After the polls closed, the waiting began
After the polls closed, campaign workers and candidates' supporters gathered to await the voters' verdict. Here are scenes from what every candidate hopes will be a victory party.
11 p.m., St. Louis
When asked whether she would stay involved in politics after her failed attempt to get a Democratic nomination for the 5th state Senate district, Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford said, "I will probably always stay involved in public policy — it's the deep love of my life. I don't know what way I'll do that but I imagine I'll be an advocate for the same issues that I've always been working on."
She said she's proud of the diversity of support she enjoyed, in terms of age, race, sexual orientation and economic status, and of the fact that of 433 recent donations, 77 percent were less than $100, demonstrating a grassroots support. "We actually had real citizens who invested in this campaign, not just lobbyists and special interests."
The Novaks crowd, which had been vibrant and celebratory in the early evening, quickly thinned after the announcement of that Jamilah Nasheed had won. By 11 p.m., American flags hung above an empty bar and dance floor.
10:29 p.m., St. Charles
The chilly banquet room at The Columns in St. Charles grew warmer after 10 as supporters of Todd Akin crowded around the empty podium waiting for the winner of the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.
“We want Todd,” they chanted. “We want Todd.” Akin’s son and campaign manager Perry Akin told the crowd that Akin was waiting until fellow candidate John Brunner called with his concession.
9:52 p.m., St. Louis
The atmosphere becomes more subdued as Tishaura Jones loses the lead in the race for treasurer to Fred Wessels by 225 votes. Many guests have pulled out their phones to check the numbers. Jones' father and campaign manager Virvus Jones looks nervous as he keeps constant watch on the numbers.
As Jones retakes the lead with 32.5 percent of the votes, she jumps up and down in excitement and relief.
Her father announces the lead, and the guests react with applause and cheers. "It's getting close," her father said, "too close for me."
9:42 p.m., St. Louis
Waiting for election results at Fred Wessels' election party tonight are two old friends, both hoping St. Louis sees what they see in the city treasurer candidate.
After working with Wessels in the city hospital in the 1970s, Patti Wanko and Georgetta Vann have both been working on Wessels' campaign.
"I read the newspaper, and I learned about the treasurer's office and I saw the trouble it was in," Wanko said. "And then I found out he was running so I called him up and said, 'What can I do to help?'"
Wanko ended up working the polls today and writing letters in support of Wessels.
"He's just a good, good honest person and I think he'll clean it up," she said.
Vann, an African-American voter, echoed Wanko's opinion of the candidate. She spent Saturday campaigning with Wessels, reaching out to other black voters.
"Regardless of Tishaura or whoever was running — they're people of my color — I'm not voting for them," she said. "I'm voting for him because I know who he is, the person he is, what he stands for, how hard he really works."
Both women said Wessels is the person willing to reform the treasurer's office. With less than half of precincts reporting, they'll keep hoping for results in his favor.
"Oh, I really hope he wins," Wanko said.
9:41 p.m., Clayton
Early results showing John Brunner trailing fellow Republicans Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman have not dampened spirits among Brunner's supporters at Clayton's Sheraton Plaza hotel. Though they may be more attentive to the television news feeds being pumped into the room, an animated crowd has remained so, sipping cocktails and making hopeful conversation.
"It's still early. The game is still on. You don't know where the votes have been coming from yet. Have they counted absentee ballots? What about cross-votes?" said Paul Belmont, a St. Louis businessman whose daughter was a classmate of Brunner's daughter. Belmont said Brunner is the best equipped candidate to boost Missouri's struggling economy. Whether that business sense will be enough to push the candidate past his Republican rivals remains to be seen.
The announcement that Missouri gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence would represent Republicans in their attempt to unseat Gov. Jay Nixon caused some excitement here, but Brunner's backers know the night is still young for them.
"It's going to be very close. I think Brunner's going to win," said Ernie Dempsey. "Todd just doesn't really have the name recognition outside of the area. Brunner didn't either, but he spent a lot of money to get it."
9:26 p.m., Frontenac
Overall primary turnout may have been low, but there was no shortage of people at the after-parties at the Frontenac Hilton Tuesday night.
The party for Dave Spence, now the Republican nominee for governor, was in full swing early here in the Clayton Ballroom, where by 9 p.m. about 250 supporters of Spence were assembled.
Though Spence’s campaign was projecting the election results as they came in, nobody seemed to be paying too much attention. Most of the action was near the back of the room, where the beer and wine flowed early and freely.
They had reason to celebrate. The governor’s race — unusually overshadowed this year by higher-profile contests like the lieutenant governor's race — was not close.
By 8:45 p.m., with 13 percent of the precincts reporting, Spence had cruised ahead, leading with a comfortable 59 percent of the vote. He was well ahead of Bill Randles, who was in second with 18 percent. And just before 9 p.m., the Associated Press called the race for Spence, who led with 58 percent of the vote with 19 percent of precincts reporting.
