In a county where the population is about 70 percent white, but the top official is African American, there’s always the chance that race can emerge as a factor in the contest for St. Louis county executive.
That’s particularly true, say some demographic experts, because St. Louis County’s housing patterns continue to be somewhat segregated — with most African Americans living in north county while south county is overwhelmingly white.
After weeks of resisting debates, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is now calling for a debate with his Democratic rivals just days before the Aug. 5 primary.
In a release sent out Friday afternoon, the Dooley campaign called for a debate for the morning of July 31 or Aug. 1 – a Thursday or Friday – that would include County Councilman Steve Stenger and the other Democrat who has filed, Ronald E. Levy.
(Levy has not returned repeated calls from St. Louis Public Radio. He previously has run for office as a Democrat and as a Republican.)
As St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, duke it out in the Democratic primary for county executive, two Republicans are engaged in a relatively low-profile primary for the post.
St. Louis Public Radio conducted wide-ranging interviews this week with the two contenders: House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood; and Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa. Besides asking about the two candidates' backgrounds and general vision for the office, the two were asked about the county's most controversial and contentious issues.
As St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, duke it out in a very public fashion, a lower-key primary is transpiring on the Republican side. Missouri House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, and Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa are angling to reach the November election, with both emphasizing their professional experience and personal styles.
Since 1991 when Buzz Westfall became county executive, the office has been in Democratic hands. But some prominent Republicans are bullish about the party’s chances this year.
Mike Jones, an adviser to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, speaks during Tuesday's St. Louis County Council meeting. Jones offered a scathing rebuke to Councilman Steve Stenger's criticism over his actions on the state Board of Education.
Before he was a St. Louis County councilman, before he was an attorney and a certified public accountant, Steve Stenger was the lead singer in a rock and roll band that toured the area in the 1980s.
Now Stenger is traveling around St. Louis County again as a Democratic candidate for county executive in the Aug. 5 primary. And he believes that many county residents will sing along to his latest political tune: “It’s time for a change.”
The few long-time regulars at St. Louis County Council meetings may be longing for the legislative body's customary 10-minute meetings after the past few weeks.
That’s because in recent weeks, the meetings have turned into lengthy – and often bitterly hostile – clashes between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and most of the council. But it's more than just legislative melodrama; a coalition of five council members (out of seven) have managed to block quite a bit of Dooley’s agenda.