If you have watched any television lately, you'll have seen the barrage of ads in the Democratic race for St. Louis County executive -- one of the major races on the Aug. 5 primary ballot. County Executive Charlie Dooley, the incumbent for the past decade, is arguably in the political fight of his life with County Councilman Steve Stenger. While Dooley and Stenger are duking it out, House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, and Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa are waging a below the radar campaign.
Meet the candidates for county exec
All the candidates herald their experience as central to their qualifications -- whether it's Dooley's decade-long incumbency; Stenger's credentials as a lawyer and accountant; Stream's responsibilities in crafting and passing a state budget; and Pousosa's position as a Green Park alderman.
Here's a closer look at their political biographies and their views on key issues.
Video: St. Louis County Executive Candidates Talk About Themselves — And The Issues (Is it biased to say we were especially amused by Stenger's past as the lead singer in a rock band?)
Our friends at St. Louis on the Air have hosted all four candidates. You can listen to them here:
The stories listed above will give you a pretty well-rounded view of the candidates. But if you're looking for more, here are some articles that spotlight some of the major issues in St. Louis County.
Finally, for all the candidates, turnout is going to be important. In the more highly contested Democratic primary, the support of labor and women will be critical.
Other candidates, other jurisdictions
Yes, there are other races on the ballot although none has quite had the drama of the St. Louis County executive race -- with the possible exception of the race for St. Louis recorder of deeds. Longtime incumbent Sharon Carpenter had to step down because of charges of nepotism, but she is still running in the primary against Ed McFowland who brought up the nepotism charges. Also on the citywide ballot are the candidates for license collector: Incumbent Mavis Thompson, who was appointed to the office in 2013, is squaring up against Alderman Jeffrey Boyd.
Even though St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch has an opponent in the Democratic primary -- attorney Leslie Broadnax -- he is using some time in his TV ads to promote Stenger for county executive.
The St. Louis County Council has races for three seats. In the 1st District, incumbent Hazel Erby, D-University City, is being challenged by Wesley Bell. In a special election in the 2nd District, voters will choose between Democrat Sam Page of Creve Coeur, a physician and former state representative, and Republican Robert Saettele, a city councilman in Bridgeton to replace the late Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett. And, in the 7th District, Adam Paul, the once embattled mayor of Ellisville, and Ballwin Alderman Mark Harder are vying to win the GOP nomination for a seat vacated by retiring Councilman Greg Quinn.
Two state Senate races have generated more than usual interest. In the open 2nd district in St. Charles County, three Republicans (and zero Democrats) are vying for the nomination since Scott Rupp left. That means that whoever wins the GOP nod -- Bob Onder, Chuck Gatschenberger or Vicki Schneider -- will become the state senator for the district. As an interesting sidelight, each of the three candidates loaned their campaign more than $200,000 each.
In the 24th state Senate race, three Republicans are seeking to replace retiring Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue. They are Jack Spooner, Robb Hicks and Jay Ashcroft, the son of former Attorney General (and governor and U.S. senator) John Ashcroft. The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Jill Schupp in what is expected to be a highly competitive race in a swing district.
State House races are up for grabs every two years, but they are frequently lackluster affairs, with little suspense about the outcome. One exception is the 76th House district in north St. Louis. It pits incumbent state Rep. Joshua Peters against fellow Democrat Chris Carter, Sr., in a race taking place in the shadow cast by the Clay and Carter dynasties.