Election 2014

St. Louis County Prosecutor Running Unopposed, But Dem Candidate for County Executive May Lose Because of Him, Maybe


McCulloch, Stenger, supporters

In August, the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. led to days of protests over police brutality and the lack of information and communication about the Brown killing. The St. Louis county government sent in county and other local law enforcement agencies, often the militarized variety, leading to even more protests.

October was supposed to be another month of protest. It had mixed results. Today, voters in St. Louis county go to vote for, among other positions, county officials. The county executive, Charlie Dooley, a Democrat, isn't up for re-election. The Democrat vying to replace him, Steve Stenger, was supposed to be a shoo-in.

But Stenger won his primary largely with the help of Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis county prosecutor, also a Democrat. While McCulloch, also a Democrat, is running unopposed he's become a lightning rod for criticism of the cosy relationship cops have with the prosecutors who are charged with deciding whether they've committed a crime. One of McCulloch's first cases when he came into office in 1991 involved defending cops who shot two unarmed men during an ill-advised drug sting. For McCulloch the killing was OK because the victims were "bums." McCulloch declined to recuse himself from the Darren Wilson case but his objectivity has been called into questioning, threatening not just justice for Michael Brown but for Darren Wilson too.

McCulloch's anti-civil liberties mentality didn't stop the Democrat from getting re-elected five times. While there may not be that much of a difference between a one-party system and a two-party system, the lack of any choice to register opposition to McCulloch at the ballot is troubling. In the county executive race, the Republican candidate Rick Stream, a state legislator is tackling the racial divide in St. Louis head on, an also supports appointing special prosecutors for police shootings. Another Republican state legislator is proposing a bill that would permanently take the decision whether to prosecute cops out of the hands of the local prosecutors they work with. There's also a civil rights activist running for county executive as a write-in. Ferguson, by the way, which is two-thirds black, has a majority white, Republican elected leadership. Nobody votes because it doesn't matter.

Follow Reason 24/7 tonight for results of the St. Louis executive race as well as the congressional race involving incumbent Democrat Lacy Clay, whose district includes Ferguson and who has supported and continues to support the militarization of local police.