Hartmann: Sam Page is not the Democrat you think he is | hartman | Saint Louis
In 2008, then-state Rep. Sam Page unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor of Missouri. But the man who ran Page’s campaign would find some success as a familiar face in the St. Louis area.
His name is Jeff Roorda.
You may be familiar with Roorda’s work as St. Louis’ most harmful racial agitator for white people. It was he who wore the Rubber bracelet “I am Darren Wilson” supporting the police officer who killed Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson. Roorda would become a lightning rod for racial division during his miserable tenure as business director of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
But until this year, Roorda was a Democrat. He and Page were friends and colleagues on the Democratic side of the Missouri House aisle when they served together from 2004 to 2008. Page’s campaign finance reports list payments to Roorda for campaign management.
Roorda won elections four times as a Democrat for her State House seat representing Imperial, Missouri. He lost it once in 2010 to Republican Paul Wieland, who beat him again in 2014 in a state Senate race. This year, Roorda switched parties to run as a Republican in the state Senate. He lost a primary race that many thought he would win. Then he lost his job in the city.
Personally, I don’t think party labels are the ones that matter when Roorda is discussed. Suffice it to say, Sam Page’s former campaign manager is unlikely to be teaching critical race theory anytime soon.
Suddenly, however, party labels are everything for Page and his followers. In fact, it may be the only thing they want to discuss in his re-election campaign – such as it is – against businessman Mark Mantovani.
Mantovani had to execute at least one nominal party switch to run against Page on the Republican ticket for county executive. He was selected last month by Republicans after the party’s bizarre first choice, Katherine Pinner, stepped down, possibly to devote more time to hunting down the forces of evil implanting chips in our vaccines.
Mantovani twice ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for county executive, narrowly losing in 2018 to then county executive Steve Stenger and second to Page in a four-way field in 2020. He is now on the Republican ticket for work that has little to do with partisan issues (and would be non-partisan in most other similar jurisdictions).
Mantovani’s party switch would only matter if it meant he inexplicably transformed himself into a Trump-loving follower of the authoritarian forces that have plagued the GOP. In his past races, he looked more like a moderate independent or Republican than a Democrat, which didn’t matter to me.
If Mantonvani starts spitting out MAGA talking points, or if Eric Schmitt or Josh Hawley or Ann Wagner shows up to campaign for him, he’s dead to me. In fact, if Roorda comes campaigning for him, he’s dead to me.
But if Mantovani turns out to be the same guy he has been in the past – that is, passionate only about county governance issues, with little or no reference to national matters – then I don’t care. that he introduces himself as a Whig.
Especially since he opposes a guy who can’t even carry Democrats to his own county council.
There are four Democrats there. Two of them, County Council Speaker Rita Heard Days and Councilor Shalonda Webb, are black women with stellar resumes and a reputation for independence. Both qualities seem to threaten Page on a deep psychological level.
Days and Webb have occasionally formed an unlikely voting alliance with Republican advisers Tim Fitch and Mark Harder, usually over issues in which Page has failed to show honesty or accountability in running county government. Days and Webb also stuck together in calling out Page for repeatedly abusing North County and, in particular, its black residents.
Page maintained the support of advisers Kelli Dunaway and Lisa Clancy, both progressive white women. Clancy is the sister of Page’s most recent campaign manager, but not Roorda this time.
Of the three Republicans on the board, only Page’s close personal friend — right-wing adviser Ernie Trakas — frequently votes with Page. This may be because, under Page’s watch, the county spent $60,000 to pay a sexual harassment claim against Trakasthe self-proclaimed taxpayer watchdog.
The Page administration thus advanced the cause of “believe the man” which insists that the woman’s claims were totally fabricated and untrue. Like you do as a Democrat?
And Trakas wasn’t the only Republican official accused of harassment to be protected by Page. Who could forget another of Page’s good friends across the aisle, ghost auditor Mark Tucker, who appears to have been pulling county paychecks as an auditor for almost four years – in large partly thanks to Page — for completing at most six audits in three years and getting an F from state auditor Nicole Galloway, who, unlike Tucker, is a real auditor.
Tucker was the subject of multiple allegations of harassment, including that of a former Trakas staff member. But to borrow the language of the listener, who counts?
Yet Page’s not-so-Democratic record on sexual harassment pales in comparison to what he’s done on race. To be clear, Page never doctored Roorda’s incendiary rhetoric. Few people did.
But Page or his administration is charged in multiple racial discrimination lawsuits filed by county police officers. The most famous is that of Lt. Col. Troy Doyle, the black officer who was a near-consensus choice for police chief until – with Page’s direct involvement – he was oddly overlooked for a white candidate. , Mary Barton, which, if I may put it mildly for the year, didn’t do so well.
Then again, hardly any black people have performed so well at or near the top of the white-majority Page administration. Just say.
All of this presumably has nothing to do with Page being Roorda’s client in 2008. But it sent me a quick search online for “Page and Roorda” from the first decade of this century.
On June 29, 2008, the Springfield News Manager reported that Democrat Page had this shocking response to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the handgun ban in Washington, D.C. Except for Page, it was hailed as a triumph for pro-conservative Republicans -weapons.
“I fully support today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court upholding the right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms and striking down the District of Columbia’s law prohibiting possession of handguns” , Page said to gasps from every Democrat within earshot.
It was so outrageous that the opponent, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, attacked Page (who had earned an F from the NRA as a lawmaker) for “a stunning and transparent act of hypocrisy”. Even the NRA called Page out for claiming to support her.
There was another “not-so-democratic, not-so-great-hit” page that year. The Post-shipment on March 14, 2008, listed Page as one of 10 Democrats to join all Republicans in favor of a “hate” bill to bar illegal immigrants from state colleges.
“Hate-mongering” was the phrase Roorda used when he voted against the bill — along with 38 other Democrats, on the other side of Page. Now that’s a good one.
Surely there must be good reasons to vote for Page’s re-election. Maybe his administration got you or someone you care about a job or a contract in the county. Perhaps you are tired of seeing politicians on the airwaves and admire that he is a recluse when it comes to the media. Or even newer, you think he did a great job as county manager.
But voting for Sam Page because he’s a Democrat?
Are you kidding me.
Ray Hartmann founded the Riverside Time in 1977. Contact him at [email protected] or catch it on Donnybrook at 7 p.m. Thursdays on Nine Network and Saint-Louis in the know with Ray Hartmann from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday on KTRS (550 AM).