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Officer Wins Democratic Nomination in East St. Louis Mayoral Primary

February 25, 1987

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) _ This city’s mayor fended off a strong challenge from a convicted felon to win the Democratic mayoral primary, while an alderman who allegedly threatened to shoot an opponent also won re-nomination.

Mayor Carl Officer, who on Tuesday defeated Clyde Jordan in his bid for a third four-year term, goes into the April 7 general election against two independent candidates who also have been convicted of felonies.

Unofficial totals Tuesday night showed Officer with 7,079 votes to 6,123 for Jordan, with two other candidates trailing far behind. Republican Delores Turnbough ran unopposed.

Jordan was convicted in 1954 of forgery of government checks and mail fraud when he was a substitute postal clerk.

Independent candidate Charles Merritts Sr. was convicted in 1975 of perjury, extortion and mail fraud in connection with his position as president of the East St. Louis School Board. He later pleaded quilty to a charge that he tried to arrange the murder of Jordan, who also was on the school board.

The second independent candidate, Raymond C. Cason, was convicted with Merritts in 1975 of extortion.

Hours before the polls opened early Tuesday, police arrested a man running for alderman after he allegedly barged into a radio station and threatened to shoot another candidate, the host of a call-in talk show.

Authorities said that shortly after midnight Monday, Tommy Dancy, 37, entered radio station WESL and threatened the Rev. Joseph Davis. Davis was an independent candidate for alderman from the same district as Dancy, a Democrat who won Tuesday’s primary.

Police said they arrested Dancy without a shot being fired. He was charged with aggravated assault and released under a $100 bond, said Sgt. Anthony Vlahek.

Davis reported that someone fired a number of bullets into his home a few hours later. He said his wife, Ruby, was asleep on a couch beneath a window and was showered by broken glass.

East St. Louis, which is in southwestern Illinois across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, has a population of about 55,000.

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