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Jones, Spencer, Reed Headline Crowded Field For St. Louis Mayor

File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
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Updated at 5:40 p.m. Jan. 5 with three candidates failing signature requirements

Three candidates who planned to run for mayor of St. Louis have failed to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot in March.

Barber shop owner Keith Jefferson and restaurateurs Dana Kelly of Reign and Lassaad Jeleti of Egg were not able to reach the 1,170-signature threshold.

That leaves four candidates in the race — Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, and utility executive Andrew Jones. All but Spencer ran for mayor in 2017.

Our original story

The new requirement that candidates for certain offices in St. Louis gather signatures to be on the ballot did little to reduce the number of people running in the next primary election.

The deadline to file those signatures — ranging from at least 23 signatures in the 25th Ward to 1,170 for mayor and comptroller — was Monday. There are a total of 50 candidates running for mayor, comptroller and odd-ward aldermanic seats, although candidates can withdraw before Jan. 11.

With the passage of Proposition D in November, residents can vote for as many candidates as they want in the primary, with the top two advancing to a runoff in April. The offices are nonpartisan.

The marquee race is for mayor, which has seven people running to replace Lyda Krewson, who announced in November she would not run again. Five candidates — Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, Treasurer Tishaura Jones, restaurant owner Dana Kelly, utility executive Andrew Jones and barber shop owner Keith Jefferson — are Black. Lassaad Jeleti, another restaurant owner, is Tunisian. Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, is white.

Tishaura Jones and Reed ran against Krewson in the 2017 Democratic primary. Andrew Jones was the Republican candidate that year.

Darlene Green is unopposed as she seeks a seventh full term as comptroller.

In the aldermanic contests, just two incumbents — Joe Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, and Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward — are unopposed, though many have just one challenger. Alderman Dan Guenther, D-9th Ward, will have a rematch with Ken Ortmann, the candidate he beat in 2017. Jennifer Florida will again try to take her old 15th Ward seat back from Megan Green. Neither of those previous contests were close.

There are also races in the 4th and 12th wards, which were filled last June in a special election.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.