For the first time in Ferguson, Mo.'s 120-year history, the City Council will have three African-American members, but yesterday’s election was less than a clear victory for the throngs of volunteers who poured into the city in a last-minute push to sway voters, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Perhaps the most significant development was that 30 percent of the city's 12,738 registered voters cast ballots — more than double the typical turnout.
The high turnout did not favor two candidates supported by protesters: Bob Hudgins and Lee Smith. Hudgins, a self-identified protester and independent journalist, lost to former Mayor Brian Fletcher, founder of the “I love Ferguson” campaign. Smith, a retiree, ran against Wesley Bell in the 3rd Ward. Bell is a municipal court judge in Velda City. Ferguson's population is 67 percent black, but as of Tuesday, just one of six council seats was held by an African-American. In the 1st Ward, Ella Jones, the other soon-to-be African-American council member, got nearly 50 percent of the vote in a four-way race. After the Michael Brown shooting, numerous protests, riots and federal investigations, the election featured eight candidates vying for three council seats, and it attracted the attention of media outlets from California to New York.