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Government, Politics & Issues

Dooley captures close race to remain county executive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 3, 2010 - With 94 percent of the precincts reporting in St. Louis County, incumbent County Executive Charlie Dooley pulled ahead of Republican challenger Bill Corrigan after trailing for most of the night. Corrigan conceded the election, saying he wished Dooley well.

The vote count was 171,953 or 49.13 percent for Dooley compared with 170,159, or 48.61 percent for Corrigan, with 597 of 631 precincts reporting.

In his victory speech, Dooley said:

"This race is about what's best for St. Louis County. If you create a program, if you're honest with people, they'll reward you, they'll vote for you. I appreciate it. I've been doing this for over 30 years and this is the most gratifying win of all. I didn't get her by myself. In closing, four more years!"

He told the Beacon:

"Normally, when you first get your absentee ballots, you get an idea about how the trends are going to be. This time I was down 10 percentage points -- that's unheard of. When I realized that that had nothing to do with North County or Central County, I knew it was going to be a long night. But we felt in our hearts we would we would succeed."

Earlier in the evening, with Corrigan leading by as much as 10 percentage points, Dooley had told the crowd at his election-night gathering that he wasn't worried.

"I am still excited about this race," he said with only 37 percent of the precincts reporting.

"The numbers we're getting are from West County and if we're doing this well in West County, we're going to win this race. We have no numbers from North County and very little from Central. It makes for a delayed celebration and a long night but at the end of the night, we'll be victorious."

As more votes came in and the margin between the two narrowed, John Temporiti, Dooley's campaign manager, told the gathering that votes yet to be counted came from areas that traditionally had supported the incumbent.

"Hang in and get ready to celebrate," Temporiti told the crowd.

And they did. Dooley supporter Eryka Porter, age 31, said, "I was a little worried earlier, but then I found out North County precincts were not in, so I started to mellow out a little bit. And now, I'm elated."

In his concession statement, Corrigan said that his campaign had been about economic development, tax reduction and revitalization of the county -- "our future and our children's future and our grandchildren's future."

Saying that "this campaign has shown that the Republican Party is a viable party for St. Louis County," Corrigan added:

"We're (the county) in decline and we need to turn this county around. With the right vision we can."
"We had a dream to lead this county," Corrigan said, "and that dream has not died. To the people of St. Louis County, I was privileged to have served as your candidate."

Freelancer Nancy Fowler Larson and Beacon intern Alex Sciuto contributed to this story.

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