ST. LOUIS - The stage is set for a showdown that St. Louis only sees once every four years.
In less than a month, voters will head back to the polls to pick a new mayor. But it’s not exactly expected to be a close race.
Lyda Krewson, the 28th Ward Alderwoman, narrowly emerged victorious after Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
She defeated six other candidates by capturing 32% of the nearly 53,400 votes that were cast. St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones finished in a close second with less than 900 votes separating her and Krewson.
On Wednesday, Krewson was back out on the campaign trail with members of her family and campaign staff.
She ate lunch and thanked voters at Cedars near downtown. The banquet hall is a mainstay in city politics for visits and photo ops involving Democratic candidates.
Krewson was spotted with Mayor Francis Slay, who endorsed her candidacy after announcing last year that he wasn’t running for a fifth term.
In talking with the press, she said she wasn’t surprised by the primary results, but wished the margin of victory was larger. She said the focus now must be on unifying the division among all the candidates’ supporters.
“Whether it was close or not, I expect to reach out to all the citizens of St. Louis. That’s really the only way we can come together and move forward,” Krewson said.
St. Louis has elected a Republican to be mayor since the early 1940’s. It’s one of the major reasons why Krewson is seen as the heavy favorite to win the general election on April 4.
But she said she’s not taking the race for granted.
“Certainly, the administration is in my mind, but I am primarily focused on winning the election. You have to do both because if I do win the election, I’ll be sworn in two weeks later,” Krewson said.
She reemphasized to reporters her campaign commitments of addressing neighborhood safety by hiring more police, improving police training and implementing more crime prevention programs. She expressed support for a new professional soccer stadium downtown, but said the city shouldn’t be the primary owner.
Krewson also acknowledged the need to grow the community’s population again by attracting economic activity, business growth and jobs through the start-up sector.
“We’re usually in the top five of lists for start-up communities, so we need to create an environment where those start-ups can scale up. We know that in this country, the job growth is in small business. And that is true in St. Louis as well,” she said.
On the Republican side, Andrew Jones won his party’s nomination by defeating two other candidates with 1,022 votes.
He told 5 On Your Side by phone that he was deterred by Krewson’s lengthy experience in city government and established campaign. He said the establishment is part of the problem.
“I believe when you make the comparison between my platform and what she believes in, that people will see change. They will come by following what we present,” he said.
Jones has tried to distinguish himself as a law and order candidate who also expressed interest in school vouchers and growing the local economy.
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