For some in both camps, the decision of a group of African-American Democratic officials to endorse Republican Rick Stream for county executive boils down to one word:
Berkeley Mayor Ted Hoskins said as much when he explained at Wednesday’s news conference — which featured about two dozen north St. Louis County officials — that Stream’s conservative views and legislative votes aren’t the issue.
With the nationally watched unrest in Ferguson as a backdrop, St. Louis County’s contest for county executive may well live up to its hype as the region’s marquee contest on the Nov. 4 ballot.
And although Election Day is a month away, Republican Rick Stream and Democrat Steve Stenger, both St. Louis natives, already are running attack ads – a sign that their battle may be tighter than the county’s Democratic-leaning demographics might indicate.
Their pitches fit in with their parties’ traditional jabs:
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was helping Councilman Steve Stenger in his bid for county executive from literally the moment he started running.
McCulloch was the introductory speaker at the Affton Democrat’s campaign kickoff last year. He's contributed close to $100,000 in in-kind contributions to Stenger's campaign. And he's appeared in ads attacking incumbent St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and praising Stenger’s promise to “clean up” St. Louis County.
State Rep. Rick Stream, the Republican nominee for St. Louis County executive, says that county Prosecutor Bob McCulloch should think seriously about whether he should remain in charge of an investigation into the Ferguson police shooting last month that set off weeks of unrest.
“I’m not calling on him to step aside,” Stream said in an interview. “But I do think, if a quarter of the population in the county has no confidence in your ability to do an impartial investigation, that’s something that should be seriously considered by the prosecutor. That’s his decision.”
St. Louis County executive candidates Steve Stenger and Rick Stream will face off in a public debate Oct. 14 hosted by St. Louis Public Radio in partnership with the University of Missouri–St. Louis. It is the first planned debate ahead of the Nov. 4 election.
It’s been well over a month since a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. And for the most part, the St. Louis County Council was shielded from the unbridled anger over the 18-year-old’s death.
That reprieve ended on Tuesday.
The council’s chambers were packed with supporters of Brown and his family, with the vast majority of the crowd giving the county’s top executive and legislative officeholders a blazing array of criticism.