Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hot Contest Four Democrats File for County Executive's Seat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hot Contest Four Democrats File for County Executive's Seat

Article excerpt

For weeks, Republicans in St. Charles County have been abuzz about the impending race among at least three contenders for the GOP nomination for County Executive.

Now it's the Democrats' turn.

To the surprise of many, four candidates lined up on Tuesday as candidates for the Democratic nomination for County Executive.

Two of them have the same last name - Schwendemann.

The other two are members of the County Council - Bob Fisher and Jerry McGovern.

The name of Eugene C. Schwendemann, the incumbent county executive, will be listed in second place on the Democratic ballot.

Listed third will be Charles L. "Lee" Schwendemann. "No relation," he said. "If there is any relationship, it's so far back that it doesn't even count."

Will the voters be confused? "Probably," said the current county executive. The other Schwendemann agreed.

This year will not be the first time the voters may have been confused by the two Schwendemanns.

In 1990, Lee Schwendemann - who had been a top county officeholder from 1975 until 1982 - was a candidate for the County Commission from the Eastern District. He lost to Paul O. Schnare. On the same ballot was the name of Eugene Schwendemann, a newcomer to politics. He defeated the incumbent presiding commissioner, Gerald "Jerry" Ohlms.

Lee Schwendemann won't say that he thinks Eugene Schwendemann cashed in on the Schwendemann name when voters thought they were voting for the man they had supported in previous elections. But he says, "I believe there was some confusion."

Eugene Schwendemann refuses to concede the point. Recalling that the three-member County Commission in 1990 had acquired the reputation for being contentious, he said, "When I ran, people just wanted something different. They were tired of the bickering and fighting on the commission."

As to the next election, Eugene Schwendemann said, "I hope we can let everybody know who is who and let the people decide."

Eugene Schwendemann, 51, who lives near Orchard Farm, said Tuesday night, "I think I've done a good job and can continue to do a good job."

Highlights of his tenure, he says, include the under-budget construction of a county government center, continuing recovery from the county's worst flood and major progress at improving the county's road system.

He was elected in 1990 to a four-year term as presiding commissioner, but his title and role were changed when the home-rule charter went into effect in 1993.

Lee Schwendemann, 65, and his wife, Bonnie, are owners of Bropfs Mobile Home Park at 1901 First Capitol Drive in St. Charles.

"I think I am qualified and have the business experience to run a business the size of St. Charles County," Lee Schwendemann said.

He served eight years as presiding judge of the administrative St. Charles County Court, the predecessor of the County Commission and the County Council. …

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