CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) – The latest campaign finance reports by the Democratic candidates in the St. Louis County Executive race are a real eye opener for the incumbent.
Councilman Steve Stenger raised $223,000 in the last quarter, nearly twice as much as County Executive Charlie Dooley’s $118,000.
“It tells me that Stenger is in strong shape and Dooley is vulnerable,” University of Missouri-St. Louis political science professor Dave Robertson said.
Robertson believes Dooley was harmed by a string of financial scandals in the county as well as recent decisions by labor leaders and St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough to no longer endorse him.
Stenger officially announced his candidacy Tuesday before a crowd of nearly a hundred union leaders, firefighters, police officials, and Democratic Councilmen Mike O’Mara and Pat Dolan.
When asked by reporters about his opponent after Tuesday night’s County Council meeting, Dooley said Stenger “has been running for two years, I believe” and shrugged off suggestions that his own image has been harmed by an FBI investigation into subcontracting.
“That has nothing to do with me whatsoever so, again, let’s move on to something else,” Dooley said.
Councilman O’Mara had been a staunch supporter of Dooley until, O’Mara says, Dooley promised him there wouldn’t be layoffs in the County Parks Department.
“I had a handshake agreement with the county executive, with the parks director, and three weeks later we had 20 layoffs in the parks. That was kind of the start,” he explained.
Now O’Mara says he’s hearing dissatisfaction from across Dooley’s base of support in north St. Louis County.
“They’re going to come out and vote and I think they’re going to do what is best for the county and I think the change is going to be best for everybody in that region,” he added.
Along with Democratic Councilmen O’Mara and Dolan, Stenger also has the support of Republican Councilman Greg Quinn.
“I respect Steve Stenger quite a bit. I think he would do a very good job as a county executive,” Quinn said Tuesday. “I think he would get right to work at fixing what’s broken in St. Louis County.”
Quinn says he doesn’t think any contention between Stenger and Dooley will slow the work of the council. O’Mara says he will try to maintain decorum while sitting next to Dooley.