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A Perfect Union ... More or Less

November 14 – December 19, 2004

Maryanne Simmons
American Landscapes/Documents Series: The Campaign, 2004
6 photolithographs
10 1/2? x 14 1/2? each
On April 2, 2002 only two of every ten registered voters voted in the city of Wildwood, Missouri.  A slate of candidates won 7 of 8 Wildwood City Council seats and control of the City Council.  It cost them $58,100.  The number of American flags flying in Wildwood that day: countless.
Ten days before the April 2, 2002 municipal election in the city of Wildwood, a group of people under the name Chesterfield Township Republican Organization (CTRO) launched a campaign to gain control of the City Council. They wanted unregulated development in this new, affluent community. They wanted a highway through the city into the neighboring commercial districts in Chesterfield Valley.  They blanketed the city with attacks on incumbents and other challengers?Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike?in what was by law required to be a nonpartisan election.
CTRO pulled out all the stops.  They invoked god, patriotism, 9/11, The Contract with America and Family values.  They attacked arts funding and environment- alists.  They even channeled universal disdain for lawyers.
What they didn?t do was file any financial disclosure reports prior to election Day as required by law.  After the election was over, when CTRO finally filed their first and only report, it was learned that development interests funded 90% of the $56,000 campaign.
A year later, The Missouri Ethics Commission fined CTRO $2,100.

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