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PARTISAN INJECTION: Unwelcome intruder invades CoMo's 5th Ward City Council race

Democrats, Republicans, and partisanship horn in on a setting cherished for non-partisan elections

COLUMBIA, 12/13/12 (Beat Byte) --
Before she left town, Helen Anthony set off a firestorm that could rage for weeks.

With an honest comment about her governing philosophy, the former 5th Ward Columbia City Councilwoman injected political partisanship into a public service platform cherished for its lack of party affiliations -- the Columbia City Council.

"Anthony, who describes herself as a liberal Democrat, said it would be naive to assume that council members do not view local issues through a partisan prism. 'The people you put on the council are going to have that underlying set of values in every decision they make," she told the Columbia Daily Tribune.
 
KFRU Sunday Morning Roundtable discussants decried the revelation.

"I don't think it was appropriate for Mrs. Anthony to say she was governing as a Democrat," Roundtable host Al Germond said. His co-hosts quickly mused that before long, non-partisan Columbia City Council races would go the way of the Boone County Commission, with candidates running under D, R, and other partisan labels.
 
They may have a point.  Local media have been casting the three candidates vying to replace Anthony in partisan terms ever since.

Mark Jones
is a "former Democratic strategist," the Tribune explained, in an article that said nothing about his plans for City Hall, instead covering his opposition to conservative statewide political causes -- and his "bipartisan" endorsements.

"Jones not only touted endorsements from local Democrats such as state Rep. Stephen Webber, former state Rep. Judy Baker and Boone County Treasurer Nicole Galloway, but also from Republicans such as state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia and state Rep. Caleb Jones of California."

Why endorsements from partisan statehouse types should matter in a non-partisan City Council election is never explained. 

Although Laura Nauser served two terms -- six years -- as 5th Ward Councilwoman, the Trib barely mentions that tenure in a story about her re-entry into city politics, instead focusing on her Republican resume.

"In 2010, she ran as a Republican challenger for the Missouri House of Representatives against Columbia Democrat Chris Kelly...Nauser serves as president of the Boone County Federated Republican Women."  The article also returns to Jones, ending on this note:  "Jones touted endorsements from both Democratic and Republican local officials in announcing his campaign."

Tootie Burns, the 5th Ward campaign's third candidate, isn't free from partisanship either. She and Jones "have local Democratic ties, but they both believe they can differentiate themselves in the non partisan race," the Trib announced Wednesday.

The article uses the words Democrat, Democratic, and Republican eight times, predicting that Burns and Jones will compete for support from Democrats; and that Nauser -- the Republican -- will have supporters of a different political stripe.

"Citing his bipartisan endorsements, Jones said..." the article explains.    But again -- why are bipartisan endorsements even mentioned -- let alone touted repeatedly -- in a non-partisan election?


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