2017 St. Louis Elections

Credit Graphic by David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

Lyda Krewson speaks with reporters after winning the Democratic mayoral primary on March 7, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lyda Krewson, the Democratic nominee to be St. Louis’ next mayor, acknowledges the obvious: More than two-thirds of the city’s Democrats preferred one of her six rivals.

She also recognizes some tensions likely remain from the March 7 primary. “Campaigns are tough. A lot of skinned knees and scabby elbows after a campaign,” Krewson said. “But fundamentally, we’re all Democrats and we want to elect Democrats in the city in April.”

Jim Kavanaugh of SC STL, the investment and ownership group trying to bring an MLS team to St. Louis, is shown after a news conference Tuesday, March 21, 2017, announcing the group's planned investments in community development. (March 21, 2017)
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

An ownership group that’s trying to persuade St. Louis voters to help fund a professional soccer stadium said Tuesday that it will invest millions of dollars in youth soccer and job-training programs.

The ownership team, SC STL, along with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and nonprofit organizations at a news conference detailed the potential benefits of attracting an Major League Soccer team. Slay called the Community Benefit Agreement negotiated between SC STL and the city a “first-of-its-kind deal” that promises millions of dollars for more than a dozen organizations and initiatives — and shows their request to voters isn’t just about sports.

Webster Groves fire Capt. Jason Simpson puts a sign in the yard of a Proposition R supporter on March 12, 2017. Prop R is one of several public safety tax increases on the St. Louis County ballot in April.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis County, various municipalities, and in St. Clair County in Illinois are being asked to open up their wallets during the April 4 election. Up for approval: a series of tax increases to boost spending on public safety.

There’s general agreement that the police and fire departments need the extra money, but requests by both specific municipalities and St. Louis County could confuse voters. Here’s a look at each ballot measure:

Dan Guenther March 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Dan Guenther to the program for the first time.

Guenther defeated longtime 9th Ward Alderman Ken Ortmann in St. Louis’ primary election. He’s heavily favored to defeat a Green Party candidate on April 4, meaning he will take his aldermanic seat in mid-April.

Voters fill out their ballots at Central Baptist Church on Washington Avenue on March 7, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ March primaries are in the books. But don’t exhale quite yet: April’s municipal contests throughout the St. Louis region are only 22 days away.

Granted, these are typically low-turnout affairs that don’t attract as much attention as, say, a presidential election, but they’re often critical for taxation decisions. Plus, April elections can serve as pivotal showdowns for deciding the elected leadership of St. Louis County’s multitude of municipalities.

This is Franks' first time running for office.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated with statement from Tishaura Jones)

State Rep. Bruce Franks will not run for St. Louis mayor.

Franks, a St. Louis Democrat, currently holds office as the State Representative for the 78th District of Missouri. On Thursday, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was making the necessary moves to become a write-in mayoral candidate in the April 4 general election. That would have put him on a collision course with Alderman Lyda Krewson, who narrowly won Tuesday’s Democratic primary for mayor.

But, on Friday morning, Franks then told St. Louis Public Radio he was reversing course and will not be pursuing the mayor’s office. He said he was concerned Republican Gov. Eric Greitens would leave the 78th House District seat vacant until 2018 if he prevailed.

Alderman Tammika Hubbard was the sponsor of the stadium financing package.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis politics has long been a family affair, especially when it comes to the Board of Aldermen. Outgoing Mayor Francis Slay, for example, got his start as the 23rd Ward alderman, and his father was the ward’s Democratic committeeman for 45 years. 

But the power of political families may be waning. Tuesday’s Democratic primary saw two families retain control, while two other families lost and the fourth stepped away entirely.

Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the results of the municipal primary election on March 7.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

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Tuesday, March 7 marked the City of St. Louis primary municipal election — when St. Louis residents voted in aldermanic primary races, the mayoral primary, the comptroller primary and on Proposition S.

