City of St. Louis 2021 Primary Municipal Election: Meet the Candidates

On March 2, 2021, the municipal primary election for the City of St. Louis will take place. This will determine the candidates for Mayor, Comptroller, Aldermen/Alderwomen of the odd-numbered Wards, and Aldermen/Alderwomen of Wards 4 and 12 for the non-partisan primary municipal election. This will be the City's first election to use approval voting. Candidates will run on a nonpartisan basis, that is, without party affiliation. The top two vote getters for each office will run against one another in the upcoming general election which will be held on April 6, 2021. Below is a brief description of each candidate that has secured a slot in the primary election. 

Mayor

The race for the Mayor of the City of St. Louis will not involve current Mayor Lyda Krewson, as she is not running for re-election. The primary election candidates are Andrew Jones, Tishaura O. Jones, Lewis E. Reed, and Cara Spencer.

  • Andrew Jones previously ran for Mayor as a Republican in 2017. Jones finished second to Krewson in the general election. Jones, the vice president for business development and marketing for the Southwestern Electric Cooperative, stated that the emphasis of his campaign will be crime reduction, expanding business development efforts, and improving city schools.
  • Tishaura O. Jones is the current Treasurer of the City of St. Louis. Jones was appointed in 2002 as the Democratic Committeewoman of the 8th Ward, served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, and was selected as the Assistant Minority Floor Leader—becoming the first African-American and first woman to hold this position in Missouri history. Jones’s platform is based on creating a united, strong, confident, and equitable St. Louis. Jones is pledging to fight for justice, against the root causes of crime and poverty and to build a government by and for the people. Jones previously ran for Mayor in 2017 and narrowly lost in the Democratic primary to Krewson. Jones has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Hampton University and a Master’s degree in Health Administration from St. Louis University.
  • Lewis E. Reed is the current President of the Board of Aldermen for the City of St. Louis. Reed started as the Alderman for the 6th Ward. As Alderman, Reed passed legislation to revitalize the Lafayette Square neighborhood. As President of the Board of Aldermen, Reed has prioritized crime prevention and opportunities for at-risk youth, economic opportunities in the City, police reform, transparency in the Board of Aldermen’s decisions, funds for seniors, the environment, and issues of family and domestic violence in the community. Reed previously ran for Mayor in 2017. Reed majored in Mathematics and Computer Science at Southern Illinois University while attending on a wrestling scholarship.
  • Cara Spencer is the current Alderwoman for the 20th Ward after being elected in 2015. Spencer previously worked as a mathematical modeler and analyst in order to better understand business markets. Spencer is the current Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and a member of the Education and Youth Matters; Housing, Urban Development and Zoning; and Ways and Means Committees. Spencer’s platform is based on making the City of St. Louis one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Spencer is committed to fighting privatization of the city’s airport, addressing racial inequity, revitalizing neighborhoods, forming partnerships with residents and businesses to meet their needs, and reducing violence in St. Louis. Spencer grew up in St. Louis and received her B. S. in Mathematics from Truman State University.

Comptroller

  • Darlene Green (incumbent) is unopposed in seeking re-election as Comptroller for the City of St. Louis. As Comptroller, Green is a member of the Executive Branch of the City government, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, and the Airport Commission and is a trustee for the City’s Retirement System. Green maintains a platform of honest, fiscal integrity and a focus on protecting taxpayer dollars. Green holds a B. S. in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

The following will describe the candidates for each ward. The heading for each ward is a link to a description of its boundaries.

Ward 1

  • Sharon Tyus (incumbent) is the Chair of the Engrossment, Rules, Resolutions and Credentials Committee and a member of the Health and Human Services, Intergovernmental Affairs, Parks and Environment, and Personnel and Administration Committees. Tyus was first elected to represent the 1st Ward in 2013 and previously represented Ward 20 from 1991 to 2003.
  • Yolanda Brown is the current Committeewoman of the 1st Ward.
  • Loren Watt is a former video production specialist at STL TV. In 2019, Watt retired from the Communications Division for the City of St. Louis.

Ward 3

  • Brandon Bosley (incumbent) serves on the following Committees: Convention and Tourism; Neighborhood Development; Parks and Environment; Public Employees; and Streets, Traffic and Refuse. Bosley won his first term in the general election in 2017. Bosley’s father was a long-time Alderman, and his brother, Freeman Bosley Jr., was the first African-American Mayor of St. Louis.
  • Herdosia Kalambayi Bentum is the President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, a constituent organization of the African People’s Socialist Party. Bentum’s desire to run is driven by her experience with gun violence in the African-American community and with the education system in St. Louis. Bentum has been fighting for economic development and reducing the number of wards from 28 to 14.

