Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mayoral Candidates Covet the Undecideds Mayoral Candidates Romance Central Corridor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mayoral Candidates Covet the Undecideds Mayoral Candidates Romance Central Corridor

Article excerpt

Psychiatrist John Sweet is a hot commodity, as far as St. Louis' mayoral candidates are concerned.

Sweet, 54, is an undecided voter who lives in the city's central corridor.

The central corridor, home to about 15 percent of St. Louis' registered voters, historically has been the tie-breaker in citywide contests. That may be true again in the Democratic mayoral primary on March 4. Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. is counting on winning the North Side, and former Police Chief Clarence Harmon is hoping for solid support on the South Side. Both candidates are spending a lot of time and money to woo voters like Sweet who reside in the decisive middle of the city. Bosley, who won in 1993 with the help of the central corridor, says its 12,000 to 15,000 regular voters "will play a major role" in determining whether he stays in office. Harmon goes even further. The corridor, he said, "will decide this election." Their commitment goes beyond talk. Both candidates' campaign headquarters are on corridor turf. The city's central corridor runs roughly between Delmar Boulevard and U.S. Highway 40, dipping down to Interstate 44 east of Grand Boulevard. It takes in the 6th, 7th, 17th and 28th wards and parts of several others. About 30,000 of the city's 193,000 registered voters live in the central corridor; about half have turned out in past elections. Many of the city's most historic neighborhoods, including Lafayette Square, Midtown and the Central West End, fall within the corridor's boundaries. So do several key institutions: St. Louis University, Washington University Medical School and most of the city's hospitals. The last census, in 1990, showed an almost even black-white split in the 7th and the 17th wards. The 6th Ward was 59 percent black while the 28th Ward was 68 percent white. So far, all the ward endorsements from the central corridor have gone Harmon's way. That doesn't bother Bosley. He notes that most of those Democratic ward groups didn't favor him in 1993. Even so, he won the most votes in each of the four wards. Another Kind Of Place In makeup, politics and atmosphere, the central corridor differs dramatically from the rest of the city. It's more racially diverse, politically more liberal and, as Bosley puts it, "probably the most cosmopolitan area we've got. …

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