Primary Election 2014

Parth Shah, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 5:37 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 4)

In political campaigns, the biggest spenders often win. But not always.

That ended up being a major theme in Missouri's Aug. 5 primary for which the final campaign-finance reports -- due Thursday -- showed stark contrasts.

St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger, now the Democratic nominee for county executive, heads into his fall campaign with roughly $285,000 in the bank and an even larger debt.

Gov. Jay Nixon (UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

While in St. Louis Saturday to give the commencement address for the Missouri branch of the online school Western Governors University, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon refused to take responsibility for last week’s failure of Amendment 7. The ballot measure would have raised sales taxes by three-quarters of a percent for ten years in order to raise money for bridges, roads and public transportation.

at the polls
Rachel Heidenry | File photo | St. Louis Beacon

Whether or not you like the results of Tuesday’s election, you might find some bright spots in what it revealed about voters.

At least in St. Louis County, voters showed up in higher than expected numbers. Across the state, voters proved resistant to the influence of money. And voters even found some common ground across the rural-urban divide that often immobilizes the state.

Of course, turnout for the primary was far from stellar – about 25 percent overall. But in St. Louis County nearly 30 percent showed up – substantially more than the 20 percent predicted.

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

The morning after their primary victories, the new nominees for St. Louis County executive – Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream – talked briefly before back-to-back appearances at a local television station.

Their cordial conversation is in line with what each says is a commitment to focus on the issues – not personalities -- over the next 88 days leading up to the Nov. 4 election.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.  This week, we dive into last night's election results.

The Politically Speaking crew broke down the results from Tuesday's primary elections. Among other things, the trio examined:

Proposition B asks to voters to allow their local city or county to continue collecting sales tax on cars bought out of state
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

The results from Tuesday's primary are in. St. Louis Public Radio political reporters Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin and University of Missouri–St. Louis political science professor Dave Robertson joined us Wednesday to talk about the election's outcomes, including the St. Louis County executive race and ballot measures.

St. Louis County Executive

A commercial chicken house in Florida.
USDA | Wikipedia

It was an early night for most of the amendments, but the farm interests had to stay up late. Shortly after midnight, unofficial state returns showed Amendment 1, the "right to farm" proposal, winning by 2,528 votes. That was a a margin of only about one-quarter of 1 percent, which is close enough to entitle the opposition to a recount.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting in statewide, Amendment 1 passed with 498,751 votes, or 50.127 percent.  The "no" votes came in at 496,223, or 49.873 percent.

Image by Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Constitutional amendment statewide results by county and the St. Louis County Executive race.

Steve Stenger celebrates his victory in the Democratic primary for county executive.
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

Even St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger seemed shocked by his huge margin of victory Tuesday over St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley in the Democratic primary.

“It certainly looks absolutely phenomenal,’’ Stenger told reporters, shortly before Dooley officially conceded.

Stenger won with 66 percent of the countywide vote, carrying most of the county’s 28 townships. But his electoral success could have repercussions this fall.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

Missourians decisively rejected a sales tax increase earmarked for transportation projects, making for a striking defeat for a well-financed campaign from proponents and a victory for an ideologically diverse opposition coalition. 

The tax – commonly known as “Amendment 7” or the “transportation tax” – would have raised Missouri’s sales tax by 0.75 percent for 10 years. It would have also barred Missouri's policymakers from instituting tolls or raising the state’s gas tax during that same time period.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Bob Onder completed his comeback into state legislative life with a victory in the hard-fought – and expensive – contest for the 2nd District state Senate seat. 

The Lake Saint Louis Republican's win capped off a relatively light slate of legislative races -- as well as some unusually active local contests.

Missouri's primary election is today, and several St. Louisans are sharing their voting experiences online.

voxefxtm | Flickr

Welcome to our one-stop place for all Aug. 5 election updates. Follow along with us and share what you're seeing. 

Resources for you:

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 9 a.m.,Tues., Aug. 5)

As today’s voting gets underway, the two men competing in the region’s hottest primary contest – St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and his Democratic rival, Councilman Steve Stenger – are busily scrounging up support.

Accompanied by his wife and newborn daughter, Stenger showed up around 8 a.m. this morning at his polling place in Affton to cast his ballot and begin a day filled with stops at polling places around the county.

