Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Democrat Takes Seat from Gop in House Barry Narrowly Wins Special Election Race

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Democrat Takes Seat from Gop in House Barry Narrowly Wins Special Election Race

Article excerpt

For the first time since Mel Carnahan became governor, Democrats on Tuesday took away a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives from Republicans in a special election.

Joan Barry, the Democratic committeewoman of Oakville Township, defeated Republican John S. Mikolay and Libertarian Bradley Ems in the 100th District in the Oakville area in south St. Louis County. The vote was 3,135 for Barry, 3,120 for Mikolay and 79 for Ems in an unusually high turnout for a special election.

Barry succeeds Rep. M. Zane Yates, R-Oakville, who resigned to become a commissioner on the St. Louis County Family Court. Barry will serve until January.

Yates had been the Republican assistant minority floor leader. Barry's husband represented the district for 18 years before resigning to take a state job.

Barry's victory Tuesday broke a string of stinging defeats for Democrats in the St. Louis area in special House elections dating back to 1993. In that time, the Democrats lost three seats in what had been consid ered strongholds in north St. Louis County and northern Jefferson County. Republicans continue to hold them.

Democrats were ebulliant about their victory. A Republican spokesman was angry.

"Gee, we're on a roll," said Judi Roman, spokeswoman for the House Democratic Campaign Committee, in a telephone interview from the victory party at Andre's Banquet Hall in Oakville.

The defeat "will have no impact," said Darryl Duwe, a spokesman for the state Republican party. "It means that we will have to pick up one more seat in November."

He was referring to the party's effort to win control of the House. He said Barry will be watched closely in Jefferson City and her seat will be a Republican target in November. If Barry wants to serve a full two-year t erm beginning in January, she must win the primary in August and the general election in November. …

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