Ward 4

  • Dwinderlin (Dwin) Evans (incumbent) serves as a member on the Engrossment, Rules, Resolutions and Credentials Committee and the Neighborhood Development Committee. Evans won a special election to represent Ward 4 in 2020. Evans previously worked in public education, and her goal is to redevelop large portions of the 4th Ward.
  • Leroy Carter previously ran for election in the 4th Ward in 2019 but lost in the Democratic Primary. Carter also previously served as the Democratic Committeeman for the 4th Ward. Carter is running on a platform that promotes small businesses, keeping the residents safe and healthy, and repairing and cleaning the streets.
  • Edward McFowland has previously served in the Army and as a school teacher for the St. Louis Public School system. He was also a disciplinary officer of residential living for St. Louis Job Corps, a board member of the Greater Ville RE-Development Corporation, Chairman of the Original 4th Ward Democratic Organization, Judge Advocate, and Second Vice Commander of Tom Powell Post 77 Legion. McFowland ran for Alderman for the 4th Ward in 2019 but lost the Democratic Primary.

Ward 5

  • Tammika Hubbard (incumbent) is the Chair of the Neighborhood Development Committee and a member of the following committees: Coronavirus Special; Housing, Urban Development and Zoning; Public Employees; Public Safety; and Ways and Means. Hubbard was first elected in a special election in 2011 and won a new term in the general election in 2017. Hubbard’s work history includes service with the Missouri Department of Corrections as a Corrections Officer and a Probation and Parole Officer, a caseworker with the Division of Family Services, and a Youth Specialist with the Division of Youth Services. Hubbard is the founder of Pretty Girls Rock, a non-profit mentoring group for girls.
  • James Page currently serves as the Executive Director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, which is a grassroots non-profit that undertakes community building and organizing in order to connect people, create change, and positively impact the historic and economic nucleus of St. Louis. 

Ward 7

  • Jack Coatar (incumbent) is the Chair of the Public Utilities Committee. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Streets, Traffic and Refuse Committee and a member of the Convention and Tourism; Coronavirus Special; Housing, Urban Development and Zoning; and Personnel and Administration Committees. Coatar has served as Alderman since 2015. Coatar has been active in the Soulard Restoration Group and served as an officer of the Soulard Special Business District. Coatar earned his J. D. in 2012 from St. Louis University Law School and is a practicing attorney.
  • Shedrick (Nato Caliph) Kelley is a St. Louis native with deep roots in the community. He is a Business Analyst at Wells Fargo and a member of the leadership council with the Organization for Black Struggle, a volunteer for the Coalition Against Police Crimes & Repression, and an active participant on the Civilian Oversight Board. Kelley is also a prominent St. Louis rapper.

Ward 9

  • Dan Guenther (incumbent) is a member of the Convention and Tourism, Education and Youth Matters, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committees. Guenther has served as Alderman for the 9th Ward since winning the general election in 2017. Guenther is committed to building a safer and more prosperous St. Louis. Guenther is running on a platform surrounding a new approach to public safety by developing better cooperation between community and law enforcement, investing in people and growing neighborhoods, and supporting an inclusive and transparent leadership group.
  • Ken A. Ortmann is the former 9th Ward Alderman. Ortmann helped create the Neighborhood Crime & Safety Committee and was President of the Housing Corporation. Ortmann wants to ensure that the neighborhood is safe, residents get the city services they need and the streets, sidewalks, and alleys are cared for. Ortmann was first elected in 1999 but lost to Guenther in the 2017 Democratic Primary Election.

Ward 11

  • Sarah Wood Martin (incumbent) is running unopposed to retain her position in the 11th Ward. Martin is a member of the Education and Youth Matters; Health and Human Services; Parks and Environment; and Streets Traffic and Refuse Committees. Martin won a first term in the general election in 2017. Martin currently works as a lobbyist in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Ward 12

  • Vicky Grass (incumbent) is a member of the Engrossment, Rules, Resolutions and Credentials Committee. In 2020, Grass won a special election to become Alderwoman of the 12th Ward. Previously, Grass was the Executive Director for the St. Louis City Fire Fighters pension system for 15 years. Grass wants to contribute to the success of the 12th Ward and the City of St. Louis as a whole.
  • Joe Rusch works in radio management. Rusch is the father of Proposition D campaign manager Mallory Rusch. Previously, Rusch lost in 2010 as a Republican candidate for state representative and in 1989 as an independent candidate for Alderman.
  • Bill Stephens is a St. Louis Public Library employee. Stephens’s platform is centered on education reform and equal opportunities for every citizen in St. Louis.

Ward 13

  • Beth Murphy (incumbent) is the Chair of the Convention and Tourism Committee and Vice-Chair of the Public Employees Committee. She is also a member of the following Committees: Coronavirus Special; Neighborhood Development; Personnel and Administration; Streets, Traffic and Refuse; and Ways and Means. Murphy's first election victory was for a partial, one-year term in a 2014 special election.
  • Anne Schweitzer is a St. Louis native. She is running on a platform focused on public safety, schools, constituent services, the environment, supporting police officers, and citywide development and promotion.

