Missouri 3rd District
Middle America, it could be said, lies somewhere on the south side of metropolitan St. Louis. The geographical center of the country’s population was here in 1980, just south of St. Louis in Jefferson County. While that point has moved further southwest, St. Louis is still the metro area nearest the demographic midpoint of the country. Geographically, this is a node where some of the nation’s main arteries come together. The Missouri River flows into the Mississippi a few miles north of St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. The National Road and its successors, U.S. 40 and Interstate 70, cross the Mississippi just below the Arch. And the great tides of Southerners migrating west up the Mississippi and of Germans migrating overland met here to create one of the nation’s largest and most bustling cities. The south side of St. Louis is famous for its pleasant parks and tight-knit, neat neighborhoods, including “Little Bosnia” in the Bevo Mill section. Its most famous symbols are the Anheuser-Busch brewery south of downtown and Grant’s Farm, where Ulysses S. Grant lived in the 1850s and where Anheuser-Busch bred the Budweiser Clydesdales. But many more people now live in the suburbs. In St. Louis County and south St. Louis, the Catholic Church has closed more than 20 parishes and eight schools since 1970, and the number of registered parishioners has dropped by half, while suburban parishes have grown.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 3rd Congressional District of Missouri consists of the south side of St. Louis, part of suburban St. Louis County and, to the south, Jefferson County and rural Ste. Genevieve County, the site of Missouri’s oldest permanent settlement. Ste. Genevieve County also is the planned site of the nation’s largest cement plant, scheduled to open in 2009. The district’s St. Louis County portions are mostly suburbs close to the St. Louis City line—Clayton, Maplewood, Richmond Heights, Webster Groves, Affton, Lemay, and Oakville. This is the descendant of districts dominated by St. Louis voters, but today the city casts less than 25% of its votes; almost half are cast in St. Louis County. Ethnically, this has been a heavily German-American area since the mid-19th century. Politically, it has been Democratic since the New Deal of the 1930s. The district voted 57% for John Kerry in 2004 and 60% for Barack Obama in 2008. Obama carried each of its counties.