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County Executive Dooley Officially Kicks Off Re-election

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley officially announced his re-election campaign Thursday night, and the Democratic primary for County Executive is set to be contentious.

Dooley’s opponent, Steve Stenger has been emboldened by county scandals involving the police board and health department.

But standing next to Mayor Francis Slay and Congressman Lacy Clay, Dooley’s message was clear: he hasn’t lost all of his allies.

“And finally but not last, I have to say this with all sincerity: folks, I do have union friends. I do," Dooley said, garnering laughter from the audience.

Dooley emphasized the importance of regionalism, as well as his support of the city re-entering the county.

Stenger has previously said it’s premature for him to take a stance on the issue.

“I think at this point, it’s a little premature to make some kind of endorsement or some kind of choice in regard to that,” Stenger said in mid-October.

In the past few months, Stenger has succeeded in getting a lot of big donations for his campaign. The County Councilman has brought in $225,000 in large donations since July -- Dooley only got $27,750 in such donations.

Of course, it's not all doom and gloom for Dooley on the fundraising side. Both candidates reported having fairly similar amounts of cash on hand in mid-October (Dooley with $402,000 and Stenger with $492,000).

Speaking to reporters after his announcement, Dooley says he’s not worried.

“He can’t outraise me, okay?" Dooley said. "He can’t get more votes than me, that’s going to be impossible. He can’t out-work me.”

In a statement, Stenger's campaign wrote "I look forward to discussing the issues with Mr. Dooley over the next several months including my plan to restore trust, credibility and a AAA bond rating to St. Louis County."

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel