Francis Slay is now poised to win a fourth term as mayor of St. Louis.
Slay walked away with the Democratic primary on Tuesday, beating Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed and former Alderman Jimmie Matthews. Slay received 54 percent of the vote, Reed 44 percent and Matthews a little over one percent.
If elected in the general election next month, Slay would become the longest serving mayor in the city’s history. Slay declined to layout a specific plan for what he would do with his fourth term. In general, though, Slay said he would work to make the city cleaner, safer and more diverse.
"We’ve got a lot of work in all those areas,” Slay said. “There’s some big projects we want to work on, as well.”
Slay will have to work with his former opponent now, as both Slay and Reed sit on the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which decides the city’s budget. The campaign between the two men was often bitter, and Slay was uncertain how that would affect their working relationship moving forward.
“From my standpoint, I’ll work with anybody who wants to work for the betterment of the people of St. Louis,” Slay said. “So, for me, it’s not really an issue. But it takes two to work together.”
Cooperation could prove to be difficult. During his concession speech, Reed criticized the mayor for bringing up race at the beginning of the campaign.
“When you do that, I came out after registering for office and every member of the media said ‘Are you going to play the race card?’ And that divides the community,” Reed said.
After his concession speech, Reed compared the race to a title fight.
“You get in the ring, you expect to get hit. You just have to hit back,” Reed told reporters. “I don’t harbor any ill will for doing everything in their power to win. That’s what they’re supposed to do.”
Reed said his financial disadvantage was just too much to overcome. Slay raised well over $3.3 million, while Reed amassed only $626,000.
When asked by reporters if he would consider running for mayor again, Reed said “Absolutely.”
Now that the Democratic primary is over, Slay will go on to face Green Party candidate James McNeely in the general election next month. No Republican filed to run.
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