ST. LOUIS — U.S. Rep. Cori Bush rolled to a big win Tuesday over state Sen. Steve Roberts in a hard-fought battle for the Democratic nomination for the 1st District U.S. House seat.
Bush, the Ferguson activist who became Missouri’s first Black female congresswoman in 2020, took almost 70% of the vote, according to final unofficial returns. Roberts, an attorney, had only about 27%. Trailing were three other candidates.
Those results were from all precincts reporting in St. Louis and St. Louis County.
Bush, 46, of St. Louis, was seeking her second term after upsetting longtime U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay in the primary two years ago. Roberts, 34, also of St. Louis, was attempting to move up the political ladder after serving six years in the state Legislature.
The district includes St. Louis and much of the northern half of St. Louis County.
People are also reading…
Bush’s big lead in partial returns fueled a celebratory mood at her campaign watch event Tuesday night at the House of Soul, a night spot on Washington Avenue downtown.
Bush entered at about 8:45 p.m. to standing applause and people chanting her name.
“St. Louis and I rise once again to accept the Democratic nomination and continue our service,” Bush said later in the evening after it became apparent she had won.
Bush had campaigned as an uncompromising progressive as likely to make her case in the streets as at the negotiating table.
Roberts, who argued that he could get more done in the U.S. Capitol than a protest leader, described himself as a more “reasonable” progressive.
Bush’s campaign highlighted her votes to bring $1 billion in stimulus money to the region and more than $9 million in earmarks for organizations working on issues such as homelessness, gun violence and health care access.
She touted her protest on the Capitol steps last summer that helped spur President Joe Biden to extend a nationwide ban on evictions before it was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
She also emphasized her background as a single parent who coped with money problems and at one point slept in her car, saying Congress “should have people who come from our communities” and “lived our struggles.”
Roberts, whose father and uncle were city aldermen and mayoral candidates, argued that Bush’s actions in Congress didn’t help her local constituents.
He hit Bush for voting against Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and said her calls to “defund the police” were out of touch with a district with a crime problem.
Roberts questioned her support for Boeing, one of the region’s largest employers, after she didn’t sign on to a bipartisan letter calling for more St. Louis-made Super Hornet fighter jets.
And he criticized Bush’s vote against a ban on fuel imports from Russia amid its war against Ukraine, saying she was choosing “a dictator over democracy.”
She said she also wanted more federal money for public housing, renewable energy and child care, not just roads and bridges. She didn’t think a ban on Russian fuel would do much to resolve the conflict and said defunding police means cutting military-style weapons and equipment, not 911 or cops on the beat.
And on Boeing, she said she wanted more money for people and less for defense executives.
Bush has also hit back against Roberts, citing allegations of sexual assault made against him in recent years by two women. Roberts has denied the allegations; no criminal charges were filed in either case and a civil suit by one of the women was settled for $100,000.
The Democratic primary winner will be a heavy favorite to win in the November general election over the Republican nominee in the solidly Democratic district.
Andrew Jones, 61, a utility executive and unsuccessful St. Louis mayoral candidate, won the GOP primary. Also in the GOP race were Steven Jordan and Laura Mitchell-Riley.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, and state Rep. Trish Gunby, D-west St. Louis County, won their races for nominations in the 2nd District.
The district includes west and south St. Louis County as well as parts of Warren and Franklin counties.
Wagner, a 10-year incumbent, defeated Paul Berry III of Maryland Heights, Tony Salvatore, a former Wildwood councilman, and Wesley Smith of Affton. Gunby was opposed by Ray Reed of Richmond Heights.