© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dooley, Stenger Focus On Rounding Up Votes As Polls Open

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 9 a.m.,Tues., Aug. 5)

As today’s voting gets underway, the two men competing in the region’s hottest primary contest – St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and his Democratic rival, Councilman Steve Stenger – are busily scrounging up support.

Accompanied by his wife and newborn daughter, Stenger showed up around 8 a.m. this morning at his polling place in Affton to cast his ballot and begin a day filled with stops at polling places around the county.

When asked about turnout, Stenger predicted, "I think it's going to be good...I think people are ready for change and energized to make that change."

Monday night, Dooley exuded confidence that the public was happy with with him and will vote to keep him in office.  “I’ve very optimistic,’’ Dooley said, shortly before addressing about 75 supporters at a rally at the United Auto Workers office in Hazelwood.

Like Stenger, Dooley also planned to spend much of today traveling around the county to visit polling places and mingle with voters.

Credit Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio
Charlie Dooley mingles with supporters at election-eve rally in Hazelwood.

At the rally, Dooley was joined by county Assessor Jake Zimmerman and county prosecutor candidate Leslie Broadnax, among others, as they sought to encourage their audience to help get out the vote.

Lew Moye, head of the area's Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, sought to rev up the ground by recalling President Barack Obama's campaign-speech closer: "Fired Up! Ready to go!"

The aim of the really, said Dooley, was indeed to “to get everybody fired up. We’re going to go out there and bring this home.”

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stenger, of Affton, also was in north St. Louis County Monday night attending a union rally on his behalf, said spokesman Ed Rhode. The event was apparently closed to the press and comes just days after a similar event in south St. Louis County, the spokesman said.

Credit Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio
Steve Stenger holds his daughter, Madeline, after casting his ballot at his polling place in Affton. His wife, Allison, is at left.

Stenger has garnered most of the region’s labor support, with the key exceptions of the UAW and the Service Employees International Union. Tuesday’s balloting could determine which union factions will wield the most clout.

Stenger has spent the last few days going door to door, and his campaign operation has conducted 30,000 phone calls to potential voters just since Sunday phone calls, Rhode said.

Former Sen. Jean Carnahan was featured in a robo-call Monday on Stenger’s behalf.

Meanwhile, Dooley’s campaign has been circulating statements from his business and political supporters, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.

Credit Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio
Tony Pousosa (left) and Rick Stream

Dooley campaign treasurer John Temporiti dismissed speculation that a significant number of Republicans will cross over and take Democratic ballots to vote for Stenger.  Temporiti said that the GOP’s own contest for county executive – between state Rep. Rick Stream of Kirkwood and Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa – would likely prompt most Republicans to vote in their own primary.

Even so, Stream sent out a Tweet on Monday that exhorted Republicans to stick with their party’s county-executive candidates and vote for him.

Neither Stream nor Pousosa announced any public appearances Monday or today.  All four candidates have special "victory'' parties planned for tonight; for two of the contenders, the events will be bittersweet since they will have lost.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.