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Jake Zimmerman announces campaign for St. Louis County executive


Former Democratic state Rep. Jake Zimmerman is running for St. Louis County executive. 

Now serving as the county assessor — the first to be elected to that position since 1961 — Zimmerman billed himself as a “progressive reformer” who can tackle the “urgent need to reform county government” in a campaign video Tuesday. He’s a former assistant attorney general and deputy chief legal counsel to former Gov. Bob Holden. 

The campaign move will likely set up a 2020 primary race between Zimmerman and County Executive Sam Page, who took over the position earlier this year and is expected to announce formally his campaign later this week. 

“After what we’ve been through, St. Louis County stands at a crossroads, and we’ve got to do better,” Zimmerman said. 

His campaign website touted his work as county assessor, specifically pointing to his challenge of casinos and “wealthy developers” who have attempted to circumvent paying taxes. 

Zimmerman was born and raised in St. Louis County and attended Harvard Law School. He unsuccessfully ran for attorney general in 2016, losing in the Democratic primary to Teresa Hensley.

Page, too, is a former state representative from St. Louis County. He has also served as a council member. He is an anesthesiologist who took a leave from his practice when he was elected county executive in April. 

“It’s still early days, but if the race tuns out to be only Page and Zimmerman, the campaign will be an interesting one. Doctors and lawyers just think differently about problems, and the jobs of county executive and tax assessor are different,” Richard Callow, Page’s campaign director, said in a statement. “I think voters are going to be paying close attention to the differences between accomplishments and promises.” 

Earlier this month, Page signed a sweeping executive order changing how pregnant inmates are to be treated in St. Louis County, earning him bipartisan praise. The order was extensive, from changing shackling rules to allowing for appropriate space and materials for women who need to pump. 

Page has also recently made changes to the police board.