Low Turnout In City Primary May Be A Plus For Bill Haas (excerpt)
Post-Dispatch, July 27, 1998
900 N. Tucker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63101
By Jo Mannies
Unofficial turnout estimates by area election officials are in the 20 percent range - a
dramatic drop from six years ago, when almost half of Missouri voters showed up in August
to cast primary ballots. (The number of primary voters who cast ballots in 1992 set a
state record.) City residents will elect a new state senator, 13 state representatives and
four citywide officials: recorder of deeds, license collector, circuit clerk and collector
of revenue. Low turnouts make opinion polls meaningless. In simple terms, its who
turns out. Victory often goes to the candidate who is most successful in getting his or
her supporters to the voting booths - or whose name seems most familiar.
"And in a low turnout election," said city Recorder of Deeds Sharon
Carpenter, "anything can happen."
Like perhaps a victory by Bill Haas, a colorful and controversial city School Board
member who is running for state representative in the 64th District, an area that takes in
much of St. Louis Central West End. Haas, 53, ran for many city offices - including
mayor - over the last 16 years, before scoring his first victory last year to gain a seat
on the School Board.
...On a more serious note, Haas said hed like to restrict the use of tax
abatement "unless the business really needs it to survive," and hed like
to get rid of the states anti-sodomy laws. That latter stance is popular among some
of the citys gay-rights activists, who are increasingly becoming a powerful
influence in city politics.
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