McCaskill, Wagner, Galloway, Stenger: Call makes more endorsements for next week’s elections

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Editorial by the Call

The Call makes the following endorsements for the election Tuesday, Nov. 6. You can also read the Call’s endorsements for state legislative races and Crestwood mayor and Missouri constitutional amendments and propositions

U.S. Senate

The race at the top of the Nov. 6 ballot, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Kirkwood, versus Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Columbia Republican, is an easy one for us.

First, Hawley didn’t return our questionnaire, which makes him ineligible for our endorsement. But more importantly, we feel McCaskill’s middle-of-the-road voting record should return her to Congress. The Call is always a fan of divided government, and we think Missourians are served well with a senator from each party representing them.

Many federal races this year have focused on health care, and McCaskill’s stance on health care is straightforward in supporting the continued existence of “ObamaCare.” That is in direct, stark contrast to Hawley’s incoherent stance of suing to get rid of protections for pre-existing conditions while simultaneously supporting continued mandates that those very protections still be covered.

We prefer that Hawley stay on as Missouri attorney general, a job he took less than two years ago while promising that he had no aspirations to run for anything else. We appreciate his performance as attorney general, especially his tenacity when it comes to enforcing the Sunshine Law. Before he took the office, it seemed the attorney general rarely found it necessary to actually enforce the Sunshine Law. We hope that this dedication was sincere rather than a resume builder and that this focus on transparency will continue if Hawley doesn’t ascend to the U.S. Senate.

The Call endorses Claire McCaskill.

U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District

For the 2nd District U.S. House of Representatives seat, the Call endorses incumbent Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin.

Wagner has served the district well, tackling sex trafficking with a vengeance and bringing a practical viewpoint to solving problems in Congress that we’ve always appreciated. We like the new and fresh ideas of her opponent, Democratic attorney Cort VanOstran, but we see no reason to show Wagner the door just yet.

The Call endorses Ann Wagner.

Missouri state auditor

In the statewide race for auditor, the clear-cut choice is Democratic incumbent Nicole Galloway, who is facing off against challengers including Republican attorney Saundra McDowell. But McDowell turned us off with her antics at a Missouri Press Association forum, where she called Galloway a “dog.” Missouri deserves an elevated level of discourse among its chief leaders.

It also deserves a top fiscal watchdog who has her own financial affairs in order. McDowell has a trail of unpaid bills and does not actually meet the requirement that she live in the state for 10 years before running for office.

And to make the decision even easier, Galloway has done a commendable job as auditor, even taking on fellow Democrats when she has to. Although we wish she would have gone further in her audit of the Fox School District.

The Call endorses Nicole Galloway.

St. Louis County executive

Republican Paul Berry III is challenging Democratic County Executive Steve Stenger. Berry’s financial issues are embarrassing, including a threat by a woman who won a lawsuit to garnish his county executive wages.

We hope Stenger’s next four years can usher in an era of cooperative goodwill with the County Council. Time will tell.

No matter what he accomplished in his first four years, he will be remembered more for what he does next. We’ll be watching.

The Call endorses Steve Stenger.

St. Louis County assessor

When Jake Zimmerman was elected St. Louis County’s first (and so far, only) elected assessor in 2011, he promised that he would be “nobody’s puppet.”

And he’s proved that to be true. Zimmerman’s opponent, Republican Dan Hyatt, appears to be motivated more by bringing down his own assessments than a knowledge of how to better assess.

Zimmerman is currently the least controversial sitting politician in county government, which may not be saying much. But it’s something, and we want him back in office.

The Call endorses Jake Zimmerman.

St. Louis County Council — 3rd District

Former St. Louis County police Chief Tim Fitch, a Republican, is running against Democratic former Kirkwood Councilman Paul Ward.

We appreciate how Fitch has taken the time to visit every Board of Aldermen or City Council in his district, including Crestwood and Sunset Hills, and look forward to what that kind of active representation might mean for the 3rd District. We also think that he can avoid some of the learning curve of new council members since he’s so familiar with the county budget and St. Louis County Police Department from his years as the police chief. He’s a worthy successor to longtime 3rd District Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Huntleigh.

The Call endorses Tim Fitch.

St. Louis County Charter

A series of proposed county Charter amendments await voters.

We suggest a “yes” vote on Proposition 1 for campaign-finance limits, yes on Proposition 2 to protect county parks, no on Proposition B because of disputing accounts of how it would affect budgetary transfers, yes on Proposition C to publish information online, yes on Proposition D to convene a county Charter Commission and yes on Proposition F to ban smoking on half of casino floors. Proposition E, a full countywide indoor smoking ban, appears on ballots but votes will not be counted after a judge threw it off the ballot in September.

Proposition 1 — yes

Proposition 2 — yes

Proposition B  — no

Proposition C  — yes

Proposition D — yes

Proposition E  — votes don’t count

Proposition F — yes

Prop Z

In case you didn’t know, the “Z” in Proposition Z stands for Zoo. The St. Louis Zoo wants a permanent sales-tax increase to fund a new satellite conservation breeding ground in north county.

We have no doubt this will pass, and we could certainly make a good case for rewarding one of the crown jewels of St. Louis.

With all the other county priorities, we can’t endorse an extra zoo tax at this time. But we’ll probably be first in line.

The Call endorses a “no” vote on Prop Z.