Campaign workers encourage passers-by to vote for 19th Ward incumbent Marlene Davis. (March 7, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Let the turnover at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen begin. Voters in Tuesday's primary election chose their preferred Democratic candidates for five open seats and turned out one of six incumbents up for re-election.

The evening's upset was Dan Guenther, who won the 9th Ward with 64.2 percent of the vote. He beat longtime Alderman Ken Ortmann, who had the backing of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

Lyda Krewson thanks her supporters, family and campaign staff after winning the Democratic mayoral primary election by 888 votes.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson emerged from a crowded field of candidates, many of them well-known city leaders, to win Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary. 

With all precincts reporting, Krewson had 32.04 percent of the vote to city Treasurer Tishaura Jones' 30.38 percent — just 888 votes.

On the Republican side, utility executive Andrew Jones handily beat out his two competitors — one of whom, Crown Candy Kitchen owner Andy Karandzieff, had said he entered on a whim and didn't really want to be mayor. Both Jones and Krewson move on to the April 4 general election, where they'll face at least five candidates from other parties.

St. Louis voters approve annual fee for short-term lenders

Mar 7, 2017
A payday loan shop on Natural Bridge Avenue east of Union Boulevard. The high interest rate of payday loans can leave people on the hook for paying more in interest than the original loan.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters have passed a ballot measure that will impose an annual $5,000 fee on short-term lenders, such as payday loan and car-title lending establishments.

The measure, known as Proposition S, was approved by about 60 percent of voters. The measure was sponsored by 20th Ward Alderman Cara Spencer.

Alderman Jeffrey Boyd votes at Laclede School Tuesday afternoon. (March 7, 2017)
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7 p.m. with polls closing — Election officials said turnout was light for Tuesday's mayoral and aldermanic primary elections.

Seven Democratic mayoral candidates and three GOP contenders are vying to move on to the April 4 general election. Blame the city’s longest-serving mayor for such a crowded field; Francis Slay chose against running for a fifth term.

Susannah Lohr

Your support makes this program possible. Keep St. Louis Public Radio Strong. Donate today.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from St. Louis Public Radio business reporter Maria Altman about a ballot measure St. Louis voters will encounter at this Tuesday’s primary election.

Candidate Lyda Krewson responds to a question from the audience.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The melee to get closer to becoming St. Louis mayor is mere hours away from its conclusion.

 

The race has featured an endless amount of twists, turns and surprises. And the contest turned a spotlight on the seven Democratic candidates, who attended an array of forums, conducted scores of media interviews and blanketed St. Louis residents with glossy mailers.

 

 

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to the crowd after taking the oath of office outside the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on Jan. 9, 2017.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens says he’s receptive to having Missouri’s transportation department spruce up state land to make way for a professional soccer stadium in St. Louis.

His remarks during a news conference Thursday in Jefferson City appear to be his most direct response regarding the critical state involvement with the proposed stadium, which is on land owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation. For months, Greitens has spoken out against using taxpayer money to build stadiums.

Courtesy of the City of St. Louis

Tuesday’s primary election isn’t just the first step in choosing a new mayor for St. Louis, but also portends the beginning of significant turnover at the Board of Aldermen. In addition to five open seats, incumbents could be upset in a number of wards — including aldermen who have not faced serious opposition in more than 10 years.

 

Here’s a guide to the contested wards, the candidates and what they’re promising. Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot:

Jimmie Matthews, January 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis Alderman Jimmie Matthews to the program.

Matthews is one of seven Democratic candidates running to become St. Louis’ mayor.  We’re seeking to interview as many candidates as possible before the March 7 primaries.

Courtesy of the City of St. Louis

Tuesday’s primary election isn’t just the first step in choosing a new mayor for St. Louis, it also portends the beginning of significant turnover at the Board of Aldermen, which expects its largest freshman class since 1991.

 

Five aldermanic seats are open. Here’s a look at who is running and what they’re promising. Candidates are listed in order they will appear on the ballot.

Lyda Krewson in a February 2017 file photo.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Alderman Lyda Krewson to the show for the second time.

