The organization representing firefighters in St. Louis County has decided to endorse Trish Gunby, a Democrat, in the special election for HD 99. Last year, the same organization supported Republican Jean Evans in her re-election bid.
A variety of police associations on the other hand — who backed Evans in 2018 — are with Lee Ann Pitman in the race to represent a portion of St. Louis County in the Missouri House.
Gov. Mike Parson called the special election for the district following the resignation of Evans, who was just months into her second term before she became the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.
In the 2018 general election, the district elected Evans, a Republican, to the House while simultaneously voting to side with Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, for U.S. Senate.
As the Nov. 5 election draws near, the different organizations in the district, state, and even nationally are weighing in.
Pitman has officially been endorsed by Eastern Missouri Coalition of Police – FOP Lodge 15, St. Louis County Police Association – FOP Lodge 111, and Missouri Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge. She also has the backing of Missouri Right to Life.
Gunby, in addition to the backing of left-leaning groups such as Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List, has the endorsement of a wide range of unions, including Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, United Steel Workers Local 11-6, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 513, and more.
It’s the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of Eastern Missouri IAFF Local 2665 that is backing a different party from last year.
“As a truly bi-partisan organization, the International Association of Fire Fighters takes very seriously our commitment to the citizens we protect, and our duty to evaluate each and every candidate and race individually on behalf of our membership,” Cory Hogan, the organization’s vice president, wrote to Gunby.
“You have shown that you will put Firefighters, Paramedics, Police and Dispatchers’ needs first,” he continued. “Your activism on issues such as voting rights, and your involvement in your local government and community has shown that you are willing to work to achieve a common good, regardless of political alignment.”
As of the July quarterly filings, Gunby had the bigger war chest. She had $44,162.98 in the bank while Pitman had $3,876.79 cash on hand. So far, Gunby racked in $62,917.75 in comparison to Pitman’s $5,651.00 in donations.
While the third quarter ended Oct. 1, filings are not due until Oct. 15.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.