St. Louis Public Radio News
9:17 am
Wed March 4, 2009

Coleman sees bright side in wide primary victory for Slay

St. Louis, MO – Mayor Francis Slay's main opponent in the general election sees a silver lining in Slay's wide primary victory.

Former state Senator Maida Coleman originally planned to challenge Slay in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, but dropped out when a candidate with the same last name entered the race at the last minute. Coleman is running in April as an independent.

She says the primary number means 39 percent of the primary voters voted against Slay, who beat his closest primary competitor by 30 points. "He might have won re-election, but guess what?" Coleman said. "There's a significant number of people who still said we'd vote for anyone else but him."

Slay campaign manager Jeff Rainford said the results are a landslide no matter how you look at them.

Coleman also used a Wednesday media appearance to blame Slay for the small amount of federal stimulus money St. Louis will receive from the Missouri Department of Transportation. The city will receive just $5 million of the $637 million available, and Coleman says that's because slay didn't do his homework - allegations Rainford dismissed.

"He's engaged the East-West Gateway, he's engaged the business community, and he's obviously talking directly to MoDOT," he said.

MoDOT officials say the department is already spending a large amount of money in the city, especially for the reconstruction of Interstate 64.

The federal stimulus money will be awarded by the state Highways and Transportation Commission. Most of its members are from rural areas.