Election Results: Stenger Wins Primary, Transportation Tax Dies

Steve Stenger.
Steve Stenger.

In a night with few surprises, area voters rejected County Executive Charlie Dooley's re-election bid and kicked to the curb a controversial sales tax designed to improve roads. Voters also approved Missouri's inalienable right to guns and strengthened electronic privacy rights.

The highly-debated "Right to Farm" amendment also passed, but the margin of victory is so narrow -- with only 2,528 votes -- that a recount is likely.

Steve Stenger, who served as the chair of the St. Louis County Council, will now face in November's general election Republican Rick Stream, who handily won the primary over challenger Tony Pousosa, in the election for the county's top spot. Stenger won 66 percent of the countywide vote, defeating Dooley 2-1.

On stage with supporter and longtime St. Louis county prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch, Stenger credited Buzz Westfall, the county executive whose death ushered in the Dooley era, as an inspiration behind his decision to run for the job.

"When Buzz was county executive, we were all proud of St. Louis County," Stenger told supporters after the election results. "In recent years, residents have become concerned about the direction the county is headed. They expect better. They deserve better. And their call for change was heard today."

St. Louis City Mayor Slay, who put his political capital on the line for Dooley's campaign, called Stenger after Dooley conceded around 10:30 p.m. to start their new working relationship: Two years after voters approved a sales tax increase to fund improvements to the Gateway Arch, voters resoundingly denied an increase to fund road improvements by 59 percent. If Amendment 7 had passed, it would have increased Missouri sales tax by .75 percent for ten years and stopped lawmakers from raising the gas tax for a decade. Opponents celebrated the victory over Amendment 7 at the Royale in South City and vowed to find a new, better way to fund road improvements than a sales tax increase:

Correction: This article incorrectly stated Steve Stenger was the current chair of the St. Louis County Council. The current chair is Hazel Erby.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].