This past Friday, Bruce Franks, Jr. defeated Penny Hubbard for the 78th District Missouri State Representative seat. The victory was hard fought, and not in the way that all political victories are hard fought. Just 84 votes separated Franks and Hubbard in their August 2nd contest, which saw 4,296 votes counted. That result was immediately challenged. The focus was on the acquisition and delivery of absentee ballots. The August election counted 416 for Hubbard, 114 for Franks.
The margin of victory for Franks September 16 was nothing less than huge: 2,234 (76%) to 701 (24%). The turnaround margin speaks loudly. What, exactly, it says isn’t perfectly clear. The tempting conclusion is that with so much attention on the contest, the Hubbard political machine couldn’t game the system as it has in the past, that the September result is the “true” result. It could speak to the base enthusiasm of the candidate’s supporters. Though it would seem both would have been able to get their voters to the polls, that didn’t happen.
It’s more than interesting that with no other issue on the ballot in the special election, Franks was able to garner 128 more votes than in August. Hubbard totaled 1,489 fewer votes. Her supporters either sat this one out, or she never really had supporters. Of absentee votes cast, Hubbard received 58% instead of the 73% in August.
So what’s next? Penny Hubbard’s daughter Tammika is currently the 5th Ward Alderwoman in the City of St. Louis. Elected with 409 votes in a 2011 special election, Hubbard was re-elected in 2013 with 713 (55%) votes in the primary. She will be up for re-election next year. Will a challenger emerge for the ward that will likely wield out-sized influence in city development as the $1.7B National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) project kicks off? Will someone make the NorthSide Redevelopment project an issue?
Bruce Franks Jr. Beats Penny Hubbard in Special Election Landslide – The Riverfront Times
‘Thundering victory’ for Bruce Franks Jr. over Hubbard in special election – St. Louis American
Video–Bruce Franks victory speech – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Bruce Franks Jr. wins special election – KSDK
Bruce Franks wins ‘do-over’ election in St. Louis – Fox2Now
Franks easily defeats Hubbard in special election – The Missouri Times
The Riverfront Times has covered Franks in-depth:
To Save Black Lives, Protester Bruce Franks Will Do the Unthinkable: Work with Cops
FBI, Secretary of State Asking Questions About St. Louis Statehouse Race
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been very vocal in its coverage of the 78th District contest:
P-D investigation reveals multiple problems with absentee voting
Messenger: The check that never made it to Hubbards raises questions
What’s at stake in Hubbard-Franks do-over election
More problems reported in disputed election for 78th District in St. Louis
Editorial: Post-Dispatch endorses Bruce Franks Jr. in 78th District vote
And finally, the story of absentee ballots may not be over:
Another race won by a Hubbard in St. Louis challenged; absentee ballots again questioned