2014 Missouri Elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2014 Missouri Elections

Brigadier General James Robinson, left, pins a medal to Leo Hardin's suit coat as Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) looks on.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

A Korean War veteran from St. Louis received a Purple Heart and three other service awards Friday, six decades late.

Twice wounded during the war, Leo Hardin should have received a Purple Heart with a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantry Badge, the National Defense Medal and the United Nations Service Medal when he left Korea in 1953. Hardin, a veteran of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, served in Japan in the late 1940s as well as in Korea as Private First Class from 1950-1953.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

A few hours after winning the St. Louis County executive race, Steve Stenger stopped by St. Louis Public Radio on Wednesday to talk about his new position on the "Politically Speaking" podcast. Part of that interview was heard Thursday on "St. Louis on the Air."

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are celebrating their increased supermajorities in the State House and Senate, especially with the passage of a constitutional amendment to limit Gov. Jay Nixon's authority over the budget.

Nixon, a Democrat, has temporarily withheld money each year from various state agencies. He has said the withholds are necessary because the GOP-controlled legislature keeps sending him unbalanced budgets. 

Incoming House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, disagrees. He says they write their budgets based on the amount of money actually coming in.

Public Radio Reporters Review Tuesday's Election

Nov 5, 2014
St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we gathered our political reporters to recap Tuesday’s election. The consensus: Republicans ruled the night.

“It was a Republican bloodbath, nationally and regionally,” said Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter. “But it also shows that St. Louis County is definitely Democratic turf because the only two Democratic candidates — big names — who remained standing were Steve Stenger and Jill Schupp.”

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

The 2014 mid-term election is over, but its impact on local and state politics could be long lasting.

That’s because Republicans  -- who were already in firm control of the Missouri General Assembly – expanded their numbers in the House and Senate in part because they were able to crack the Democrats'  once-sturdy strongholds in Jefferson County, southeast Missouri and northeast Missouri. In St. Louis County, Republicans also came close to electing a county executive for the first time since 1990 when Democrat Buzz Westfall ended 28 years of GOP control over the office.

voxefxtm | Flickr

During Election Day we were with you here with the latest updates in our live blog.

(Updated following conclusion of election night)

Help Inform Our Coverage

Steve Stenger celebrates a victory.
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

Democrat Steve Stenger eked out a narrow victory Tuesday for St. Louis County executive, becoming one of the few major Democratic wins – regionally or nationally.

After trailing for much of the vote-counting, Stenger ended up with an edge of 1,768 votes over Republican Rick Stream. That amounted to less than 1 percent of the roughly 294,000 votes cast.

"I want to say 'thank you' to the voters of St. Louis County who have placed their confidence in me to turn their county around, and to move our county forward and upward,'' Stenger said in a brief victory speech.

Jill Schupp at her victory party Tuesday night.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democrats took a beating on Tuesday in contests for the Missouri General Assembly, losing even more ground in the Missouri House and Senate — including a hotly-contested race for a vacant Jefferson County Senate seat.

A bright spot for Democrats was in St. Louis County, where State Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, narrowly won a hard-fought contest for the 24th District Senate seat.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro,
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

State Rep. Mike Bost rode the national Republican wave to victory Tuesday night, knocking off incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart to represent parts of the Metro East in Congress. 

Bost’s victory capped off a buoyant night for Republicans nationally and in the Land of Lincoln, where Republican Bruce Rauner unseated incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, won re-election.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

(Updated 2:02 a.m., Wed., Nov. 5 to include latest vote totals.)

Missouri voters have defeated half of the proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot, while passing the other half.

First, the amendments that failed.

Amendment 3

Ask a bunch of voters why they bother, especially when there are no “big races,” and Election Day is rainy and cold, and you’ll get answers like “I just always vote” or “I believe it’s important for my voice to be heard.”

Voters such as these don’t care that records show that in off-year or non-presidential elections, voter turnout is generally low, with fewer than half of registered voters bothering to show up.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Here are the latest — and in most cases final — results from some of the most competitive Missouri and Illinois races. For details, go to the Missouri secretary of state, the St. Louis County Board of Elections and the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners.

Stock photo of paper ballot
sxc.hu

(Updated 1:45 a.m., Wed, Nov. 5)

St. Louis County election officials are considering changes in how many paper ballots to print and how to train polling place staff for the next election cycle, said Democratic director of elections Rita Days.

The reassessment comes after an unexpected demand for paper ballots caused a shortage at about 95 polling places throughout the county Tuesday. That's more than 20 percent of the county's 444 balloting sites.

File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is estimating that slightly fewer than 40 percent of the state’s voters will show up at the polls next Tuesday, a lower turnout than in 2010 — when there was more at stake on the ballot.

Area election officials also are projecting lower turnouts, ranging from roughly 20 percent in the city of St. Louis to 25 percent in St. Charles County, 46 percent in St. Louis County and 47 percent in Jefferson County.

