ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – In a race that could be best described as David versus Goliath, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch suffered a stunning upset against reform-minded Wesley Bell.
McCulloch conceded defeat late Tuesday evening. Since Republicans did not hold a primary, Bell will be St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecuting attorney following the November general election.
At present, the 43-year-old Bell is serving his second term as councilman in the City of Ferguson but says he’s better suited for the prosecutor’s office, seeking to bring new ideas and bail reform for minor offenses. He points to his experience in negotiating the Ferguson consent decree and a program to clean the slate for people with outstanding warrants in Velda City.
McCulloch, a stalwart of law and order, was running for his eighth term as prosecuting attorney and had been in office for 27-years. He emphasized his office’s institution of drug courts and diversion programs for offenders, examining alternatives to cash bail, and reducing the numbers of people being held in jail.
This was McCulloch’s first primary challenge since a grand jury declined to indict a Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. Critics argued McCulloch’s handling of the investigation swayed the grand jury.