I live within the 1st District in Missouri. It is not something that I am proud of. My Congressman is William “Lacy” Clay Jr. The reason he represents the 1st District is that his Father William “Bill” Clay Sr. held the seat for 32 years. This after 5 years as St. Louis Alderman, and holding various union jobs, including the powerful Pipefitters union… oh, not as a union worker but as a union official.
It is important to know this about the senior Clay, because that is the only qualification “Lacy” has to the seat.
“Lacy” has never really lived in the district he represents having grown up in Silver Springs Maryland, gone to college at the University of Maryland, College Park. Even while serving in the Missouri House of Representatives he studied at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Then he moved on to the State Senate, waiting for Daddy to retire, in 2000.
Clay is a 100% PC liberal that is just to the right of Maxine Waters and Dennis Kursinch. He also was an early supporter on The Messiah. In fact Clay is one of the few people in politics today that can make Obama look worldly and experienced.
Clay’s district has always been a tough urban one, low on income and education. His father grew up on those streets, learned to be a fighter on those streets. Lacy did neither, yet acts as though he did.
In this last election Clay received 242,570 out of 279,277 votes cast. The GOP did not run a candidate, Clay was opposed by a Libertarian Robb Cunningham, who pulled 36,700 votes… including mine.
If Clay got the seat because of his father, he holds it because of gerrymandering.
The St. Louis metro area is split by three of Missouri’s nine districts. The City of St. Louis, long a huge pool of Democratic strength is in turn split, north and south by the 1st and 3rd districts. The 3rd District now held by "Russ" Carnahan, son of the a former Missouri governor and Jean Carnahan, a former U.S. Senator. This is also Dick Gephardt’s old seat.
The problem for the Democrats is that the city is no longer that large pool of votes. Thus with each census, the 1st and the 3rd have had to fight over the city. This has led to compromise after compromise, while also pushing these two further out into the less safe territory of the suburbs. Also while fighting for those remaining Democratic voters they have also isolated more of the GOP voters into the 2nd district held by Todd Akin.
This takes us to 2010 and beyond to 2012… which should be interesting. The fight between the 1st and 3rd will go on… again the city is almost sure to lose more population, and these two will fight to keep as much of the city as they can. This will be made all the more interesting if Missouri losses a seat in the 2010 census. If there would be a clear cut ‘winner’ in this fight, the loser would be very vulnerable. Given a ‘good’ GOP year, and we could get one of them out. Although Carnahan might be the easier of the two to unseat Lacy would be the one we could hope for… given his total liberal dogma, and lack of both political skills and morals.
If Lacy were to win the re-districting fight… taking the whole of the City of St. Louis, this would push Carnahan further into southern Missouri… Jefferson and Ste Genevieve Countys. Not the best for him, but at least competitive. But were Clay to lose, that would push him out into either St Charles County to the west or into central St. Louis County (apart from the City of St. Louis… don’t ask) both areas being very Republican. A re-districting like that and Lacy would be in serious trouble.
The loss of a House seat in Missouri and all bets are off. While gerrymandering has allowed a unqualified unskilled pol like Lacy to hold on to this seat, it has also made his district an island in a red GOP sea.
Our best course would be to find a young, energetic candidate, maybe even one that could self finance… run them in 2010, just to get the name recognition, then be ready for the real fight in 2012.