Cheat Sheet: A Quick Guide To Candidates And Issues On Tuesday's Ballot | St. Louis Public Radio

Cheat Sheet: A Quick Guide To Candidates And Issues On Tuesday's Ballot

Oct 31, 2014

Credit 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.

By comparison: In 2010, the last non-presidential statewide election, slightly more than 50 percent of St. Louis County’s voters showed up. Statewide that year, voter turnout hovered at about 47 percent.

St. Louis County’s prediction for Tuesday’s election hinges on voter interest in the contest for county executive — arguably the region’s marquee race.

The two major candidates are Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream. Stenger is a member of the St. Louis County Council; Stream is ending eight years in the Missouri House.

Their battle has been expensive, with the two men spending more than $1 million combined in October alone.  The victor will succeed longtime incumbent County Executive Charlie Dooley, whom Stenger defeated in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary.

The Stream/Stenger contest has become enmeshed in the Ferguson unrest,  and some African-American officials have broken with their party and endorsed Stream. They are upset with Stenger's political alliance with St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who is overseeing the grand jury investigation into the Aug. 9 police shooting in Ferguson that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

McCulloch also is up for re-election on Tuesday, but he has no opponent. County Assessor Jake Zimmerman also is seeking re-election; his Republican rival, Andrew Ostrowski, has campaigned little.

The statewide choices facing voters this election are primarily about issues, not candidates.

The only statewide election is for state auditor, but incumbent Republican Tom Schweich has no Democratic opponent. In 2010, Missouri also had a spirited battle for the U.S. Senate.

Instead, Missouri voters will face four proposed constitutional amendments:

  • Amendment 2, which would allow a criminal suspect’s past history of alleged criminal acts, even if no charges were filed, to be used in sex-crime cases involving victims under the age of 18;
  • Amendment 3, which among other things would eliminate teacher tenure;
  • Amendment 6, which would set up a system of early voting, but only if the General Assembly appropriates the money;
  • Amendment 10, which would curb the governor’s powers when it comes to withholding spending in the state budget.

Elsewhere in the region, voters in the city of St. Louis will choose a new recorder of deeds.  The incumbent is Jennifer Florida, who is running as an independent. She was appointed to the post this summer after veteran Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter was forced to resign because of nepotism accusations.

Carpenter is the Democratic nominee, and is seeking to get her job back. The two were dueling in court Friday afternoon, because the St. Louis Election Board was barring Florida from using the term "independent Democrat'' on her campaign literature. Carpenter sided with the board.

Two of the state's hottest contests for the state Senate are in the St. Louis area, involving the 24th District in central St. Louis County and the 22nd District in Jefferson County.

A handful of competitive state House contests also will be decided on Tuesday, with the largest bloc in Jefferson County.

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