Steve Stenger | St. Louis Public Radio

Steve Stenger

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.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Within minutes after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury did not recommend that Darren Wilson face indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown, reactions from area politicians came quickly. 

Before and after the grand jury’s decision was made public, area officials made clear Monday night that they understood the stakes.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger said his transition into his new office is going much more smoothly than last week.
File photo by Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

The deep freeze between St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley seems to be thawing. 

A little more than a week after Stenger and Dooley revealed that they weren’t talking to each other, the bitter rivals appear to have a line of communication to help with a changeover in office. Stenger defeated Dooley in a Democratic primary and will take office on Jan. 1.

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.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

As the St. Louis region awaits a grand jury decision on whether to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with a crime, federal, state and local officials have been in constant communications with each other to prepare for what happens next. 

But there’s been no talk between two policymakers in particular: St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger.

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

A few hours after winning the St. Louis County executive race, Steve Stenger stopped by St. Louis Public Radio on Wednesday to talk about his new position on the "Politically Speaking" podcast. Part of that interview was heard Thursday on "St. Louis on the Air."

Public Radio Reporters Review Tuesday's Election

Nov 5, 2014
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

A day after his election, St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger joins the Politically Speaking podcast to discuss the results.

Stenger, currently a county councilman, will take the post in January.

Note: You can subscribe to us on iTunes now.

During the podcast, Stenger said:

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.

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

St. Louis County’s two major candidates for county executive – Republican Rick Stream and Democrat Steve Stenger – engaged Tuesday in their most vigorous debate to date, tangling over guns, other social issues, their records and their different visions of what government can and should do for the county’s 1 million residents.

Stream called their contest “the most important race in the state of Missouri’’ on the Nov. 4 ballot.

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

This is where you can find the latest updates from the St. Louis Public Radio debate between St. Louis County executive candidates Steve Stenger, a Democrat, and Rick Stream, a Republican. The debate is being broadcast live on St. Louis On The Air from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday and rebroadcast Tuesday night at 10 p.m.

>> Live updates for mobile users

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

In their first of two debates this week, the two major-party candidates for St. Louis County executive — Republican Rick Stream and Democrat Steve Stenger — each portrayed himself as the true leader that the county needs at a time of job loss and social unrest.

Each also accused the other of being too close to the current county executive, Democrat Charlie Dooley.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated noon, Thursday, Oct. 9)

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal is the star of Republican Rick Stream’s television ad, an unusual example of cross-party dynamics in the race for St. Louis County executive.  

Chappelle-Nadal, a University City Democrat, appears in an ad promoting Stream’s bipartisan credentials. 

African-American elected officials announce that they endorse Rick Stream, a Republican, for St. Louis County Executive. 10/1/14
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

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:

Payback.

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.

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

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:

police line ferguson 81814
Ray Jones | UPI

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is defending its decision to approve funds for “crisis communications” in response to the unrest in Ferguson.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

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.

Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

There’s no better confirmation that a controversy is affecting a campaign than when the targeted candidate faces the camera and simply talks about the issue at hand.

So it is with Steve Stenger, the Democratic nominee for St. Louis County executive. His first ad addresses what’s arguably his biggest political headache: Ferguson.

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