Parth Shah, St. Louis Public Radio

By any conceivable measure, Missouri doesn’t have a particularly robust election cycle this year. But that doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to learn.

Even though this year's primary season featured fewer contested races than usual, the past few months still produced twists, turns and surprises. That’s especially true because a number of ballot initiatives were placed on the August ballot, making up for a relative dearth of competitive legislative contests.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County’s contest for county executive has taken many unusual turns — with the latest engulfing consultants for the two battling Democrats: Richard Callow and Jane Dueker.

Callow has been advising incumbent Charlie Dooley, while Dueker has been assisting Councilman Steve Stenger.

Callow and Dueker are among the top consultants in the state; their clientele includes corporations as well as candidates. And it’s their work with businesses that appears to be the reason both are under fire.

Wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield has made another donation of $50,000 to embattled St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, who’s in a tight primary race with County Councilman Steve Stenger.

Sinquefield’s donation was posted Thursday on the Missouri Ethics Commission’s website and comes less than a week after his earlier $50,000 donation to Dooley.

Sinquefield is, by far, Dooley’s most generous donor.

Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

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

Rachel Heidenry | File photo | St. Louis Beacon

Next Tuesday, Missouri voters will write the ending to a summer season of political melodrama. Will you vote?

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

The McArthur Bakery in Kirkwood briefly found itself as Ground Zero in the statewide debate over the constitutional amendment dubbed “right to farm’’ when supporters and an opponent noisily squared off.

Thursday’s incident also illustrated the battleground that St. Louis County may become in the final days of campaigning on that issue, and others, on Tuesday’s statewide ballot.

Although several issues and races are crowding Tuesday’s primary ballot, the transportation tax amendment has been particularly contentious. The amendment increases the state sales tax, now 4.225 percent, by three-quarters of a cent to fund transportation projects.

/Via Flickr/ KOMU news, Manu Bhandari

The road to improvement — or a dead end? The transportation tax, or Amendment 7, would raise the state sales tax by three-quarters of a cent for 10 years to fund transportation improvements across the state.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Missouri's Aug. 5 primary ballot includes several Constitutional amendments, but none has been as contentious as Amendment 7, the transportation tax proposal.

Amendment 7

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

In the west St. Louis County contest for the open 7th District seat on the St. Louis County Council, Ballwin Alderman Mark Harder has received the endorsements of a number of Republican heavy-hitters, including retiring Councilman Greg Quinn and state Auditor Tom Schweich. 

But his chief rival for the GOP nomination – Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul – believes that support may backfire and help Paul, who embraces his own renegade image after he beat back an impeachment effort in 2013.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch
Courtesy of Bob McCulloch's office

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is confident enough about his own re-election that he’s taken the unusual step of using his campaign ads to promote Steve Stenger, a fellow Democrat running for St. Louis County executive.

On radio and on television, McCulloch is dedicating a few seconds in his 30-second ads to make clear that Stenger shares his view that “the conflicts and the corruption’’ in county government needs to end.

The St. Louis recorder of deeds' race has been nothing if not odd. A few months ago, the race was a low-key, low-profile and low-interest affair. Now, the contest is rife with allegations of mismanagement as well as a nepotism-fueled game of musical chairs.

The recorder of deeds is in charge of recording all property transactions and issuing marriage licenses as well as birth and death records.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.  This week the trio discusses the last-minute money surge to the state’s primary candidates, as well as key races in St. Louis. 

The Politically Speaking crew also talked about U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s big donation to the state Democratic Party and what it means for state legislative contests in the fall.

On the show:

Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

(via Missouri Department of Transportation)

The campaign for a statewide transportation sales tax has been in a spending frenzy in July – and still has more money to burn.

The latest campaign-finance report shows the group called Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs has $1.67 million left to spend during the final days leading up to the Aug. 5 election.

And that’s after spending more than $2 million on TV ads during first four weeks of July.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

(Updated 11:30 a.m., Mon., July 28)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has underscored her influence within the Missouri Democratic Party by writing a check for $240,000 – making her the new top donor for the party.

And wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield has donated another hefty sum to one of his favorite officeholders, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

But Sinquefield gave even more Monday to a Republican rival for Dooley's job, state Rep. Rick Stream.

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