Mark Mantovani | St. Louis Public Radio

Mark Mantovani

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger walks out of federal court Friday after pleading guilty to federal charges.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum reflect on the rise and fall of former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

The Democratic official was sentenced to 46 months in prison last week for his role in a pay-to-play scheme. He’s been the subject of public scorn after a sentencing memo detailed vulgar and boorish comments about his political enemies.

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and his attorney Scott Rosenblum leave the federal courthouse in St. Louis Monday afternoon after Stenger pleaded not guilty to federal pay-to-play charges. April 29, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:15 p.m., April 29 with more information from Stenger's court appearance — Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he steered county contracts to big campaign donors.

Stenger appeared in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Noelle Collins Monday, hours after resigning as county executive. He was released without having to pay bond, but will not be allowed to travel outside of eastern Missouri without permission.

St. Louis County executive candidate Mark Mantovani was defeated by incumbent Steve Stenger on Tuesday by about 1,100 votes. Mantovani has not yet decided whether to seek a recount, Aug. 8, 2018
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Democrat Mark Mantovani is holding off on conceding the St. Louis County executive’s contest.

Mantovani is trailing St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger by less than 1 percentage point. While emphasizing that he’s not planning to contest the election, Mantovani says “uncounted and outstanding provisional ballots” exceed the difference between the two candidates. 

Wesley Bell, candidate for St. Louis County prosecutor, votes at First Presbyterian Church in Ferguson on Tuesday morning. Aug. 7, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If Missourians proved anything on Tuesday, it’s that they aren’t predictable when it comes to how they vote.

Less than two years removed from endorsing President Donald Trump and a slate of GOP statewide aspirants, voters overwhelmingly repealed the party’s signature policy, right to work, from the law books. But instead of backing candidates that won the blessing of organized labor groups, St. Louis and St. Louis County voters decided to go in very different directions.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger speaks with reporters after winning the Democratic primary for county executive.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger likely is headed toward re-election, after a razor-thin victory over businessman Mark Mantovani in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

“Today’s victory shows that voters believe we are moving St. Louis County in the right direction,” Stenger said during his late-night victory speech.

But Mantovani had yet to concede; he lost by roughly 1,100 votes. His campaign said it would release a statement Wednesday. He will also look at the implications of what it means to ask for a recount.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger faces challenger Mark Mantovani in the August 2018 Democratic primary
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County voters are just days away from effectively deciding whether County Executive Steve Stenger stays in office or is replaced by businessman Mark Mantovani.

And with election day looming, both men are continuing their record-setting spending spree, with most of it going to TV ads.

Their last pre-election campaign-finance reports, filed Monday, show the two have spent almost $1 million on TV ads just since July 1.

Democratic candidate for St. Louis County executive Mark Mantovani is looking to replace incumbent Steve Stenger.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Democratic candidate for St. Louis County executive Mark Mantovani is a former businessman turned politician. His name will appear next to incumbent County Executive Steve Stenger’s on the Aug. 7 ballot for Missouri voters.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Mantovani joined host Don Marsh, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies and listeners to discuss his campaign for county executive.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking takes a look at three competitive elections in St. Louis County. It comes as relations between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the St. Louis County Council have deteriorated.

Stenger is facing an expensive bid for re-election against businessman Mark Mantovani. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is engaged in an increasingly high-profile race against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell. And two Democrats are challenging Councilman Pat Dolan’s bid for re-election.

The report on the wealth gap relies on data from the Federal Reserve Board from 1983 through 2016.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

After ruling that a proposed St. Louis County charter amendment had a misleading ballot summary, a judge struck down a measure to enact campaign donation limits and restrict fund transfers between county departments.

It’s a decision that could have a major impact on future elections for St. Louis County executive.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is going into the 2018 election cycle with few strong allies on the county council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

The race to represent the 5th District on the St. Louis County Council comes amid a backdrop of extreme discord between Council members and the county executive.

County Executive Steve Stenger came into office in January 2015, with most of the Council on his side. As time went on, six out of the seven members -- many of them fellow Democrats -- ended up against him. The upshot is that Councilman Pat Dolan has become Stenger’s lone ally.

Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, is hoping to retain that designation after the Aug. 7 primary election. He’s facing a strong challenge from Lisa Clancy, a Maplewood Democrat who wants to supply a “fresh voice” on the Council.

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is heading into the final weeks of his primary campaign with a hefty financial edge over Democratic rival Mark Mantovani as the two continue their expensive battle on TV.

And now, U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, is joining them by also going on TV, even though she is expected to easily win the Republican primary.

Wagner’s decision to run ads before the Aug. 7 primary is notable – especially since she didn’t run any TV spots in 2016, according to her campaign staff.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger to the program.

The Democratic chief executive of Missouri’s largest county is running for a second four-year term. His main opposition is in the Democratic primary this August, where businessman Mark Mantovani is seeking to oust him. There are no well-known Republicans seeking the office.

Members of the Fannie Lou Hamer Democratic Coalition stand with businessman Mark Mantovani, in back, at an endorsement event on May 5, 2018.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Several dozen Democratic African-American officials in St. Louis County are endorsing businessman Mark Mantovani for county executive — and opposing incumbent Democrat Steve Stenger.

“We need a person who’s going to work for all the people in St. Louis,’’ said Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy at an event Saturday at Mantovani’s new regional campaign office in north St. Louis County.

The group, known as the Fannie Lou Hamer Coalition, is pledging to help Mantovani in the August Democratic primary for the county’s top post. There is no well-known Republican seeking the job.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger faces challenger Mark Mantovani in the August 2018 Democratic primary
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s only April, and already the contest for St. Louis County executive appears to be headed toward the spending record books.

More than four months before the August Democratic primary, incumbent Steve Stenger and Mark Mantovani have – combined – raised and spent more than their predecessors.

Mark Mantovani
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Businessman Mark Mantovani — a Democrat challenging St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger — joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies for the latest episode of Politically Speaking.

A graduate of St. Louis University High School, Mantovani grew up in the region and is a former lawyer making his first bid for public office. He is arguably the best-known and best-financed of all of Stenger’s potential opponents for the job overseeing the state’s largest county and its 1 million residents.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 28, 2011 - Carol Coletta, founder and first director for her new organization ArtPlace and an expert in city development, was the keynote speaker at the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis' annual conference. "The changes that are underway in St. Louis are breathtaking," Coletta said.