Maida Coleman decides not file for mayoral election after candidate with same last name enters race

St. Louis – UPDATE: Maida Coleman said Friday afternoon she would not run as a Democrat for mayor of St. Louis.

Just before the filing deadline, Coleman learned another candidate with the same last name, Denise Watson-Wesley Coleman, had entered the race.

Maida Coleman suggested it was a move to confuse voters and help Mayor Francis Slay, but she did not accuse the mayor of encouraging Watson-Wesley-Coleman to run.

The Slay campaign denied such a move.

Coleman said she may gather signatures to run as an independent.

Our earlier story: State Senator Maida Coleman is the latest Democrat to challenge St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in the March primary.

Today (Fri. Jan. 2) is the last day to file for the contest.

Among other things, Coleman said she hopes to improve race relations in the city and focus more development resources on places other than downtown.

"We all love downtown St. Louis," Coleman said. "But so many of my neighborhood residents complain that it appears that's where all the attention is going - to folks building loft apartments, to Washington Ave."

In a statement, Mayor Slay said Coleman's remarks ignore hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development in North St. Louis. And he criticized her for "playing the race card" on the first day of the campaign.

Coleman admitted she is far behind Slay in fundraising, but she says that just means she'll have to be smart about how she spends her campaign cash.

Former Alderwoman Irene J. Smith is also running in the Democratic primary.Green Party candidate Elston McCowan is running for mayor as well.