Ward 15

  • Megan Ellyia Green (incumbent) is the Chair of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee; Vice-Chair of the Engrossment, Rules, Resolutions and Credentials Committee; and a member of the Health and Human Services Committee. Green has been the Alderwoman for the 15th Ward since October 2014. She is a former St. Louis Public School teacher. Green previously ran for Missouri State Senate and President of the Board of Aldermen.
  • Jennifer Florida is the former Ward 15 Alderwoman. Florida was initially elected in 2001. Florida resigned the seat in July 2014, as she was appointed to serve as the City’s Recorder of Deeds.
  • Alexander J. Gremp is an attorney for the Law Office of Van-Lear P. Eckert, PC in Illinois. Gremp received his J. D. in 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis.

Ward 17

Current Alderman Joseph D. Roddy is not seeking re-election.

  • Tina Pihl is the Executive Director of Union Communion Ministries and President of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association.
  • Michelle Sherod was an aide to U. S. Senator Claire McCaskill. Sherod is running on a platform centered on creating a safe, healthy, and prosperous St. Louis City. Sherod lost the election for the Missouri State Senate in 2020. 
  • Don De Vivo has a history of running for positions throughout the City of St. Louis. Recently, Vivo ran as the Green Party nominee for City Treasurer and Ward 17 Alderman.

Ward 19

  • Marlene E. Davis (incumbent) is the Chair of the Transportation and Commerce Committee and Vice-Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. She is also a member of the Convention and Tourism; Coronavirus Special; Housing, Urban Development and Zoning; and Personnel and Administration Committees. Davis was first elected in 2007 and is committed to the growth of the City, safety of its neighborhoods, and empowerment for all.
  • Cleo Willis, Sr. is a reverend and activist. Willis previously lost in the 2005 Democratic Primary for the 1st Ward. Willis has been the organizer of numerous marches in St. Louis, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemorative march in 2015.

Ward 21

  • John Collins-Muhammad (incumbent) is the Chair of the Education and Youth Matters Committee and a member of the following Committees: Coronavirus Special, Intergovernmental Affairs, Legislation, Public Safety, Transportation and Commerce, and Ways and Means. Collins-Muhammad was first elected to the position in 2017 at age 25, making him the City's youngest Alderman ever and its first Muslim Alderman. Prior to his election to the Board, Collins-Muhammad lost the election for Missouri State Representative. In his time as a Board member, Collins-Muhammad has proposed a major redevelopment plan on Natural Bridge Avenue, opened an emergency homeless shelter, and sponsored legislation creating the one-dollar housing program. 
  • Tavon Brooks is a restaurant manager. Brooks is running to grow the 21st Ward into a well-organized, attractive, clean, and unique community. Brooks intends to prioritize jobs, potholes, speeding, and slum landlords. Gradual resolutions include safety, ownership, infrastructure, and family and community enrichment.
  • Laura Keys is a lifelong resident of St. Louis and has lived in the 21st Ward since 1989. Keys is currently a 21st Ward Committeewoman. Keys lost the election for 21st Ward representative in 2017. Keys is a business owner who is active in several community and youth organizations.
  • Barbara Lane is a retired employee in the Collector of Revenue’s office.
  • Melinda L. Long is a former Alderwoman for the 21st Ward. Long was recalled from the office in 2003.
  • Ticharwa Masimba is part of a movement seeking reparations through heavy government investment in Black-majority areas. Masimba’s platform centers around reparations to the Black community, community control of the Land Reutilization Authority, returning housing to the Black community, and replacing gentrification with genuine economic development.

Ward 23

  • Joseph A. Vaccaro, Jr. (incumbent) is running unopposed. Vaccaro is the Chair of the Public Safety Committee and a member of the Coronavirus Special, Legislation, Personnel and Administration, Transportation and Commerce, and Ways and Means Committees. Vaccaro was first elected in 2009.

Ward 25

  • Shane Cohn (incumbent) is running unopposed. Cohn is the Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee and the Vice-Chair of the Education and Youth Matters, Neighborhood Development, and Transportation and Commerce Committees. Cohn has served as the Alderman of the 25th Ward since 2009. Cohn helped St. Louis’s bid to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention by sponsoring and winning unanimous approval of a bill to add “gender identity” to the list of characteristics protected by municipal law. Also, Cohn was the principal sponsor of St. Louis’s Complete Streets laws, which require future projects to incorporate the needs of pedestrians and mass-transit users into street design. Cohn currently serves on the board of Gateway 180 Homelessness Reversed, an organization that serves the homeless.

Ward 27

  • Pamela Boyd (incumbent) is a member of the following Committees: Coronavirus Special; Housing, Urban Development and Zoning; Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Safety; Streets, Traffic and Refuse; and Ways and Means. Boyd won a first term in 2017. Boyd is the Board President of St. Louis Caring Communities and was a dietary manager for more than 40 years.
  • Chris Carter is a former Missouri House Representative and served as State House Minority Caucus Vice-Chair. Carter’s brother, Gregory Carter, served as Alderman for 18 years until his death in 2012. Then, Carter’s son, Chris Carter, Jr., served as Alderman until 2017.
  • Mary Ann Jackson lost her campaign for Democratic Committeewoman for the Ward in 2020. 

If you have questions about the primary election, issues raised by candidates, or other concerns, please contact an author above.

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