Last edited: February 14, 2005

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
Fax 314-340-3139

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, it’s 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 he’d like to restrict the use of tax abatement "unless the business really needs it to survive," and he’d like to get rid of the state’s anti-sodomy laws. That latter stance is popular among some of the city’s gay-rights activists, who are increasingly becoming a powerful influence in city politics.

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