By Ashley Jost
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — After months of a strenuous — and at times, heated — election season, Mayor Francis Slay secured the Democratic nomination for St. Louis Mayor tonight with just more than 54-percent of the vote.
By 10 percentage points, Slay more than edged-out competitor Lewis Reed. Behind Reed in votes was candidate Jimmie Matthews who secured just more than one-percent.
“This was the most relentless campaign team in the City’s history, and I’m very proud to be part of it,” Slay told supporters while talking about the grassroots campaign efforts and the hard work of his staff.
Among chants of “four more years,” Slay reminded supporters that the race isn’t over, and he and his staff have more fight in them leading up to the April 2 election where he will face James McNeely, the Green Party candidate.
If Slay wins during the general election, he would make history as the first St. Louis Mayor to be elected to a fourth four-year term.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-5, who acted as a strong advocate for Slay during his campaign, said earlier during the night that she hopes to have the opportunity to continue working with Slay to “move this City forward.”
Nasheed admits that when she was an activist, prior to her time in the House of Representatives and then Senate, she wasn’t always a supporter of Slay, but when she was elected, they quickly began cultivating a relationship, which has come a long way.
As much as she might admire Slay, Nasheed does not, however, look highly upon Reed.
“He’s a phony,” she said, continuing to add that Reed has spoken about issues he wanted to move forward on in the capacity of the Mayor’s role, such as addressing crime throughout the City, but that he had never taken any action on in the roles he’s previously held.
Nasheed also mentioned her personal struggle with being attacked by members of the African American community, “her own community,” for her continued support of Slay and opposition to Reed during the campaign, as race became a hot-button issue.
Slay’s campaign manager, Richard Callow, said he thinks this is one of the first major elections where race did not play a major role.
“In the heat of the election, people say things they ultimately regret,” Callow added.
When asked about the campaign moving forward, Callow said he simply hopes April voters follow suit with the path of tonight’s voters.
From a monetary perspective, Slay’s finance director Angela Bingaman said while tonight was a big win for the campaign, they will continue to work toward raising more money while looking ahead to April 2.
“Our resources have really been invaluable,” Bingaman adds. “The Mayor has incredibly loyal donors who really came to bat for us when we needed it most.”
Bingaman said their campaign had a large advantage over Reed’s going in, as Slay has continued to fundraise during the last four years, leading up to tonight. She added that during this quarter, donors stepped up more than they ever had before.
“Today was the day for all of our hard work [to come together],” Bingaman added. “But like I said, it’s an ongoing process, and starting tomorrow we’re going to work toward [continuing to] raise money.”
For photos of the event, check out our photo gallery.
Ashley Jost can be reached at email@example.com, or via Twitter at @ajost.
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.