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    St. Louis women’s caucus rescinds political endorsements after pushback | Politics

    CLAYTON — The local chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus said Tuesday it is rescinding its preliminary list of 2022 candidate endorsements after getting objections, including to its support for Jane Dueker, a candidate for St. Louis County executive. 

    Dueker, a longtime lobbyist and police union attorney running in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary against incumbent County Executive Sam Page, on May 19 posted a tweet touting the endorsement from the caucus, a nonpartisan organization founded in 1971 to recruit and support women candidates for office and advocate for women’s reproductive freedom. 

    A day earlier, Dueker was among women candidates who won support at an open caucus meeting.

    But the endorsement of Dueker, an outspoken opponent of Page and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, prompted blowback from some local Democrats and progressives who questioned how the endorsement list was selected. 

    And two officials, Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum and Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, later announced they were rejecting their own endorsements from the group. 

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    By Tuesday, the Women’s Caucus announced it was rescinding Dueker’s endorsement in a Facebook post by Helena Webb, vice president of endorsements. 

    Jaelith Judy, communications director, said the organization’s “Policy Council was able to confirm that (Dueker) had made some statements in the past that were not in keeping with the values of the organization,” but did not have more details, pending a formal statement. 

    Then the organization announced it was rescinding all endorsements and would restart the process after receiving objections “to more than one candidate,” and the Facebook post was updated to reflect the new decision. 

    “Several members of our Caucus reached out to us with objections about more than one candidate who was up for endorsement this year,” the caucus said in a statement. “Our current guidelines and questionnaire did not give us a clear roadmap for how to address those concerns.

    “In hindsight, we realize that our endorsement process has not been updated as the organization has grown. For this reason, we find it necessary to rescind all endorsements for 2022 while we re-examine and revise our endorsement process and by-laws.”

    Helena Webb, vice president of endorsements, said in an interview that she announced the caucus would rescind Dueker’s endorsement Tuesday morning because “she was the topic of the social media activity, and I used social media at the time to address it.” 

    “But for us to remove one person for complaints when other people have received them as well would be ethically problematic,” Webb said. “Really the best thing to do is pause and reset — we will invite each candidate, including Dueker, to apply for endorsement again once we have our endorsement process set out.”

    Webb declined to release more details or name other candidates about whom they’d received objections.

    Dueker was among 30 women candidates who attended the May 18 meeting with about 50 members, Webb said. Each candidate received at least 50% support after filling out an application and giving a brief presentation.  

    Webb added that the caucus’ leadership had considered revising the process for some time because the current application process includes mostly “yes or no questions.” 

    Dueker said she had received no communication from the caucus about objections to her endorsement and accused the newspaper of “singling her out.” 

    “I think this is really unfair,” she said. “Nothing has been shared with me. All I know is they’re rescinding all endorsements.” 

    And she accused Appelbaum and Clancy of working to undo her endorsement just because of their support for Page, claiming support from other caucus members who oppose Page. 

    Appelbaum is a former treasurer of Page’s campaign; Clancy is one of three Page allies on the seven-member County Council. 

    “He got a former treasurer of his campaign and his biggest ally on the council to lodge objections and to rescind their endorsements,” Dueker said. “It’s desperate and it’s sad.”

    Appelbaum denied Tuesday that her tweet on May 21 was aimed at Dueker, saying the caucus’ endorsement process allowed for a woman candidate to uncritically win support over male incumbents who are better pro-choice candidates.

    “I was taken aback by the fact that our progressive organization would discount our pro-choice men who are already elected officials and pro-choice activists who dedicated their time and volunteer to help our pro-choice causes,” she said. 

    Clancy, however, confirmed Tuesday that her objection was to specifically aimed at Dueker. She shared an email she sent to the caucus Saturday that criticized Dueker as opposing police reform and using personal attacks on political opponents. 

    Dueker has referred to Clancy on Twitter with names like “#KarenKlanKlancy.” 

    “It doesn’t send the right message to my voters to accept an endorsement alongside the endorsement of someone who has consistently done harm, especially around the issues of police fairness and accountability, and who engages in vicious name calling and personal attacks when there is a policy disagreement,” Clancy wrote.  



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