Stenger faces Stream on Nov. 4 ballot

The St. Louis American

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

By Chris King

View Original Story Here

In the November 4 election, one of the most closely watched races statewide will be between Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream battling for the St. Louis County Executive seat.

Stream’s supporters say the current budget chairman for the Missouri House of Representatives has the financial background to be a solid administrator, while his opponents say his voting record is extreme even for a conservative. Stream was also a former budget manager for the U.S. Department of Defense.

As a current St. Louis County Councilman, Stenger understands the various county agencies and county departments, his supporters say. He is also a lawyer and a certified public accountant. Opponents say Stenger has a record of working against diversity and inclusion measures on the council. He’s also closely aligned with St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, the Ferguson protest movement’s most resented and distrusted target.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman, a Democrat who previously served in the state House of Representatives, seeks reelection against a little-know Republican named Andrew Ostrowski. Zimmerman has been endorsed by both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which said he “is working for the best interests of the citizens of St. Louis County,” and the black Democrats organized as the Fannie Lou Hamer coalition, who say he “has been nothing but fair to everyone who lives and works in the county.”

State Senate races

Three state Senate races will be on the ballot. Democratic State Rep. Jill Schupp of Creve Coeur will run against Republican Jay Ashcroft to succeed state Sen. John Lamping, a Republican of Ladue.

Most notably, Schupp has a track record of strongly advocating for expanding Medicaid, while Ashcroft has not taken a stance on the federal healthcare plan. The son of well-known conservative father — former U.S. Attorney General and Missouri Governor John Ashcroft – Jay has said he favors tax cuts over tax credits for special interests.

State Sen. Joe Keaveny, an attorney, will run for re-election in the city’s 4th Senate District, which also includes parts of St. Louis County. Keaveny recently helped build bipartisan support for a bill to fund early childhood education statewide, House Bill 1689. Keaveny has a silent challenger, Republican Courtney Blunt, a committeewoman for the city’s 13th Ward, who has not fundraised and hardly campaigned.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who has represented District 14 in the Missouri State Senate since 2010, will run unopposed in her re-election. Her visibility has risen dramatically as a result of her frontline advocacy of Ferguson protestors.

Recorder of Deeds

In St. Louis City, two candidates are vying for the office of Recorder of Deeds, which is in charge of recording all property transactions and issuing marriage licenses as well as birth and death records. Jennifer Florida is the current Recorder of Deeds, and Sharon Carpenter stepped down from the post in July because of a violation of the state’s nepotism law when she hired a fourth-generation nephew as a summer intern.

The penalty for nepotism is forfeiting the office, and Mayor Francis Slay appointed Florida after Carpenter’s resignation, though Carpenter is now running to reclaim her seat.

Florida has a huge fundraising advantage in the race, St. Louis Public Radio reported. As of Oct. 15, she had $34,000 to spend in the race, while Carpenter only had $4,000. However, shortly after the October filing deadline, Florida received an additional $25,000 from wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield.

Carpenter, who held the office for three decades, is running as the Democratic nominee and Florida as an independent.

Amendments

Missouri voters have four constitutional amendments on the November ballot – ranging from early voting to the admissibility of prior sex crimes, teacher tenure and the governor’s power over the state budget.

Amendment 2, “Prosecution of Sexual Crimes Against Children,” would make it permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under 18 years of age.

Amendment 3, “Teacher Tenure,” would require teachers to be evaluated by a state-approved evaluation system, limit teacher contracts to three years, and prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the evaluation system.

Amendment 6, “Early Voting,” would allow for early voting – only during “regular business hours” – from Wednesday through Friday two weeks before Election Day, then from Monday through Wednesday one week before Election Day.

Amendment 10, “Withhold Overrides,” would limit the governor’s budgetary authority, specifically his ability to withhold money temporarily from the budget each year.

This post was written by