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Politically Speaking: Democrat Richard Orr on turning a St. Charles County-based Senate seat blue

Richard Orr
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Democrat Richard Orr to the program.

Orr is the Democratic nominee for the 23rd state Senatorial District, which takes in a portion of St. Charles County. He’s a buyer and instructor for a kayaking company. Orr is squaring off against Republican Bill Eigel, a businessman who won a highly competitive GOP primary earlier this month. (Eigel appeared on Politically Speaking earlier this week.)

The 23rd District has remained in Republican hands for several decades. Some Democrats have expressed optimism that the district could be competitive, especially since a lot of union members from north St. Louis County moved to St. Charles County. But Republicans have won in the district in the last few election cycles by comfortable margins.

So far, Orr’s fundraising has been fairly light. But he expects his campaign coffers to expand, especially since Eigel is a proponent of “right to work.” And with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump careening in the polls, Orr could bank on a souring national environment for the GOP to help him get across the finish line ahead of Eigel.

Here’s some of what Orr had to say during the show:

  • He has support of unions that previously endorsed state Rep. Anne Zerr, a Republican who lost to Eigel in the GOP primary.
  • Unlike Eigel, Orr opposes “right to work.” That would bar a unionized entity from making workers pay dues or fees as a condition of employment. “Stopping right to work is a very important issue for me, because it’s not in the best interest of the workers of St. Charles County or for the rest of Missouri,” he said.
  • Orr is also an opponent of vouchers, and is generally a skeptic of the school transfer law that’s had a big impact on St. Charles County.
  • He thinks the environment could be right for a St. Charles County Democrat to break through in a traditionally Republican Senate seat. “My theme of running is to restore common sense to Jefferson City,” he said. “Because there has not been a lot of that in evidence recently.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Richard Orr on Facebook by clicking here

Music: “The Real Me” by The Who

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
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.