UMSL Department of Political Science faculty members were in high demand by state and national media outlets for their expertise before and after the Aug. 7 elections in Missouri. (Photo by August Jennewein)
After serving as St. Louis County prosecuting attorney for the past 28 years, incumbent Bob McCulloch was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary by Wesley Bell on Aug. 7.
Bell, a second-term Ferguson city councilman, defeated McCulloch by more than 13 percentage points, a surprising margin. Media outlets called upon University of Missouri–St. Louis political scientists for insight into how Bell pulled off such a landslide over McCulloch, who hadn’t been seriously challenged for the post in a while.
Professor Emeritus of Political Science Terry Jones
“It’s difficult when you’ve not had a tough contest in a long time to gear back up again,” UMSL Professor Emeritus of Political Science Terry Jones told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Wesley Bell showed a tremendous ability to mobilize millennials and get them involved in the race, which enabled him to close much of the financial gap between himself and Bob McCulloch.”
UMSL Professor of Political Science David Kimball also pointed to the shooting of Michael Brown and its aftermath as reasons why Bell was able to garner significant support. A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed the 18-year-old Brown in 2014, and many protestors tied McCulloch to that decision.
Professor of Political Science David Kimball
“I think the Ferguson events certainly had something to do with this,” Kimball told the Associated Press, in a story that was picked up by ABC News. “Certainly, that case got a lot of attention and generated a lot of criticism of McCulloch, so I’ve got to believe that was a factor.”
Media outlets sought the expertise of UMSL political scientists on a number …