Primary Election 2014

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 |

(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.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 8 p.m. on Monday with news about Schneider repaying her loan.)

Vicki Schneider got on the phone earlier this year with Bob Onder after he loaned himself $200,000 for his state Senate bid. 

She said she asked a fairly simple question of one of her opponents for the St. Charles County-based 2nd District seat: "Do you want me to help you spend that?"

“And he just laughed,” she said.

State Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis, campaigns in the Penrose neighborhood of St. Louis. Peters is running for re-election in the 76th District, which encompasses a portion of north St. Louis City.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a slightly overcast day in St. Louis’ Penrose neighborhood, state Rep. Joshua Peters briskly moved from brick bungalow to brick bungalow to get the word out about his re-election campaign.   

Sporting a sky blue polo and dark-rimmed eyeglasses, the 26-year-old exuded the experience of an old political pro when greeting potential voters. Sophia Hubbard told Peters a member of his campaign staff had already come to her door. Oliver Williams told him something similar – and signaled that Peters had his vote on Aug. 5.

Curt Dennison

(Updated 10 p.m. Saturday, July 26, with link to new ad)

Opponents of the proposed “Right to Farm’’ state constitutional amendment will begin a TV ad campaign in St. Louis and Kansas City this weekend as part of a last-ditch effort to block the proposal on the Aug. 5 ballot.

Photo courtesy of MoDOT

If Missourians back a transportation sales tax next month, road workers can expect a busy decade. 

That's a key takeaway of a St. Louis Public Radio analysis of a project list approved by the state's Highways and Transportation Commission. It's what will be funded if voters approve a 0.75 percent sales tax increase on Aug. 5.

(via flickr/jimbowen0306)

Jay Ashcroft’s life is steeped in politics, even if he’s never run for political office before.

That may help explain why the son of a Republican icon is already airing TV ads for a state Senate contest that, on paper, leans Democratic. 

Ashcroft is among three Republicans competing in the Aug. 5 primary for the right to challenge the sole Democrat, state Rep. Jill Schupp of Creve Coeur, in the fall.  Also running is Libertarian Jim Higgins.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Running for a seat in the Missouri Senate is tough. It takes months of door-to-door campaigning, an endless dash for cash, and a thick skin to win a competitive race. 

But Chuck Gatschenberger and Vicki Schneider may have a secret weapon: Both candidates in the race for the western St. Charles-based 2nd senatorial district had their campaign logos and faces imprinted on their trucks.

Schneider said she wrapped her truck because she “wanted people to know that they’re voting for someone that is just like them.”

(Campaign Photos)

Less than two weeks to go before the Aug. 5 primary election, a key question in the St. Louis County executive contest centers on how much muscle area unions will exert in their effort to oust incumbent Democrat Charlie Dooley.

(Campaign Photos)

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and his chief Democratic rival, Councilman Steve Stenger, agree on two things: Each says his attack ads are accurate and the other guy’s are not.

The two defended their accusations during separate, back-to-back appearances today with host Don Marsh on St. Louis Public Radio’s "St. Louis On the Air."  The sparring over ads reflected another common consensus: Their Aug. 5 primary contest will get even nastier.

The two ads in question attempt to link Stenger to sex trafficking and Dooley to FBI investigations.

The race for St. Louis County executive just may be the marquee in the August primary. We've extensively covered the candidates and the issues, but to listen to the candidates in their own words, click on the questions below.

What’s your strongest achievement while in office?

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

St. Louis License Collector Race Flies Under The Radar

Jul 21, 2014
(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

In August, two Democrats will meet in a relatively low-key primary to head an office that oversees between $50 million and $60 million each year. St. Louis' license collector is charged with collecting several taxes and issuing business licenses.

Two Democrats are vying for the office. The winner in the Aug. 5 primary will take on the Green Party candidate in November.