ST. LOUIS, Missouri (Reuters) – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is favored to win a three-way Democratic primary on Tuesday that could clear the way for him to become the longest serving mayor in the city’s history and the first to be elected to four terms.
Slay, 57, faces Lewis Reed, 50, president of the city’s Board of Aldermen, and former alderman Jimmie Matthews, 67, in the Democratic primary. The winner will face a Green Party candidate in an April 2 general election. There is no Republican in the race.
Reed has run an aggressive campaign, often citing the city’s high crime rate, but he has raised only about one-sixth of the $3 million that Slay has.
If Slay wins, he would become the city’s longest-serving mayor in the middle of April, surpassing the 12-year, nine-day tenure of Henry Kiel, who served from 1913 to 1925. Slay would be the first to win four four-year terms.
St. Louis, which is located on the Mississippi River and has a population of about 318,000, was hard hit by the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
Slay argues that the tide has turned, citing new technology jobs and the groundbreaking last month of the long-delayed Ballpark Village entertainment district adjacent to Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.