Steve Stenger

(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?

National Church Residences

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s latest attack ad focuses on a divisive south St. Louis County housing complex for the elderly. The ad is an attempt to attack Dooley's Democratic rival, Councilman Steve Stenger, and also appeal to elderly voters.

If history repeats itself, the elderly will be among the largest voting blocs in the Aug. 5 primary.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

What issues are most important to you, ahead of the Aug. 5 primary election? What might prompt you to vote for a particular candidate?

"St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh is preparing to interview the candidates who are running for St. Louis County executive, in the contested races in the Democratic and Republican primaries, and we invite you to share questions you would like Marsh ask the them.

According to the latest U.S. census figures, St. Louis County is home to close to 30,000 non-farm-related businesses – about one-fifth of Missouri’s total -- that employ at least 546,000 people.

Add in one-person firms, such as real estate agents or solo-practice lawyers, and the number of county businesses swells to roughly 80,000.

Wikipedia

(Updated 12 p.m. Thursday, July 17)

The nasty contest for St. Louis County executive got even nastier today when incumbent Democrat Charlie Dooley launched a new TV ad that attacks rival Steve Stenger for a client he represented 14 years ago as a court-ordered attorney in a prostitution case.

(Campaign Photos)

Blame all that spending on TV ads.   St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger has heavily outspent County Executive Charlie Dooley in the last months in their battle for Dooley's job in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary.

The latest campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the Missouri Ethics Commission show that Stenger spent $656,473 in the past three months. In comparison, Dooley spent only $351,582.

Overall, their spending is a bit closer: Stenger has spent $981,841 overall, compared to $661,971 for Dooley.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real. 

And by “getting real,” I mean getting "real expensive.”

Tuesday is the deadline for campaign committees to turn in their fund-raising reports. These are the documents showing how much money political candidates and ballot initiatives have for the final push to the Aug. 5 primary.  They can also reveal how much cash is being shelled out in competitive primaries.

(Campaign Photos)

St. Louis Public Radio’s efforts to host a debate between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and his chief Democratic rival, Councilman Steve Stenger, appear to have failed.

While Dooley’s campaign had agreed in principle to a debate hosted by the station, Dooley has not agreed to any of the dates St. Louis Public Radio offered. Instead, the Dooley campaign insists that any debate be held at the station on Thursday, July 31 or Friday, Aug. 1. That’s just days before the Aug. 5 primary.

(Campaign Photos)

The race receiving the most regional attention ahead of the August primary in Missouri is the contest for the Democratic nomination for St. Louis County executive.  Three candidates are seeking the nomination including 10-year incumbent Charlie Dooley. County Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, is his chief opponent.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Talk about ending the "Great Divorce" between St. Louis and St. Louis County has churned on for years. But discussions have heated up in recent months.

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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.

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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.)

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A top aide to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley unleashed scathing criticism Tuesday at his boss’ Democratic rival for county executive. 

It was part of yet another highly charged county council meeting filled with arguments, insults, recriminations and heated confrontations.

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.”

(St. Louis County website)

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has been “the issue’’ in each of his re-election campaigns during the past 10 years, with his opponent focusing on what they have seen as his flaws.

Each time, though, Dooley has won. That is why, when Dooley talks about the importance of experience, it has a dual meaning — referring to his political career and his job.

Steve Stenger
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The turmoil in the Normandy School District is spilling over into the race for St. Louis County executive. 

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

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.

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A week after he pledged to do so, St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, has released six years of his state returns. It's the latest salvo in the continued sparring over taxes with County Executive Charlie Dooley.

The two men are battling over Dooley’s job in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary.

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St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has gone up with his first series of TV ads in his campaign to win re-election. And he’s adopting a two-pronged approach.

One ad, which begin airing Thursday, is the classic “feel good’’ spot aimed at making Dooley look good. The second spot is an attack ad intended to raise questions about Democratic rival Steve Stenger's personal finances.

Dooley's campaign also is going live with an attack website: www.StengersSecret.com.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley signed an executive order on Wednesday establishing minority participation goals for county contracts. His move comes a day after the St. Louis County Council rejected bills on the issue. 

The situation showcases the escalating hostility between Dooley and a county council increasingly aligned with Councilman Steve Stenger, the Affton Democrat who is challenging the incumbent this August.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has claimed in recent weeks that he never proposed shutting down county parks in 2011. But now, as the issue begins to heat up again, Dooley is, in his own words, "walking back" from his comments.

Dooley told St. Louis Public Radio that he “never proposed shutting down anything,” adding that “people will be saying things every election cycle about Charlie Dooley. Just because they say it doesn’t make it so.”

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Politically Speaking is shifting gears this summer. With the legislature out of session, and the August primary on the horizon, we've decided to interview some of the state’s most prominent political consultants who play key roles behind the scenes.

This week, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomed St. Louis lawyer Jane Dueker to the show. 

Note: You can subscribe to us on iTunes now.

candidate photos

St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger has launched  his first TV ads in the already combative Aug. 5 Democratic contest for St. Louis County Executive.

And in a break from the usual campaign protocol, Stenger has gone immediately on the attack.

Both of his two 30-second ads aim directly at Democratic incumbent Charlie Dooley and two of the hottest controversies plaguing his administration: FBI investigations and a 2011 plan to cut the county’s parks budget.

One of the ads features County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who calls for Dooley’s defeat.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council melted down on Tuesday during consideration of minority participation legislation. 

It was the latest sign of boiling election year tensions between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and members of the council aligned with Councilman Steve Stenger, a fellow Democrat vying for county executive.

candidate photos

(Updated 11:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29)

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says he’s not budging from his stance that he won’t agree to any debates or forums this summer with County Councilman Steve Stenger until Stenger releases more details on his taxes.

“There’s no reason for Charlie to engage with his opponent until his opponent has been as transparent with the voters as Charlie has been,’’ said Dooley campaign spokeswoman Linda Goldstein.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Tensions boiled over Tuesday between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and the St. Louis County Council over an audit of the county’s fraud controls. 

It was perhaps the fiestiest public sparring between Dooley and Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, who are running against each other in the Democratic primary for county executive.

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