Republican Rick Stream says he’s aiming his first and only TV ad for St. Louis County executive at fellow Republicans, not his rivals, in an effort to discourage GOP voters from participating next Tuesday in the Democratic primary.
“We wanted Republicans to get the idea that we have a solid, viable candidate,’’ said Stream about his ad, which began airing Tuesday.
Stream discussed his concerns after his appearance on St. Louis Public Radio’s St. Louis On The Air with Don Marsh. Stream’s Republican rival, Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa, also appeared on the show in a separate appearance.
Stream, a state legislator from Kirkwood and chairman of the House Budget Committee, said on the record what some top Republicans are saying privately — that they fear a growing wave of Republican voters may opt next Tuesday to ignore their own primary and cast ballots instead in the Democratic primary for County Executive Charlie Dooley or his rival, Councilman Steve Stenger.
Stream said he’s been hearing from various Republicans who plan to vote for Dooley or Stenger, in part because of who they think would be "the easiest candidate for the GOP to defeat in the fall.”
“I can beat both of them,’’ Stream said in an interview after his radio appearance.
He added that his advice to fellow Republicans was “let the Democrats pick their own nominee … Pick the Republican ballot and vote for me.”
Stream blamed Stenger for some of the crossover talk because some of Stenger’s campaign fliers have landed in the mailboxes of known Republicans — including Stream. Stream contended that Stenger is openly courting Republicans.
Stenger has said that he’s appealing for support from all voters: Democrats, Republicans and independents.
Stream, Pousosa oppose city/county reunification or merger
On St. Louis On the Air, Stream and Pousosa touched on a variety of issues.
Each said he opposed any talk of a merger or reunification of the city with St. Louis County. Pousosa has made his opposition a top campaign issue, saying reunification would be expensive and could reduce county services. Pousosa's campaign signs even say "Stop the Merger."
One reason Pousosa is opposed is to a merger or reunification is that it "would not be fair" to the county's other communities to add St. Louis to the sales tax pool.
Stream said it was too early for discussion of any such proposals: “I don’t think it’s the right solution to the problems in St. Louis County.”
Stream said his top priority would be to encourage the growth of private-sector jobs and attract businesses. He acknowledged that he had skipped a House vote this spring on a “right to work’’ proposal, which would have curbed union rights in workplaces, because of his plans to run for county executive.
“It’s too divisive,’’ Stream said of the proposal, adding that he would seek business-union cooperation in his efforts to attract more jobs.
Pousosa said that all parts of the community will benefit when taxes are appropriate. "If you have a successful tax structure ... then eventually you'll have the funds needed" to support school districts, he said.
Pousosa said one of his priorities would be to work to eliminate red-light cameras at intersections.
Both Republicans said that the Dooley administration was beset with corruption. Pousosa is calling for the state auditor to conduct an audit of all operations within the county government. Stream cited his budget experience, saying he believed he could cut county spending in every department.
Both Republicans emphasized their support for lower taxes and fewer county regulations.
Pousosa opposes the proposed transportation sales tax on the Aug. 5 ballot, known as Amendment 7. He said it would be too costly to taxpayers although he acknowledged that more needed to be done to improve the region’s transportation infrastructure, including roads and bridges.
Stream had voted to put Amendment 7 on the statewide ballot. He said it wasn’t the perfect solution, but that something needed to be done to raise money for improvements to the state and region’s highways, roads and bridges. He said the decision was up to voters.
Read our live chat
During Tuesday's show, we invited you to join in our live chat, hosted by Jason Rosenbaum and Kelsey Proud. An archive of the chat is here:
Almost a week ago, Democrats Charlie Dooley and Steve Stenger also participated in back-t0-back interviews.