Democrats Vie in 66th District Dispute over Campaign Literature, Endorsements Sparks Race

By Phil Sutin Of The Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 29, 1996 | Go to article overview

Democrats Vie in 66th District Dispute over Campaign Literature, Endorsements Sparks Race


Phil Sutin Of The Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


A dispute over campaign literature has enlivened the race for the Democratic nomination in the 66th House District in St. Louis in the Aug. 6 primary.

James Dailey Wahl, Democratic committeeman of the 16th Ward, and a supporter of candidate Harry Kennedy, said that fellow candidate Gerald F. Beckerle is circulating a flier that misleads voters about endorsements. Mariano V. Favazza and Ernest Cann are in the race, but not the dispute.

Kennedy has the Democratic ward organization endorsements in all wards in the district except the 25th, which supports Beckerle. That ward's alderman, Paul Beckerle, is the brother of Gerald Beckerle.

Wahl objected to Beckerle's literature saying he is "endorsed and supported by Democrats" in the wards in the district.

Wahl circulated a flier that says "Don't be mislead." The flier declared "Only Harry Kennedy is endorsed and sponsored by the 16th Ward Regular Democratic Organization." Beckerle's name was not mentioned in the flier.

Wahl also complained to the state Ethics Commission and the St. Louis Election Board.

Beckerle said his material is accurate. It does not say that he has the support of ward organizations, he said.

"I am supported by many Democrats in the wards that I am running in," he said.

Three of the four candidates have been campaigning actively for some time. Cann said he is putting his effort into the last weeks when voters are likely to pay most attention.

The primary winner will face Ken Jones, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination. State Rep. Matt O'Neill, a Democrat who has held the seat for nearly 12 years, did not seek reelection.

The district includes part of St. Louis Hills. It reaches eastward to Ulena and Gustine avenues.

The St. Louis Police Board is an issue in the campaign. The candidates favor keeping the police department under state control through the Police Board. The governor appoints four of five board members.

Favazza proposed that the Legislature require the governor to appoint one member from each of three police superstation service areas. He said the definition of the territory might have to be adjusted to conform with the one-man, one-vote principle.

The change would ensure that all parts of the city are represented equally on the board, he said. "I don't want to have to rely on politics for that."

Beckerle and Kennedy said they agree that their area has not been well represented on the Police Board, but they said they are willing to work within the political system to make that happen.

Neighborhood stabilization is a major concern. Kennedy said the state should provide more help to neighborhood housing corporations and to encourage owner-occupied housing. The Legislature, he said, should allow neighbors of problem properties to sue irresponsible property owners in small claims court. …

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