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Wesley Bell credits ‘grassroots effort’ for primary upset over McCulloch

CLAYTON, Mo. – Wesley Bell’s primary win over long-term incumbent Bob McCulloch in the race for St. Louis County prosecuting attorney was touted as one of the most stunning upsets in recent local politics.

With no Republican candidate in the November general election, the 43-year-old Bell should be a lock for the St. Louis County prosecutor's seat.

The newly-elected county prosecutor said he only got about an hour and a half sleep last night. He's been busy taking congratulations calls and giving media interviews.

Bell, a councilman in Ferguson, said he’ll move into the Clayton offices knowing that it was a true grassroots effort that got him support from throughout the county.

A very confident Bell said he always expected to win even though others didn't give him much of a chance. He said his message of reforming the justice system in St. Louis County resonated with more than a hundred thousand voters across the country. His campaign connected with voters by knocking on doors, making phone calls, mailing postcards, and reaching out on social media.

After his defeat Tuesday night, Bob McCulloch said he had no regrets about how he handled the Michael Brown case.

This was the first time McCulloch had faced a challenger since he was criticized for his handling of the grand jury investigation into the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. McCulloch announced that November the grand jury would not bring charges against Wilson, sparking weeks of civil unrest and protests throughout the city and county.

Does Bell think those protests played a part in his victory?

"I mean, it's hard to say because, you know, there's a hundred thousand people that came out and supported us," Bell said. "We know that Ferguson began an awareness of the need for criminal justice reform. We see this across the country. We ran out our issues. We ran on ideas."