We're getting close to Election Day, and that means St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum are returning to the show's "classic" format to preview the main races in St. Louis and throughout the Show Me State.

By Missouri standards, Tuesday's election is relatively quiet, especially because the only statewide race for state auditor is essentially uncontested. And Republicans aren't expected to lose their firm hold on the Missouri House or Senate.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

When it comes to the Missouri House and next Tuesday’s election, leaders in both major parties agree that the stakes are low.

There’s little doubt that Republicans will maintain historically huge majorities in the General Assembly’s lower chamber. They may even pick up another seat or two. Democrats, meanwhile, see their best hope in making a few gains of their own.

Still, House Republican Campaign Committee executive director Scott Dieckhaus admits a bit of uncertainty.

Vote here sign
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Imagine a split screen view of St. Louis. In one image, events in Ferguson are driving intense interest in a daunting array of community issues. They can’t be resolved without leadership from elected officials. In the other image, candidates are running for office in an election Tuesday that has attracted almost no interest.

What’s wrong with this picture? In a democracy, voters hold the ultimate power. Yet many citizens are having a hard time seeing what difference their votes will make.

Video Voters Guide To St. Louis County Executive Race

Oct 30, 2014
Steve Stenger, left, and Rick Stream
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Here's your chance to see the two major-party candidates for St. Louis county executive in action. Before the August primary, we videotaped the candidates answering questions about some of the key issues facing the county. (This was before the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.) Here is what Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican had to say. You can see their answers by clicking on the questions below.

What’s your strongest achievement while in office?

How would you improve the St. Louis County parks system?

Vote here sign
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Despite declarations of heightened voter interest, St. Louis County’s absentee tallies so far hint at a far lower turnout than in 2010, the last non-presidential statewide election.

County Democratic Elections Director Rita Days reports that 9,698 people had cast absentee ballots at the close of business Saturday. That pace signals that the county won’t reach its 2010 absentee tally of 25,225.

"I don’t think we’re going to make that number,’’ Days said Tuesday. “It looks like a stretch.”

Arthur Lieber (D- Creve Coeur)
Rebecca Smith

“I’m taking donations of only $10.10 - that being the proposed new minimum wage by President Obama,” Arthur Lieber explained to “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh.  “If elected, every voter in the 2nd district will have my equal attention because no one has given me more than $10.10”

Arthur Lieber (D-Creve Coeur) is running for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District against incumbent Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin) and Bill Slantz, a Libertarian from St. Charles.   

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With sleek, white furniture and an array of flat screen televisions, Express Scripts’ research lab has all the trappings of modernity and success. But for his part, Express Scripts CEO George Paz saw something else when he broke ground on his company’s headquarters a few years ago.  

When he stepped on the north St. Louis County field that would later become Express Scripts' campus, Paz saw dilapidated houses and sewer runoff. It wasn’t a sure-fire economic development opportunity.

Bill Slantz on "St. Louis on the Air"
Rebecca Smith

“Democrats and Republicans have proven over a long period of time that they look to big government to solve problems. The Libertarian Party is basically making a statement that says ‘We can solve a lot of our problems without this bureaucratic assistance,’” said Bill Slantz. 

Slantz, of St. Charles, is the Libertarian candidate vying to represent Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District. Slantz totes strong Libertarian views on most major issues. 

Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2012 photo

We know that you listen to us on air and check our website for news and information about our region. We hope that you look at our website every day, but we know that's not always possible. So, once a week, on Friday, we will highlight some of the website's top stories of the week.

Raise your glasses

This St. Louis-Area Bottler Sells Soda The Old-Fashioned Way

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan Waters
Jefferson County website

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan Waters says she likely would have been oblivious to the internet uproar over her Facebook comments about the president if she hadn’t set up a Twitter account a few months ago.

Waters claims that she had forgotten about her Facebook post – which appears to ask why the military hasn’t ousted President Barack Obama -- until she was at a radio station for an interview on Oct. 10.

Friends of Tom Schweich

The only statewide political office up for grabs in Missouri this year doesn't appear to be anywhere near up for grabs.

State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, is facing only token opposition from the Libertarian and Constitution parties, and the Democrats are not fielding a challenger. This contest may serve more as a campaign for Schweich's next political goal:

Libertarian nominee Sean O'Toole brought it up during a sit-down interview in September, saying that Tom Schweich is actually running for governor.

St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis County residents might not know it, but two other countywide offices besides county executive are on the Nov. 4 ballot.

There’s been virtually no campaigning for St. Louis County prosecutor or for assessor.

Certainly county Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has been in the news a lot lately, but it’s not because he’s seeking a seventh term in the job he’s held since 1991.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

For the most part, the St. Louis County executive’s contest between Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream is sucking up most of the electoral oxygen on the county’s political scene. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s the only contest with  significant consequences. Incumbent Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, is seeking re-election against Republican committeewoman Jennifer Bird, the only county council race in a competitive district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Auditor Tom Schweich has a message for all those fellow Republicans who’ve already announced for office in 2016, or about to do so.

His two bits? Hold off.