St. Louis’ Next Mayor Is Ready for Your Approval | Feature | St. Louis | St. Louis News and Events

Politics in St. Louis can mean many things – mostly frustrating things – but until now there has always been absolute clarity about what it meant to win the first or first round of a local election: it meant everything.

That’s because the city elections are like an all-participant joke, all attitudes and no punch line. There is only one party in the city as a serious political or state force, which means that all political struggles take place in a democratic tent that has its own borders of left, right and center – orientations that are sometimes only vaguely their national ones Resemble counterparts.

On paper, the city ran a two-step electoral process in which voters won the field in the primary on one candidate per party, followed by the finalists, who generally prevailed against the candidate.

Functionally, however, the election ended in the primary, with the Republican candidate being little more than an afterthought in the general election. That way, you’ll get nine Democratic St. Louis mayors dating back more than half a century. The last Republican mayor left office in 1949. When former mayor Francis Slay won his first term in 2001, he beat his Republican opponent with 87 percent of the vote and spent the next three consecutive elections beating the Green candidates by a wide margin.

So the partisan farce of the general election has been going on for decades – but in 2021 that system will be gone, replaced by a two-stage “approval voting” system that adds a new instruction to the ballot paper: “Vote for as many names as you can You agree by in every race. ”

On March 2nd, for the first time in the history of the city, a new type of election will end, in which the two best voters will compete in a runoff on April 6th. Also a first: There are no Democrats or Republican IDs on the ballot. Party labels were removed, resulting in a non-partisan showdown for the leadership of a deep blue city whose voters went 82 percent for Joe Biden.

Such a landslide is not expected here. Three candidates – Lewis Reed, Tishaura Jones, and Cara Spencer – are established characters in the Democratic-controlled city government. Andrew Jones, a business development and marketing manager for a local energy company, ran for Republican mayor in 2017 and was outright defeated by Democratic primary winner Lyda Krewson.

In November, Krewson opened the race when she announced that she would retire from politics when her term ends. Now, for the second year running, St. Louis is guaranteed a brand new Mayor and Administration.

The stakes couldn’t be higher: between historic murders, a dwindling population, an endangered school system and prisons in crisis, St. Louis is at a crossroads of critical points. In separate interviews with the Riverfront Times, all four candidates explained their visions for a city full of problems and potential – and at the same time explained why voters should approve them in the March 2nd vote.

Nobody knows for sure what this untested, unprecedented primary source will produce. Then what it will mean is up to you.

– Danny Wicentowski

Read on to meet the candidates.

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