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In mayoral races, Slay wins unprecedented fourth term; Sanger victorious in Clayton

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Area voters on Tuesday selected new mayors in Clayton, Fenton and Chesterfield, and sided with incumbents in Normandy and Valley Park.

The contest in Clayton, St. Louis County's seat, was particularly tight, with former Alderman Harold Sanger edging out two current aldermen: Michelle Harris and Alex Berger III.

Two outcomes had been clear for much of the evening, as votes were tallied:

  • St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has locked up his quest to be the city’s longest-serving mayor in history and declared victory around 9:30 p.m. With half the vote counted, Slay had about 82 percent of the  votes against Green Party rival James McNeely, who was never seen or heard  during the campaign.
  • The Ellisville City Council,embroiled in an impeachment battleinvolving Mayor Adam Paul, appears on its way to replacing half of the six-member council. Two of the outgoing council people were opponents of Paul.

In Clayton, Sanger snagged almost 40.8 percent of the vote in the three-way contest, with Harris a close second, with 36 percent.
In Chesterfield, Bob Nation narrowly defeated Matt Segal, with Nation getting 51.9 percent of the vote.

In Fenton, Michael Polizzi garnered 73 percent of the vote in his battle with Paul Seemayer.

For election results

St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners

St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners

St. Charles County Election Authority

In Normandy, Mayor Patrick Green took 73.3 percent of the vote against challenger Erma Ratlif.

In Valley Park, acting mayor Michael Pennise ended up with 56.5 percent of the vote in his contest with Russell Causey.

The two were competing to complete the term of former Mayor Nathan Grellner, who resigned after being charged in 2012 with multiple felonies in connection with his use of the city credit card for personal purchases, including appliances and a visit to a Sauget strip club.

Ellisville battles tighten; McGivney, Cunningham win

In Ellisville, 2nd District Councilman Troy Pieper – a critic of the mayor – lost to challenger Michael Cahill, who garnered 43.7 percent of the vote.

The city’s 1st and 3rd Districts had open council seats. In District 1, Gary Voss had almost 77 percent of the vote in a contest with Chris Turner. In District 3, Cynthia Pool barely won, collecting 42.3 percent of the vote in her battle with Richard Srote.

In two other closely watched nonpartisan contests, Republicans claimed victory over rivals backed by labor.

In the Monarch Fire Protection District's contest for a seat on its board, former state Sen. Jane Cunningham collected 60 percent of the vote in her battle against a fellow Republican, former state Rep. Cole McNary.

The area's firefighters backed McNary, who pledged to be nonpartisan, while Cunningham promised to re-examine the firefighters' pay and pensions.

And in thebattle for the 3rd District seaton the region's board governing the Junior College District, incumbent Joan McGivney of Webster Groves narrowly fought off a challenge by Allison Stenger, wife of County Councilman Steve Stenger of Oakville. 

In St. Louis County, McGivney collected 46 percent of the vote, compared to 40.87 percent for Stenger. The margin was even closer in the portion of the district in St. Louis: 42.6 percent for McGivney and 39 percent of Stenger.

Stenger had the endorsement of area labor groups.

In St. Louis, voters also chose three people for the city's Board of Education: Susan Jones, Kathy Styer and William Monroe.

Slay pledges focus on sustainability, diversity

In Slay's victory speech, the mayor -- who has been in office since 2001 -- lauded his hometown as "a city of many strengths on which to build and many assets to be leveraged."

"We have become cleaner, healthier, safer, open to diversity, better educated, more urban, and more fun," Slay told supporters at his headquarters.

"We have a great philanthropic community, good medical centers, strong neighborhoods, strong business leaders, great universities, emerging technologies, a growing number of good educational choices, and one of the country’s fastest growing communities of college-educated 25-34 year olds."

Slay then pointed to a document, two years in the making, that lays out "more than 300 economic, social, and environmental strategies that will guide St. Louis through the next two decades of the 21st century."

From that massive list, the mayor said he has "picked and publicized 29 goals and strategies" that will be his priority during his fourth four-year term.

"My goals have to do with public safety, our economy, the arts, diversity, education, ecology, and infrastructure," he said. "Accomplishing all of them will make St. Louis a better city."

Slay had defeated his chief rival, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, in the March 5 primary.

Slay will be formally sworn in to his fourth term on April 16.  He plans to finally hold a victory party in early May.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.