St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Badaracco jumps into 3rd District fray

Voters who can't stomach either 23% Democratic Primary winner Russ Carnahan or Religious Right Republican Bill Federer now have another choice. Former aldermanic president Joseph L. Badaracco has filed as a write-in candidate for the open 3rd District congressional seat.

Badaracco, now 84, is the last Republican to win citywide office in St. Louis, having defeated Sorkis Webbe, Sr. in a special election for president of the Board of Aldermen in 1969 and winning re-election in 1971. He enjoyed broad bipartisan support. His later electoral ventures were less successful, losing the 1972 Republican primary for lieutenant governor to State Rep. Bill "Full Time" Phelps, the 1973 mayoral contest to Comptroller John Poelker, and the 1976 contest for this 3rd District seat the last time the seat was open, to a 35-year-old alderman named Richard Gephardt.

Prior to moving to Glendale in 1992, Badaracco was a prominent member of St. Gabriel's parish in St. Louis Hills, the same parish where Federer grew up and where his parents still live. (Federer now calls Oakville home.) It is intriguing that a challenge to Federer would come from within his party and from his old home base.

Write-ins at best offer a symbolic challenge, because not having one's name printed on the ballot is a huge disadvantage. It's especially daunting when the name that voters must remember to write in is spelled "Badaracco." Nevertheless, for voters frustrated with having to choose between unappealing alternatives (and either comforted by or resigned to the fact that the 3rd District is a lock to be won by whoever the Democratic candidate happens to be), Badaracco provides a welcome alternative.

Voters seeking a different choice but who prefer the convenience of just punching a number next to a name on the ballot have two other alternatives, both conservative. Kevin Babcock is the Libertarian candidate, and the Constitution Party petition drive placed William Renaud of Oakville on the ballot.


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