SAINT LOUIS, Mo. — Likely to be the area’s single bloodiest primary, the race for St. Louis County Executive continues to get nastier with the release today of new negative ads, this time from Democratic incumbent Charlie Dooley.
Dooley released a television ad today blasting his Democratic primary challenger, county councilman Steve Stenger, for refusing to release his state tax returns. The ad compares Stenger’s refusal to issue all state tax returns to Mitt Romney’s famous withholding of some of his tax returns in the 2012 election.
“What do Steve Stenger and Mitt Romney have in common? They both refuse to release their tax returns,” the ad says, referring to Stenger’s state tax returns.
“Hard to understand the comparison to Mitt Romney when Councilman Stenger’s dad was a lineman for Southestern Bell, plus Stenger has the support of 90% of organized labor in St. Louis,” Stenger’s campaign manager, Anthony Badino, said.
The Stenger campaign has released 6 years of federal income tax returns but has decline to release further returns, citing the desire to protect the privacy of Stenger’s ex-wife.
“County Executive Dooley has wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars through his own mismanagement,” Stenger said. “First, it was the $30 million cost overrun of the new county courthouse, then the $3.4 million health department embezzlement scandal, and finally his proposal to close half of St. Louis County Parks. The only person to ever have an issue with Stenger’s taxes is Charlie Dooley,” Badino said.
The ad also chides Stenger for only paying $21 in federal taxes on $220,000 in income in 2008. The ad came along with a searing press release which asks, “What is Stenger hiding?”
The ads come just over a week after Stenger unleashed his own negative ad blitz which hammered Dooley on so-called budget mismanagement and accuses the Dooley administration of corruption.