The 28th Ward alderman is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. We’re trying to get as many contenders on the podcast as possible before the March 7 primary.

Six candidates for St. Louis mayor participate in a forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 12:45 p.m. March 1 with details about voting patterns — For decades, it’s been a given in St. Louis elections: The person who usually wins is of the race — white or black —that has the fewest candidates in the contest.

 

And studies have shown that many St. Louis voters prefer to support candidates of their own race. With that in mind, candidates and political parties often are accused of stacking contests.

But the city’s major mayoral contenders are banking on different dynamics in the March 7 primary.  That’s particularly true of the four best-known Democratic candidates who are African-American.

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones responds to questions from the audience while alderman Lyda Krewson looks on.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The leading Democratic candidates for mayor of St. Louis all say they would boost support for the arts if elected.

Aldermen Antonio French and Lyda Krewson, Board President Lewis Reed and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones all made that commitment Monday at The Mayoral Town Hall on Arts and Culture. Kara Turrentine, a consultant for Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, also voiced his support for artists.

Six candidates for St. Louis mayor participate in a forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Last Wednesday, on Feb. 22, St. Louis Public Radio, in collaboration with 13 other community and media organizations, hosted a mayoral forum with six candidates who qualified ahead of the March primary. Joining the forum were: Antonio French (D), Lewis Reed (D) Lyda Krewson (D), Jeffrey Boyd (D), Tishaura Jones (D) and Andrew Jones (R).

St. Louis St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed won a landslide victory in the Democratic primary. His lack of real competition may have affected voter turnout throughout the city.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson has raised more than $500,000 in just the last month, far more than her Democratic rivals to be the city’s next mayor. But Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed is heading into the final week of campaigning with the most money in the bank.

That’s the two biggest takeaways from the final campaign-finance reports, which were due Monday, for the March 7 primary. 

Andrew Jones, Feb. 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis Republican mayoral candidate Andrew Jones to the show for the first time.

Jones is a utility executive and one of three GOP candidates vying to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Andrew Karandzieff appeared on the podcast last week, while efforts to reach Jim Osher to appear on the show were not successful.

Tishaura Jones 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome back St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones to the show.

Jones is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. All seven contenders in the March 7 primary have now taped an episode of the podcast.

Jones, the daughter of former St. Louis Comptroller Virvus Jones, made her first bid for public office in 2008, when she successfully ran for a state House seat  slice of eastern St. Louis.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been a violent couple of years in the city of St. Louis, one measure being the 188 homicides in 2015 and 2016.

A decrease in property crime drove the overall crime number down between 2015 and 2016, but violent crime was up more than four percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

All of the Democratic candidates for mayor know addressing crime will be a top priority if they’re elected. Most of them have very similar plans. Not all of them have faith in current Police Chief Sam Dotson to implement those plans.

Mayor Francis Slay signs legislation that will ask voters to approve a sales tax increase to fund a Major League Soccer stadium and a north-south MetroLink line. (Feb. 3, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If there’s one issue that’s provoked more fiery passions among St. Louis politicians, it’s using their constituents’ dollars to fund sports stadiums.

From the unsuccessful venture to keep Rams football in St. Louis to a pending proposal to nab a Major League Soccer team, there’s little question that opponents and proponents of the funding method have strong opinions — including the Democratic candidates seeking to become St. Louis’ next mayor.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
File photo | Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

There will be at least five new faces when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen returns in April — the largest freshman class since 1991. And depending on the results of the March primaries, as many as six others could join them.

That much turnover could change the way the Board works and the policies it passes.

Andy Karandzieff in 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome mayoral candidate Andy Karandzieff to the program.

Karandzieff is the owner of Crown Candy Kitchen, a culinary institution on St. Louis’ north side. He’s running as a Republican, though he freely admits his candidacy is more a publicity stunt.

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Bill Haas, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas to the program.

Haas is one of seven Democratic candidates running to become the next St. Louis mayor. Each of the Democratic candidates have been interviewed on the podcast ahead of the March 7 primary election.

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