South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

EDITORIAL: Margin of Stenger’s win comes as a real surprise

Call the Tune

While some political pundits predicted that Steve Stenger would prevail over incumbent Charlie Dooley in the Democratic primary for county executive, Stenger’s margin of victory surprised just about everyone.

Stenger of Affton, who has represented the 6th District on the County Council since 2009, received 84,980 votes, or 66.46 percent, to Dooley’s 39,027 votes, or 30.52 percent. Perennial candidate Ron Levy of Affton received 3,861 votes, or 3.02 percent.

Stenger now will face Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, in November.

Also seeking the county executive’s post are Libertarian Theo “Ted” Brown Sr. of north county and Constitution Party candidate Joe Passanise of Creve Coeur.

Dooley of Northwoods, who has served as county executive since October 2003, should be applauded for his many years of service to St. Louis County. He represented the 1st District on the County Council from 1994 until he was appointed county executive after the death of George R. “Buzz” Westfall. Dooley was elected to four-year terms as county executive in 2006 and 2010.

During the years the Call has covered St. Louis County, we’ve found Dooley to be very personable. While we haven’t always agreed with him, Dooley is a class act. Certainly that was evident the night of Aug. 5 when he wished Stenger well during his concession speech.

That said, the real question is: Why did Stenger defeat Dooley by a landslide? We believe part of the answer is that Dooley’s closest advisers — top aides Garry Earls and Mike Jones and County Counselor Pat Redington — let him down by providing some downright poor counsel. The result has been repeated scandals, cronyism, nepotism, political favors and investigations.

Perhaps the bigger part of the answer is how Dooley isolated himself from residents, especially those in south county.

For example, during a forum in 2004 when Republican Gene McNary, a former county executive, and Dooley were vying for the county’s top post, Dooley said, “… If south county wants something or they don’t want something, I’m going to listen to you. I’m going to listen to what you want …”

Really? Two words sum up how well Dooley listened to south county — trash districts.

In the end, despite Dooley’s claim that things in St. Louis County were “simply outstanding,” voters agreed with Stenger that 10 years of Dooley’s leadership was long enough.

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