Mark Mantovani runs as Republican, set to face Sam Page in St. Louis County Executive race

Mantovani has run for county executive as a Democrat twice in the last four years
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The race for St. Louis County Executive is set, just eight weeks before election day.

Mark Mantovani will run as the Republican candidate, facing incumbent Democrat Dr. Sam Page. Mantovani was selected by the county’s Republican Central Committee on Monday night, after Katherine Pinner, the winner of the August primary, announced her plan to drop out of the race.

Mantovani previously ran for county executive in 2018 and in 2020, both as a Democrat. He lost to Steve Stenger and Page, respectively.

“I’ve really been an independent in many respects, I’ve voted for many Republicans and Democrats over the course of my life and I’m not really abandoning my Democratic friends and supporters,” Mantovani said.

Mantovani said the position of county executive should not be a partisan one. Instead, his campaign goal is to gather a coalition of people in what he calls “the 80 percent,” including both Republicans and Democrats who fall in the middle and who also believe the county executive seat should not be partisan.

“The county government generally has been dysfunctional, there have been a lot of petty disputes, some of them have been partisan on a party basis, some of them have been personal,” he said.

Mantovani said he would rather see energy focused on public safety and the economy, which he said are linked.

“Some people don’t want to move here or want to leave St. Louis County because of the crime,” he said. “People want to feel safe and enjoy a good quality of life.”

That requires higher pay for police, he said, along with innovative programs to help reduce crime.

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel but we need to at least try,” he said.

If elected, he plans to collaborate with stakeholders in tough conversations about policy. It’s something he alleges Page failed to do during the pandemic.

“Whether he was acting consistently with the science or not isn’t my beef,” he said. “My beef is, he demonstrated a failure of leadership by virtue of everything he tried to do people reacted against it because of his failure to collaborate.”

Following Monday night’s vote, the campaign for Sam Page released the following statement:

“Over the next two months, the campaigns will make clear the real differences in temperament between the candidates and in protecting the reproductive health of County residents and in supporting organized labor. It is comforting to know that both the Democratic and Republican nominees for St Louis County Executive voted for Joe Biden for President.”

Mantovani said his vote during the 2020 presidential election is irrelevant to his potential role as county executive.

“By including Joe Biden, he’s trying to divide the community based on something that has nothing to do with the county executive race,” he said.

With the election just eight weeks away, he plans to assemble a campaign team and begin fundraising efforts, in a county that historically votes heavily Democratic and has not seen a Republican county executive since 1980s.

“Because I’ve run for county executive twice before in the last four years, we’re not totally starting from nothing,” he said. “But we have work to do.”