St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has filed papers with the Missouri Ethics Commission to explore a possible bid for mayor, he confirmed to The American. Incumbent Mayor Francis Slay is not seeking reelection.
Dotson initially told The American there would be no announcement or social media campaign, and that he intends to quietly raise funds to conduct polls to see how competitive he would be. Then he released an announcement.
“While career politicians have stood idly by as political infighting, an inefficient bureaucracy, and decaying institutions have led to declining population, loss of good paying jobs and failing schools, I’ve gone to work every day combatting the biggest problem plaguing our city: violent crime,” Dotson stated.
“Mayor Slay and I have worked together to try to address these short-comings and make this city a safer place to live but political gridlock has stood in the way of making real progress. They say ‘you can’t fight City Hall.’ Well, watch me.”
Slay responded by saying he expects a resignation if Dotson plans to run for office.
“While state law explicitly allows first responders to seek public office, it does not relieve them of their full-time job responsibilities,” Slay said in a statement.
“I want to be clear to the citizens of St. Louis that I will not condone a part-time police chief. Chief Dotson should be completely focused on the job he has. Should Chief Dotson decide to become a candidate for mayor, I expect him to resign."
Dotson’s campaign announcement did not include a resignation. At one point, it says, “I’ll be in your neighborhoods by day making sure that we take illegal guns off the street and put the criminals who menace our community behind bars. And by night, I’ll be on your doorstep asking you how we can move this city forward together.
"I can assure the people of St. Louis that my candidacy for mayor will not conflict with my duties or personal commitment to your safety."
The mayor’s chief of staff did not immediately respond when asked if the mayor would ask for Dotson’s resignation, in the wake of his announcement.
Lyda Krewson, currently 28th Ward alderwoman, and Gregory F.X. Daly, currently the collector of revenue, also have formed mayoral campaign committees.
Lewis Reed, currently aldermanic president, says he is running. A diverse group is trying to draft Tishaura O. Jones, currently city treasurer, to run for mayor. Antonio French, currently 21st Ward alderman, released an exploratory video with a crowd funding account. Jamilah Nasheed, currently state senator, also has been making exploratory calls.
Chris King is the editor of the St. Louis American, where this originally appeared.