A newcomer to politics, Spence ran his campaign on the strength of his business experience. He purchased a plastic-packaging company, Alpha Packaging, in 1984, and increased its annual sales from $350,000 to $200 million by 2010, when he sold it to the a private equity company.
Spence will likely continue to stress his business experience in his race against his Democratic opponent, Gov. Jay Nixon.
8:57 p.m., St. Louis
Tishaura Jones, a candidate for city treasurer, seems confident as she greets each of her guests with an enthusiastic hello and friendly hug. The party, hosted at the Wine Press, is filled with around 45 people drinking wine and snacking on cheese and grapes while waiting to hear the election results.
Jones' campaign manager (and father) Virvus Jones announces the updated numbers, which receive cheers from the guests.
"So far so good," Tishaura Jones said. "We have a 35 percent lead, but I'm still cautiously optimistic."
William Luster, a friend of Jones, said he is confident she will win. "Elections are a tough thing," he said. "They are based on effort and qualifications for the job, and there is no better candidate, but it's up to the people."
Luster appreciated Jones' experience in financial services and in the legislature, adding that she has the ability to work with parties across the line.
8:56 p.m., Clayton
John Brunner is new blood. That's the word among the well-suited and cautiously optimistic crowd gathered at the Sheraton Plaza in Clayton. Clustered around cocktail tables and a well-stocked buffet, supporters waiting for poll numbers to trickle in say the important thing is that their man is different.
"I'm looking for some new blood, people that haven't been in the establishment, who will stick to their guns," said Jim Trotter. "I hope Brunner can be a staunch conservative. And when the votes come in, he'll work for my interests."
Gary Younge agreed. He said Brunner is the only Republican in the race who is not tied to special-interest groups. Coupled with Brunner's conservative credentials, Younge said that such political independence is a rarity.
"The more I saw, the more I listened to him the more, the more I felt our values were in sync," Younge said.
Brunner's red, white and blue banners hung from each of the room's four walls. Three feeds carrying Fox News were scattered around the periphery, with cocktail tables and media risers helping to shrink the already bustling room and add energy to an upbeat crowd.
Other supporters sipped cocktails and animatedly discussed the night ahead. Most were prepared for a tight race and a long night. Polls have shown Brunner with a narrow lead, but such good news must always be met with skepticism, supporters said.
"I'm a little nervous," said Danny Christian, a campaign volunteer and brother-in-law to Brunner's campaign manager. "I think he can do it, but... it'll be a long night."
8:55 p.m., St. Louis
The sound of rhythm and blues started early at the Lacy Clay election party at the Gateway Classic Foundation building west of downtown. Supporters mingled and enjoyed the music, along with plenty of food, punch and a cash bar.
Among those showing up early was Clay’s father, Bill Clay, dressed casually and sporting a black baseball cap. He said his son was off to a good start against Democratic opponent U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, who ran in the same district as Clay following redistricting.
The elder Clay said he was pleased that “the absentee ballots went for Lacy 2-to-1.”
The father said this was an indication “that Lacy is well respected across the city. He’s doing a good job. It shows that the negative campaigning by his opponent did not affect those who voted.”
Others seen in the crowd included political consultant Richard Callow; former city development director Barbara Geisman; and city Health Department Director Pamela Walker. Mayor Francis Slay, who supported young Clay in the Democratic primary, was expected to make an appearance later in the evening.
8:46 p.m., St. Charles
Todd Akin’s getting a few moments to prepare for the night after
starting this election day with the sun, voting in Wildwood, then
heading for a round-the-state tour.
Akin visited Springfield, Joplin and Kansas City before driving back
to St. Charles, says son and campaign manager Perry Akin.
“He’s gonna be tired,” he said as a banquet room at the Columns in St.
Charles filled with supporters as the Olympics played on a large
screen at the front of the room.
Akin spoke with his father today while he rode in the back seat of a
truck around the state working on his speech and said he met a
It’s a three-way race, Akin said, with candidates Sarah Steelman and
Akin expects Brunner to do well in Kansas City, where he spent more
money on advertisements, and thinks in the St. Louis metro, his father
“We’re optimistic,” Perry Akin said, “but a lot can change.”
6 p.m., St. Louis
An hour before the polls closed at 7 p.m., supporters of Rep. Lacy Clay were putting the finishing touches on their election night party at the Gateway Classic Sports Foundation, south of downtown. Dozens of tables, covered with white tableclothes and red, white and blue balloons, filled the gymnasium.
Among those helping to prepare for the event was the congressman's mother, Carol, dressed comfortably in a white T-shirt, slacks and running shoes. She said she'd been a "political wife" for all but 10 years of her marriage in 1953 to former U.S. Rep. Bill Clay Sr.
As for her presence in the gym, she said, "I do whatever they (the Clay campaign) say do." Asked about her son's chances of defeating fellow Democrat Rep. Russ Carnahan, she said, "We are always campaigning for tight races. You don't assume anything, except that you want to win."
This story was reported and written by Beacon reporters Kristen Hare and Robert Joiner and Beacon interns Josie Butler, Nick Fandos and Neel Thakkar.