But to Mr. Bell and his supporters, her infractions are more local. First and foremost, she voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, a slap to the unions that had backed her. Worse still, she never met with them to explain her vote, said Clinton McBride, the government affairs director of the Laborers’ International Local 110.
“Communication is nice,” he said. “It says a lot when there isn’t any.”
Ms. Bush denied that she had left unions in the dark, contending that her team was in touch before, during and after the vote.
There are plenty of voters in St. Louis who love Ms. Bush’s in-your-face style of activism, and lament having to choose between two progressives. Ken Hughes, a retired member of the laborers’ Local 42, recalled how in 2021 Ms. Bush camped out on the steps of the Capitol in an orange sleeping bag and a lawn chair, a vigil that forced the extension of a pandemic-era moratorium on evictions.
“She’s a fighter for the people, and I like that,” said Mr. Hughes, 60, who has not decided how he will vote in the Aug. 6 primary.
His friend, Greg Lomax, 54, had been undecided at the beginning of Thursday’s labor meeting. But then, he said, “I just learned today that she voted against the infrastructure bill.”