Our Call: Race for county executive is a democratic win already

Editorial 

We welcome the news last week that county Assessor Jake Zimmerman is jumping into the Democratic primary race for county executive.

So far, Zimmerman is the only candidate officially in the race, but County Executive Sam Page kicks off his campaign Nov. 21.

Page has the advantage of currently holding the office, but Zimmerman has a large money advantage that should make this an interesting race. Zimmerman has been elected countywide three times, and Page never has.

Voters in St. Louis County re-elected Steve Stenger last year, in a race that we later found out was unfolding at the same time as the federal corruption investigation that brought down Stenger’s administration.

This time around, we hope this will be a spirited, positive race about the issues, not whether one candidate is corrupt or one is really a Democrat. That in itself would be a step forward for county government.

Most importantly, we believe the people have the right to choose their county executive.

And they did not choose Page as county executive — the County Council did. We’re glad he’s not being anointed for future terms unopposed.

In a move we have applauded, Page signed his first bill in South County, in an encouraging show of support for the Lemay area and the students at Hancock Place High School.

But Page’s appointments to the Board of Freeholders — and specifically, his lack of appointments from unincorporated areas in South County like Lemay — showed that he still has a lot to learn about how South County thinks and operates.

We hope that changes in the nine months before this primary showdown in August.

To start, perhaps Page will make good on his promise to appear at town halls in every part of the county.

He later appeared at town halls in North County and Richmond Heights, but not South County.

St. Louis County-wide, voters have not been having much luck lately. They currently live under an unelected county executive and an unelected governor, Gov. Mike Parson, after both Stenger and former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned due to corruption allegations. Page and Parson admirably stepped up when others failed to do the job they were elected to do.

But now they will be judged where all elected officials ultimately should: At the ballot box.

May the best executive win.

Editor’s note: This version of this editorial replaces an earlier one with the correct title for County Executive Sam Page. 

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