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Government, Politics & Issues

Richard Callow, a force in local, regional and state politics for two decades

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Name: Richard Callow

Party: Democratic

Age: 59

Education: University of Dallas, Boston College, Tufts University

Job: Publicist/President, Public Eye Inc. a St. Louis public relations consultancy.

Clout:  Callow came to St. Louis in 1990 to be St. Louis Mayor Vince Schoemehl’s communications director, and he’s been a behind-the-scenes force in local, state and regional politics ever since. He’s worked for all of the city’s mayors after Schoemehl and is currently a close confidante of Mayor Francis Slay; his partner, Barbara Geisman — formerly the city’s executive director of development — is currently a third-year law student at Washington University. If you want to get something done in the city, he’s a good guy to have in your corner, as the St. Louis Cardinals found when they hired him to help get politicians on board for a new stadium. Now, his PR firm has “a full roster of clients,” he says, though he declines to name them.

Current campaign work:  Slay’s re-election in 2013.

I know I’ve done a good job when:  “Barbara Geisman says I have and the newspaper doesn’t use my name in the subsequent story.”

Beyond November:  “In the city, they’ll be setting up a new police department (if local control passes).  In the state, I suspect you’ll see a strong push for an urban coalition on issues like transportation and economics.  St. Louis and Kansas City have a lot in common with each other, and there are lots of things a governor with higher aspirations needs from St. Louis and Kansas City.”

Biggest political disappointment: Dolph Briscoe’s win over Sissy Farenthold in the 1972 Texas Democratic gubernatorial primary.  Farenthold was a reformer and Callow was a college student.  “We thought students could vote and change anything.  Her loss was devastating.”

Political hero: Hillary Clinton.  “Steel, passion, smart.”

Most important November race:  Statewide vote on returning local control of police department to St. Louis.  “That’s the one I’ll watch.  It will make the discussion of public safety in the city of St. Louis very different.”

Most underrated race: Missouri Treasurer – incumbent Democrat Clint Zweifel vs. Republican State Rep. Cole McNary.  “This is the dress rehearsal for the governor’s race in four years.”

Biggest primary surprise: Tishaura Jones, city treasurer.  “She’s going to be mayor someday.”

Most overrated race: Missouri Governor.  “I cannot even remember the name of the rich guy who Nixon’s going to beat.  Race done.”

Biggest post-primary surprise:  A judge’s decision to order a new election between Democratic State Reps. Stacey Newman and Susan Carlson.  “Unfair to Newman.”

Todd Akin prediction:  He will stay in God bless him.  And he will lose.  I think Claire (McCaskill) is a formidable campaigner.

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