(Kevin Killeen, KMOX)

Communist candidate for alderman draws reaction from Democratic Party of St. Louis

"I think the Democratic Party parted ways with the Red Scare a long time ago."

February 20, 2019 - 9:01 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The head of the Democratic Party in St. Louis is reacting to news that a Communist is running as a Democrat for the city's board of aldermen.

The chairman of the Democratic Central Committee, Michael Butler, was asked about Tony Pecinovsky, of the Communist Party USA, running as a Democrat for aldermen in south St. Louis.

"I think the Democratic Party parted ways with the Red Scare a long time ago," Butler told KMOX's Kevin Killeen. "And (we) have not sought to out those alleged of Communism or being a part of Communism for some time now."

The "Red Scare" was actually two incidents, each occurring after World War I and World War II, where Americans felt there was a threat of Communists gaining influence in the U.S. government. Senator Joseph McCarthy was so well known for stoking fears of Soviet influence growing in the United States, the "Red Scare" instead became known by many as "McCarthyism".

Despite Pecinovsky's reputation, Butler says Pecinovky's ideas line up with the Democratic party, but not everyone agrees. One of those dissenters is Kim McGrath, who is also a member of the city's Democratic Central Committee.

"I think it's unethical to run under political label affiliation that is in fact inherently different from the one you support, endorse, and are working towards," she told KMOX News.

Alderwoman Carol Howard also believes Pecinovsky shouldn't allowed to run as a Democrat.

"My fear is that the voters might be deceived by that if you're running as a Democrat, but have a Communist Party affiliation."

Pecinovsky is running as a Democrat in the 14th Ward race against Howard, who is the incumbent.

Related: She says He's a Communist; He says She's a Republican