Rick Stream

St. Louis Alderwoman Donna Baringer, D-16th Ward, is considered an ally of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. But she says voters should have a say in whether to extend bonds for the new stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Even though Missouri’s primary elections are a year away, some contests for St. Louis area state legislative seats are beginning to take shape.

St. Louis Alderman Donna Baringer announced Wednesday morning that she will run for the 82nd District House seat, which encompasses most of southwest St. Louis.  And Wednesday night, Republican Rick Stream of Kirkwood -- who narrowly lost a bid for St. Louis County executive last fall -- officially kicked off his campaign for the 15th District state Senate seat.

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

(Updated 10 p.m. Tues., Dec. 30)

The St. Louis County Election Board assigned 50 employees this week to conduct a court-ordered recount of the votes cast Nov. 4 in the tight battle for county executive. The election was narrowly won by Democrat Steve Stenger, who defeated Republican Rick Stream.

And when the recount was complete, Stenger still won.

The board fulfilled the aim of the candidates and the court to have the recount completed, and the results public, before Stenger is sworn in at noon Thursday,  New Year’s Day, as county executive.

Rick Stream
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican Rick Stream waited until the deadline to go to court Thursday and request a recount in the close contest he lost Nov. 4 for St. Louis County executive.

Stream lost by fewer than 1,800 votes to Democrat Steve Stenger, who is to be sworn in on Jan. 1.

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

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger outspent Republican rival Rick Stream by more than three-to-one in what appears to have been the closest contest for that office in decades.

Stenger — a Democrat who won by less than 1,900 votes — spent $3.34 million in his successful bid for the post, according to the final campaign-finance reports due Thursday. Stream reported spending $959,395.

Steve Stenger, Democrat, left, and Rick Stream, Republican, are running for St. Louis County executive.
Photos courtesy of the candidates

If it weren’t for voters in north St. Louis County, Democrat Steve Stenger wouldn’t have won the tight Nov. 4 contest for county executive.

Stenger lost most of his home turf in south St. Louis County to Republican Rick Stream. 

Stenger carried north county strongly, but the percentage was far less than County Executive Charlie Dooley's performance in 201o. Even so, Stenger's north county showing -- despite opposition from north county Democrats -- proved crucial to victory.

Missouri Republican Party Chairman Ed Martin, left, lost elections for Congress and for attorney general. While those experiences can be instructive, he says losing sometimes "just plain stinks."
Courtesy of Ed Martin's Facebook page

When Ed Martin sent out an e-mail last week with the phrase “You’re A Loser” in the subject line, this writer thought the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party was being unneighborly.

In actuality, Martin – who, for full disclosure, lives in the same St. Louis neighborhood as I do – penned a  letter on how it feels to lose an election. Even though his party experienced a very successful mid-term election cycle, Martin wrote that not every Republican candidate is basking in the glow of victory -- and they probably aren't feeling that great right now.

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.”

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

A day after his narrow victory, St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger says he’s “certainly willing to extend an olive branch’’ to those fellow Democrats who had opposed his election.

But that said, Stenger made clear Wednesday that he expects those critics — many of whom were African-American officials in north St. Louis County — to do their part as well.

“We saw political motivations of all sorts, and we need to set them aside,’’ Stenger said during a wide-ranging interview on St. Louis Public Radio's Politically Speaking podcast.

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.

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.

St. Louis Public Radio aired the first public debate between two candidates for St. Louis County executive, Democrat Steve Stenger, left and Republican Rick Stream (right).
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s somewhat instinctual for Missouri political reporters to describe every election as decisive, critical or groundbreaking. And to be fair, it’s not an unnatural impulse – since every Show Me State election year for the past couple of decades has featured a competitive statewide, U.S. Senate or presidential contest.

This year, though, state Auditor Tom Schweich likely won’t lose to his Libertarian or Constitution Party opponents, and the Missouri House and Senate will remain firmly in Republican hands. And there's no U.S. Senate contest.

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.

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?

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

Just since Oct. 1, the two major candidates for St. Louis County executive have spent more than $1.1 million between them – most of it on TV ads.

On Monday, Republican Rick Stream and Democrat Steve Stenger filed their final campaign-finance reports – known as “eight-day reports” – before the Nov. 4 election.

In their filings, Stenger reported spending $712,032 just in October. That compared to $409,824 for Stream.

The bulk of their spending has been for TV ads, which have been running continually for almost two months.

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.

Rick Stream
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

Rick Stream, the Republican nominee for St. Louis County executive, is promising to use his influence to persuade the General Assembly to change state laws  to make it harder for communities to collect so much money from traffic violations.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Actions often speak louder than words.

The region’s two major candidates for St. Louis County executive – Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream – play down any talk that their campaigns target women voters.

Both say they’re seeking support from any and all voters, regardless of gender, age, race or other demographics.

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.

Steve Stenger, Democrat, left, and Rick Stream, Republican, are running for St. Louis County executive.
Photos courtesy of the candidates

Steve Stenger, the Democratic candidate for St. Louis County executive, is entering the final weeks of the contest with more than twice the money in the bank as Republican rival Rick Stream.

In reports filed Wednesday, Stenger reported that he had raised $447,244 since the Aug. 5 primary and had $400,902 in the bank.  That compares to only $173,081 raised by Stream, who reported $155,068 on hand.

Stenger also has outspent Stream: $322,562 compared to Stream’s $246,512.

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis City
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 5:50 p.m. Wed., Oct. 15)

The region’s most prominent African-American official -- U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay – has announced that he's no longer on the political fence, and now is endorsing fellow Democrat Steve Stenger for St. Louis County executive. 

Clay said on KMOX radio Wednesday morning that fellow African-Americans backing Republican Rick Stream were ignoring their best interests.

“It’s time for us to bring the temperature down and allow for us to make a rational decision,” Clay said.