ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A Democrat who is challenging a powerful Democratic family in St. Louis City politics is asking a judge to order a new election. Challenger Bruce Franks is charging State Rep. Penny Hubbard and her campaign coordinated an effort to submit unlawful absentee ballots to win their race for the party nomination for the 78th Missouri House District.
Franks won the vote at the polls but lost the race once the absentee ballots were counted by 90 votes.
St. Louis City Circuit Judge Rex Burlison is hearing the case. The St. Louis City Election Board has asked the judge to make a ruling by Tuesday morning so staff would have time to prepare and hold a new primary election if one is ordered by the court.
The Democratic nominee must be selected six weeks before the November general election so ballots can be printed.
Franks attorney, David Roland, attempted to show a pattern of unusually high absentee ballot voting in the city’s fifth ward where Hubbard lives during the August 2 primary election and in previous election when a member of the Hubbard family was on the ballot.
Rep. Hubbard is represented by attorney Jane Dueker. Dueker asked Judge Burlison to dismiss the case, but he refused. She then argued Franks failed to exercise his right to challenge the votes when they were opened on election night.
The case is being watched closely by election officials in the region and residents of the 78th district which stretches from the Carr Square neighborhood north of downtown to the Lafayette and Benton Park neighborhoods and Cherokee Street in south city.