Steve Stenger | St. Louis Public Radio

Steve Stenger

Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

If you have watched any television lately, you'll have seen the barrage of ads in the Democratic race for St. Louis County executive -- one of the major races on the Aug. 5 primary ballot. County Executive Charlie Dooley, the incumbent for the past decade, is arguably in the political fight of his life with County Councilman Steve Stenger. While Dooley and Stenger are duking it out, House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, and Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa are waging a below the radar campaign.

Meet the candidates for county exec

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch
Courtesy of Bob McCulloch's office

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is confident enough about his own re-election that he’s taken the unusual step of using his campaign ads to promote Steve Stenger, a fellow Democrat running for St. Louis County executive.

On radio and on television, McCulloch is dedicating a few seconds in his 30-second ads to make clear that Stenger shares his view that “the conflicts and the corruption’’ in county government needs to end.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.  This week the trio discusses the last-minute money surge to the state’s primary candidates, as well as key races in St. Louis. 

The Politically Speaking crew also talked about U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s big donation to the state Democratic Party and what it means for state legislative contests in the fall.

On the show:

Parth Shah/St. Louis Public Radio

Let’s not mince any words: If he's elected later this year, neither St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley nor Councilman Steve Stenger will have any power to alter Missouri’s abortion policies. 

The county executive essentially has no authority to enact or repeal restrictions on abortion – the state does. And it’s highly unlikely that Stenger's or Dooley’s power of persuasion will change the course of a Missouri legislature overwhelmingly opposed to abortion rights.

Parth Shah/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated noon, Tuesday, July 29)

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is heading into the final week of his nasty primary with $140,000 more in his bank account than Democratic rival Steve Stenger.

That’s because Stenger has spent a lot more on TV ads in July than Dooley. Dooley’s edge means that he could fire back with a heavier counter-barrage of ads during the final days before the Aug. 5 Democratic primary.

Dooley reported $263,930 on hand as of Monday, compared to $123,564 for Stenger.

We know that you listen to us on air and check our website for news and information about our region. We hope that you look at our website every day, but we know that's not always possible. So, once a week, on Friday, we will highlight some of the website's top stories of the week.

Primary election 2014

Dooley And Stenger Defend Attack Ads On 'St. Louis On The Air'

(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.

candidate photos

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.

candidate photos

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
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

candidate photos

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.

candidate photos

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.

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