First Congressional District
So it’s not just a social construct?
Black voters powered Lacy Clay’s victory
William Lacy Clay trounced fellow Democrat Russ Carnahan with more than 90 percent of the vote in some north St. Louis wards, and beat him more than 2-to-1 in north St. Louis County, data from Tuesday’s congressional primary show.
Clay and Carnahan, two sitting congressmen, battled it out for the new 1st Congressional District, St. Louis’ one remaining U.S. House seat. City figures show that Clay, who is black, won the primary by dominating in largely African-American areas of St. Louis. Carnahan, who is white, drew the bulk of his support from more predominantly white wards on the south and west sides.
There were some exceptions to the larger pattern. Clay did well in upscale, mixed-race areas of the city like the Central West End. And even in the most predominantly white city wards on the south side, Carnahan never broke 78 percent.
But overall, the numbers confirm what was increasingly evident during the campaign: Race mattered.
By the time the crowd gathered at St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation on the near north side Tuesday for Clay’s election-night party, all pretense of a colorblind congressional primary had been pretty much abandoned by his supporters.
“He’s a brother. He has good ideas,” said Walter Grace, 67, a retired teacher of black history, who gathered with about 150 other Clay supporters, most of them African-American.
Carnahan’s political family — including his father, the late Gov. Mel Carnahan — has long been allied with black city Democrats. Carnahan’s decision to run against Clay this year created resentment and strained that biracial coalition, judging from the comments of others at Clay’s gathering Tuesday.
“The Carnahans are like family,” said Floyd Blackwell, an African-American alderman in Cool Valley. “When family attacks you, it hurts worse. It’s like burning a bridge in the black community.
Maurice Jones, 57, of north city’s Penrose neighborhood, said he viewed Clay as the most important African-American elected official in the state. “For the black people, so we can have a voice, as blacks,” he said. “We need to hold on to what we have.”
We also have white liberals getting their comeuppance in the same article.
The reason Carnahan “never broke 78%” in the whitest ward in St. Louis City is that even the whitest ward in the city has a noticeable number of blacks.