost surely the winner. The three incumbents who ran without opposition were 11th Ward, Sarah Martin, 78 percent, 917 votes; 23rd Ward, Joseph Vaccaro, 81 percent, 2,119 votes; and 25th Ward, Shane Cohn, 82 percent, 701 votes.

Fifteenth Ward Alderwoman Megan Green got 74 percent and 1,745 votes over former 15th Ward Alderwoman Jennifer Florida, who received 31 percent and 721 votes. A third candidate, Alexander Gremp, received 7 percent and 169 votes and will not advance to the general election. Green defeated Florida in 2017.

In a crowded race in the 21st Ward, Alderman John Collins-Muhammad received 831 votes, or 59 percent, to come in first, while Laura Keys took 530 votes and 38 percent to advance to the general election. The losers included former Alderwoman Melinda Long, who received 144 votes and 10 percent. Other unsuccessful candidates in the 21st Ward were Barbara Lane, 129 votes and 9 percent; Ticharwa Masimba, 217 votes and 15 percent; and Tavon Brooks, who received 90 votes and 6 percent.

In the 27th Ward, Alderwoman Pamela Boyd received 602 votes and 53 percent to the 518 votes and 46 percent received by former 27th Ward Alderman Chris Carter. A third candidate, Mary Ann Jackson, received 160 votes and 14 percent and did not advance to the general election.

In the 17th Ward, where Alderman Joe Roddy was the only incumbent who didn’t seek re-election, Michelle Sherod received 1,194 votes and 69 percent and Tina Pihl 799 votes and 46 percent to advance to the general election. A third candidate, Don De Vivo, was unsuccessful, having received 105 votes and 6 percent.

First Ward Alderwoman Sharon Tyus received 691 votes and 60 percent to come out on top. In the general election, she’ll face Yolanda Brown, who received 528 votes and 46 percent. Candidate Loren Watt got 60 votes and 5 percent and will not advance to the general election.

Fourth Ward Alderwoman Dwinderlin Evans, who was elected last year to fill a vacancy, came out on top in her ward, with 489 votes and 47 percent. In the general election, she’ll face Edward McFowland, who received 367 votes and 35 percent. Leroy Carter, who got 367 votes and 30 percent, will not be on the general election ballot.

In the 12th Ward, Alderwoman Vicky Grass was the leading candidate, with 1,023 votes and 49 percent. The names of Grass and Bill Stephens, who got 761 votes and 36 percent, will be on the general election ballot. Joe Rusch, who received 711 votes and 34 percent, will not be on that ballot. 

There were two candidates in the following wards. All will be on the general election ballot.

  • Ward 3: Incumbent Brandon Bosley received 647 votes and 65 percent to the 232 votes and 27 percent of Herdosia Bentum.
  • Ward 5: Incumbent Tammika Hubbard had 621 votes and 62 percent in besting James Paige, who got 404 votes and 41 percent.
  • Ward 7: Incumbent Jack Coatar had 1,150 votes and 59 percent to the 883 votes and 45 percent of Shedrick Kelly.
  • Ward 9: Alderman Dan Guenther received 1,226 votes and 70 percent to best former Ninth Ward Alderman Ken Ortmann, who got 607 votes and 35 percent.
  • Ward 19: Incumbent Marlene Davis received 772 votes and 74 percent, while Cleo Willis got 226 votes and 25 percent.

For the full election results, go to

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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