ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–The Carpenters Union withdraws its longtime support from County Executive Charlie Dooley, who faces re-election next year in the shadow of an ongoing FBI investigation.
“Charlie Dooley’s credibility in my opinion is tarnished beyond repair,” said Terry Nelson, Executive Secretary of the St. Louis Carpenters District Council, “There’s nothing he can do to repair what has happened with this FBI investigation. This is like a plague. It’s not going to get any better.”
Nelson was referring to the FBI probe into a St. Louis County Police Board $3.7 million subcontract that went to a company co-owned by the then board chairman, Greg Sansone, whom Dooley had appointed. Sansone was named in a federal subpoena and stepped down last month.
“If I was to say something to Charlie today, I’d say ‘Charlie, it’s time for you to move on,” Nelson said, “Let’s let somebody more efficient and effective move in.”
Nelson’s breakup with Dooley comes after the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO also warned its longtime support of Dooley is “up in the air.”
Council President Bob Soutier said late last month he was upset with Dooley’s nomination of former Republican candidate for Missouri Governor Dave Spence to fill out the unexpired term of Sansone as chairman of the police board. Soutier said Spence’s vocal support of Right to Work legislation during his run for governor makes him “anti-union.”
Spence responded that his position on labor issues would not be relevant to the chairmanship of the police board. The nomination of Spence and another nominee, The Reverend Dr. Freddy Clark, still awaits approval from the St. Louis County Council, which has called for background checks into both men.
Meanwhile, Nelson says he will lobby Senator Claire McCaskill and Congressman Lacy Clay to pressure Dooley to bow out of the race.
“I’m going to head up to Washington D.C. and I’m going to spend some time with Claire, and I think that’s one of the things we will be talking about,” Nelson said, “Maybe you oughta talk to your buddy Charlie Dooley and tell him it’s time to move on. We’re going to say the same thing to Lacy Clay. Don’t you think it’s time for him to move on?”
In lieu of Dooley, Nelson says his union will support Democratic County Councilman Steve Stenger for county executive. Stenger has not formally announced his candidacy, but has been rumored for months to be preparing to run. .
Political Science Professor Reacts
Dooley’s loss of support from the carpenters union may be significant, according to UMSL Political Science Professor Dave Robertson.
“It’s pretty important and the loss of the carpenters support is a blow to Charlie Dooley,” Robertson said, “And the reason is not only will the resources of the carpenters union be withdrawn from Dooley, but the signal from a pretty important force is that other groups should consider, or reconsider, their support for the county executive.”
Dooley would face his first hurdle toward re-election in the August 2014 primary, ahead of the November general election.
“Stenger is likely to be a formidable challenger,” Robertson said, “He’s likely to have support not just from the carpenters. The carpenters have not just financial support but boots on the ground that in a primary can work to get a candidate enough votes to oust an incumbent . This is a real serious challenger to Charlie Dooley’s incumbency .”
KMOX reached out to several former Dooley campaign officials — John Temporiti, Katie Jamboretz and Richard Callow — seeking reaction. No one was available for comment.