Newspaper makes endorsements for Aug. 3 primary

South county residents going to the polls for next week’s primary elections will face some tough choices in casting ballots for federal, state and county offices.

To help our readers make informed decisions about the candidates, this newspaper has profiled the candidates for each contested race and today the Call makes the following endorsements for the Tuesday, Aug. 3, primary elections:

2nd Congressional District

Two candidates — John Hogan and George D. Weber — are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional seat currently held by Todd Akin, R-St. Louis.

Without a doubt, Mr. Weber, who served as a state representative in 1965 and 1966 is the best choice to represent the Democratic Party in this race.

3rd Congressional District

Ten candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 3rd Congressional District seat currently held by Richard Gephardt, D-south county, in the Tuesday, Aug. 3, primary election.

The 10 candidates — Joan Barry, Michael Bram, Russ Carnahan, Mike Evans, Mariano Favazza, Jo Ann Karll, Corey Mohn, Jeff Smith, Mark Smith and Steve Stoll — are seeking the Democratic nomination to the seat Gephardt has held since 1976. He is not seeking re-election.

The candidates seeking the Democratic nod range from the excellent to the extreme — and there are several excellent candidates.

But based on her record of leadership representing the 100th District in the Missouri House from 1997 to 2003, the Call endorses Joan Barry. We believe south county and the entire 3rd District would be well represented in Congress by Mrs. Barry.

Two candidates — Bill Federer and Joan McGivney — are seeking the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional District seat.

Mr. Federer twice — 1998 and 2000 — has unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Gephardt. Mrs. McGivney, a former Webster Groves City Council and Board of Education member, has given careful thought to the issues facing the region’s citizens and we believe she would be the Republican’s best chance of recapturing the seat Rep. Gephardt has held since 1976.

1st Senate District

Two candidates — David A. Strickland and Bob Yeckel — are vying for the Republican nomination for the Missouri 1st District Senate seat currently held by Mr. Yeckel’s wife, Anita. Anita Yeckel cannot seek re-election to the Senate because of term limits and is seeking the Republican nomination for state treasurer in a seven-candidate race.

Thought we don’t agree with him on all the issues, we believe that without a doubt, Mr. Yeckel to be the best choice for Republicans for the 1st District Missouri Senate seat.

100th District Missouri House

Incumbent Rep. Sue Schoemehl is being challenged by Patricia Willeke in the Democratic primary for the 100th District Missouri House seat.

While Mrs. Willeke is an impressive candidate, we believe Rep. Schoemehl has done an excellent job of representing her district in the Missouri House and would best represent the Democratic Party in the general election.

County Executive

Six candidates, including incumbent Charlie Dooley, are vying for the Democratic nomination to the county executive’s post.

Besides Mr. Dooley, Carl Johnson, David J. Lee, Charlotte Meshell, John Basil Moldovan and Patrick Van Berkel are vying to finish the final two years of the late George R. “Buzz” Westfall’s term. Mr. Westfall died in October and Mr. Dooley unanimously was selected by the County Council to serve as county executive until the November election.

Though we haven’t always seen eye to eye with Mr. Dooley, we believe he’s done an excellent job as county executive. Given that, the Call endorses Mr. Dooley in his bid to obtain the Democratic nod to the county executive’s post.

Three Republican candidates are seeking their party’s nomination to the county executive position — Fenton Mayor Dennis Hancock, who has served in that position since 2001; Gene McNary, who served as county executive from 1974 to 1989; and Councilman Kurt Odenwald, R-Shrewsbury, who has served as the 5th District councilman since 1990.

All three Republicans truly are impressive candidates and any one of them would well serve their party and the citizens of St. Louis County. But we believe Mr. Odenwald stands head and shoulders above the other two candidates. Mr. Odenwald’s service on the County Council since 1990 has been outstanding. Though we don’t agree with him on all the issues, we believe Mr. Odenwald has the best grasp of the current issues facing St. Louis County and its citizens.

Given that, the Call endorses Mr. Odenwald for the Republican nomination for the county executive’s post.

6th District County Council

Two candidates — Julie Leicht and Ron Wagganer — are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 6th District County Council seat and the opportunity to face Republican incumbent John Campisi in November.

We make no endorsement in this race. We believe Julie Leicht will be more responsive to the Democratic powers that be in Clayton instead of south county residents, and while we believe Mr. Wagganer has the best of intentions, we wish he had a better handle of the issues he would be able to tackle as a councilman.