ST. LOUIS -- State Rep. Harry Kennedy won a special election Tuesday and kept an area state Senate seat in Democratic hands, dashing a Republic lawyer's latest bid for a first term in Jefferson City, according to complete, unofficial results.
Kennedy, a 49-year-old St. Louisan, got 7,707 votes, or 68 percent of 11,327 ballots, for the 3rd District seat vacated by longtime Democratic Sen. John Scott, who resigned in October.
Matt Hoffman, a 32-year-old Republican, collected 3,283 votes, or 29 percent. Bob McFall, a 72-year-old retired biology teacher and women's sports coach representing the Green Party, finished a distant third with 337 votes, or 3 percent.
All sought the right to serve the final three years of Scott's four-year term in the district that includes part of the city of St. Louis as well as all or portions of St. Louis suburbs Shrewsbury, Webster Groves, Affton, Richmond Heights, Maplewood and Marlborough.
When Kennedy is sworn into office, Republicans will hold an 18-15 majority in the 34-member Senate with one vacancy. Another seat was vacated last month when Sen. Paula Carter, D-St. Louis, died after a long battle with cancer. That election is set for February.
Despite losing St. Louis County by just 15 votes -- 1,307 for Hoffman to Kennedy's 1,292 -- Kennedy carried the St. Louis city precincts, 6,415 to 1,976. McFall got 232 votes in the city.
Kennedy, a real estate agent who has served in the House since 1996, has focused on several issues affecting the elderly, including controlling high interest loans and ensuring affordable health care. He also backs better funding for education and, in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, tougher anti-terrorism legislation.
Hoffman, who unsuccessfully ran for the state House in 1996 and the St. Louis board of alderman three years later, had focused on senior issues ranging from a freeze on property assessments to a better way to administer prescription drug programs.