Politically Diverse District May Play Well with Both Candidates; State Rep. Sifton Challenges Incumbent Sen. Lembke; ELECTIONS 2012: 1st Missouri Senate District

By Crisp, Elizabeth | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), October 21, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Politically Diverse District May Play Well with Both Candidates; State Rep. Sifton Challenges Incumbent Sen. Lembke; ELECTIONS 2012: 1st Missouri Senate District


Crisp, Elizabeth, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Each candidate for the Missouri 1st District Senate seat is hoping the area's mixed makeup could prove to be a disadvantage for his opponent.

State Rep. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, says incumbent Sen. Jim Lembke is too conservative for the more northern parts of the district, while Lembke, R-Lemay, says he thinks Sifton will alienate anti- abortion voters in the south.

The Senate race has become one of the more interesting legislative battles this year, because of new district boundaries and the competitive campaigns.

Homes in the area have been peppered with fliers and cards from the candidates.

Lembke is the incumbent in the race, but the terrain has changed from what he faced four years ago.

Thanks to legislative redistricting, the 1st District - previously centered in conservative south St. Louis County - now stretches north to Webster Groves and Maplewood. About 40 percent of the district is new, and much of the added area has tended to favor Democrats.

The shift has created a diverse group of constituents - ardent liberals, staunch conservatives, older voters and immigrants new to the area. The district covers blue-collar homes, as well as affluent ones.

"It's just a very interesting district," Sifton said. "It really is a microcosm of the St. Louis region with very diverse viewpoints. I think that's good."

Both he and Lembke have been trying to strike the right balance to attract a broad base.

"I want to talk to all of the voters," Lembke said.

While canvassing a Webster Groves neighborhood recently, several homeowners assured Sifton: "You're the Democrat, I'm voting for you."

At one home, Sifton - a former Affton School Board member serving his first term in the state House - touted efforts to keep taxes low in the district.

"That's good, but it's not the most important thing," the homeowner replied before telling Sifton that education is important enough to justify a tax increase if needed.

Lembke has pledged never to support a tax hike, but he said he has also run into people who wouldn't oppose increases.

"They said, 'Raise my taxes,'" Lembke said of some opinions in new parts of his district. "It was the first time I had ever heard that while campaigning."

Lembke is finishing his first term in the Legislature's upper chamber and will be term-limited if he wins his re-election bid on Nov. 6. He frequently mentions that to voters as he's campaigning door-to-door - a sort-of guarantee that he won't overstay his welcome.

With his frequent blunt remarks and propensity to verbally spar on the Senate floor, the conservative Republican from south St. Louis County has built a name for himself in Jefferson City over the past 10 years. In his district he says he has more than 80 percent name recognition, and residents often recognize him when he comes to their doors.

OUTSIDE INFLUENCE

Looking to shift favor from the incumbent, the lesser-known Sifton has criticized Lembke for taking gifts from lobbyists while serving as a lawmaker.

"Is he there to make policy or is he there to help Jim Lembke?" Sifton said.

Sifton said he would move to prohibit lawmakers from accepting such gifts if elected.

State lobbying records show Lembke accepted more than $7,300 in lobbyist-reported gifts last year. Among them were several meals at the Jefferson City Country Club, golf fees and cigars. As of August - the most recent data available, Lembke has accepted more than $1,300 in gifts this year, including four bottles of wine totaling $63.86.

"We're talking about filet mignon at the country club," Sifton said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Politically Diverse District May Play Well with Both Candidates; State Rep. Sifton Challenges Incumbent Sen. Lembke; ELECTIONS 2012: 1st Missouri Senate District
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?