Judge denies Broadnax's bid to get back on ballot against O'Mara
A St. County Judge quashed Leslie Broadnax’s bid to get back on the August ballot against St. Louis County Councilman Michael O’Mara.
Broadnax – an attorney who also serves as the chairwoman of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization – filed in February to run against O’Mara, a Florissant Democrat began his tenure as the council’s chairman earlier this year. But a redistricted county council map handed down by a federal judge placed her residence just outside of the 4th District.
St. Louis County Board of Elections Director Rita Days subsequently knocked Broadnax off the ballot, noting that the St. Louis County Charter states that a council member shall “be a qualified voter and resident in his district for at least one year preceding his nomination, and shall continue to reside therein during his incumbency except as otherwise provided in this charter.” Broadnax sued, arguing among other things that Days lacked the authority to disqualify her candidacy.
But in a five-page order, St. Louis County Circuit Judge Thea Sherry wrote that Days “had a responsibility to determine the qualification of a candidate set forth in [state statutes],” and that the Board of Elections was “ordered to comply with the reapportionment order beginning with the 2012 election.”
Broadnax, Sherry wrote, is not “qualified to be a candidate for County Council in the 4th District in the election to be held on August 7, 2012.”
“Although Broadnax has been a registered voter and a resident of the county for at least one year before the election pursuant to [state statutes], she is not a resident of the ‘committee district for which she filed her candidacy,’” Sherry wrote.
In a telephone interview, Broadnax said she wasn’t sure if she would appeal the decision. She noted that she’s running unopposed for Democratic Committeewoman in St. Ferdinand Township, a post which she said she could use to influence policy.
“It’s just part of the old adage ‘if you can’t beat them, join them,’” Broadnax said of the committeewoman position. “I will eventually be in a spot where I would like to be, despite the best efforts to prevent me from it. So I just look at it as being deferred, but not denied.”
She added that she would consider running in either the 1st District – a seat currently held by Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City – in 2014 or moving to the 4th District before the 2016 election.
(Start of update) Broadnax said on Tuesday that while she wouldn't rule out running the 1st District, she won't run against Erby. She said she considers Erby a friend. (End of update)
Broadnax was represented by Elbert Walton, Jr., an attorney who is representing Sen. Robin Wright-Jones in a case involving state Rep. Jamilah Nasheed’s residency. Walton had argued that since Nasheed doesn’t live in the 5th Senatorial District, then she can’t run in a Democratic primary against Wright-Jones. Nasheed is arguing that since part of the current 4th was shifted into the new 5th, she can run in the 5th.
The difference is that while Nasheed’s residence was in the 4th Senatorial District before redistricting, Broadnax previously lived in the council’s 4th District before she was drawn into the 1st District.