Vote Gives Nasheed State Senate Seat; Elsewhere, Rep. Sifton Bests Ex-Rep. Schoemehl to Challenge GOP's Sen. Jim Lembke in 1st District

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ELECTIONS 2012 - MISSOURI LEGISLATURE

Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, who climbed from street gangs to community activist to the state Capitol, took another step Tuesday when she won the nod to become St. Louis' newest state senator.

Nasheed, 39, vanquished incumbent Sen. Robin Wright-Jones and Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford to win the Democratic nomination for the 5th District seat in the Missouri Senate. Because no Republican filed for the seat, Nasheed will take office in January.

In an interview from her downtown St. Louis campaign headquarters, the often outspoken Nasheed said her election was a "humbling experience" and she spoke of becoming a consensus- builder.

"I have a lot of work to do," she said. "We need to work across party lines, work with the mayor, work with the state representatives and bring everybody together," she said. "I'm not going to change who I am. I'm going to enhance."

In other legislative contests, redistricting upset the political map this year, spurring several area incumbent matchups.

Rep. Stacey Newman of Richmond Heights emerged with the tiniest of victories in her race against a fellow House Democrat, beating Rep. Susan Carlson of University City by one vote.

Newman and Carlson were among eight St. Louis-area Democratic lawmakers who squared off in four House districts as a result of redistricting.

Before the minuscule margin was known, Carlson said that, "If I don't win, I wish her well because she and I vote the same way on some of the real core issues we care about."

But given the closeness of the count, Carlson said: "We'll do a recount and see where it goes."

Meanwhile, in other Senate races, Rep. Scott Sifton of Affton bested former Rep. Sue Schoemehl to win the Democrats' nod to challenge Republican Sen. Jim Lembke in the newly drawn 1st Senatorial District in south St. Louis County.

The redrawn district is viewed as one of the best chances for Democrats to pick up a seat in the Senate, which is controlled 26-8 by Republicans. The new 1st District stretches from far southeast St. Louis County north into Webster Groves and Maplewood. …