Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In Absence of Other Issues, County Executive Race Becomes a Debate over Debates

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In Absence of Other Issues, County Executive Race Becomes a Debate over Debates

Article excerpt

CLAYTON * A debate over debates has emerged as a dominant issue in next month's primary showdown to determine the Democratic nominee for St. Louis County Executive in the November general election.

In the latest development, St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU) announced Wednesday that talks to sponsor a debate between incumbent County Executive Charlie Dooley and County Councilman Steve Stenger had hit an impasse.

General Manager Tim Eby said neither side was willing to come together on a time and date for the debate.

"Given that Dooley's folks won't move off (July 31) and Stenger can't do the 31st, I would say that this isn't going to happen," Eby said in a story published on the station's website.

In a subsequent interview, Eby wouldn't rule out further discussions with the campaigns.

"If we have enough time to make the logistical arrangements and if we can find a date, we'd still love to do it," he said.

The announcement came at the end of a day marked by Dooley and Stenger representatives offering the Post-Dispatch competing versions of the status of the KWMU forum.

With less than four weeks remaining until the Aug. 5 balloting, the KWMU announcement means the public will have one opportunity to hear the two candidates clarify their positions.

In a reversal of previous positions, the Dooley camp now says the county executive will participate in a July 16 forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of St. Louis on the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College.

Democrats Stenger and Dooley will be joined that evening by the two Republican candidates for county executive who are vying for a spot on the November ballot. The Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates also have been invited.

Until this week the Dooley forces had maintained that the incumbent would not take part in the 7 p.m. League forum a format in which candidates will summarize their talking points before answering written questions submitted by the audience. …

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