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Field is (mostly) set for the 2017 primaries in St. Louis

city hall with flowers
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Filing for the March 7 primary is over, and we've got a pretty good idea about who wants to be an officeholder in the city of St. Louis.

The seats for mayor, comptroller and odd-numbered wards are up this cycle. There will also be a special election in the 16th Ward to fill the unexpired term of Donna Baringer, who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November.

This list may change. Independent candidates have until Feb. 13 to file for office, and primary candidates have until Jan. 26 to can drop out. With those caveats, here's the field.


Mayor Francis Slay's decision not to run for a fifth term set off a mad scramble for the big corner office at City Hall. There are currently 12 — yes, 12 — candidates hoping to replace him. They are listed in the order provided by the St. Louis Board of Elections Commissioners.


The Democrats

  • Antonio French, the outspoken alderman of the 21st Ward

  • Lewis Reed, the president of the Board of Aldermen who lost to Slay in 2013 by 10 points

  • Jeffrey Boyd, the alderman from the 22nd Ward. He ran unsuccessful campaigns for treasurer in 2012 and license collector in 2014

  • Tishaura Jones, the treasurer, who was re-elected to that post in November. Boyd was one of the candidates she defeated in 2012

  • Lyda Krewson, the alderman of the 28th Ward. She lost a citywide race in 2002 when she ran for president of the Board of Aldermen

  • Bill Haas, a member of the elected board of the St. Louis Public Schools and a frequent candidate for state and local offices

  • Jimmie Matthews, a former alderman and another frequent candidate for office. He most recently came in fourth in a five-way Democratic primary for sheriff

The Republicans

  • Andy Karandzieff, the owner of Crown Candy Kitchen in Old North. He has joked frequently on Twitter about running for mayor and he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch  that he doesn't actually want to hold the office

  • Jim Osher​, a businessman and the owner of the Buster Brown shoe factory in the footprint of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Osher recently lost a federal lawsuit alleging that the use of eminent domain to seize the property violated his rights

  • Andrew Jones, who lives in the McRee Town neighborhood

The third-party candidates

  • Robb Cunningham, a saxophone player, is the Libertarian candidate for mayor. He's run for several offices, most recently for the 1st Congressional District. He also ran for mayor in 2009.

  • Johnathan McFarland is running as the Green Party candidate. He touts himself as a community organizer on his Facebook page, and ran unsuccessfully for the 6th Ward seat in 2015.


Darlene Green, the incumbent, is seeking her fifth full term in the office. She's being challenged by Democrat Alexandra Johnson as well as Jerome Bauer, a frequent Green Party candidate for offices throughout the city. He most recently ran against treasurer Tishaura Jones in November.


Three incumbent aldermen are not running again. Antonio French gave up his 21st Ward seat to run for mayor. There are four people vying to replace him, including Laura Keys, who ran for the seat in 2005. In the 3rd Ward, Freeman Bosley Sr., who has been in office since 1989, is also stepping down although his son, Brandon, is among six candidates for the seat.

Alderman Chris Carter, D-27th Ward, has doubts that Slay is going to "vigorously defend" the ordinance.
Credit File photo Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Alderman Chris Carter, D-2th Ward, shown here in a 2015 file photo, has chosen not to run for re-election.

A big surprise was the decision by Chris Carter, D-27th Ward, not to seek re-election. Carter was a state Representative from 2009 to 2012, when he won a special election to fill the seat held by his uncle, Greg Carter, who had died in a car accident. Chris Carter told St. Louis Public Radio he's got several business ventures in the works, and wants to take a more behind-the-scenes role in politics. 

Four people are vying for that now-open seat, including Chris Carter's aunt, Keena, Ciera Simril, a member of the Civilian Review Board, and Pam Boyd, the 27th Ward Democratic committeewoman. Boyd and the Carter family are political rivals.

A fascinating race is shaping up in the 15th Ward where incumbent Megan-Ellyia Green is facing a challenge from the woman she replaced, Jennifer Florida. Florida stepped down as alderman in 2014 when she was appointed recorder of deeds. Green won the October 2014 special election to replace Florida, and was then required by the city charter to run again in March 2015.

There's a six-way race in the 5th Ward, with incumbent Tammika Hubbard facing five challengers. Expect absentee ballots in this race to come under intense scrutiny — two of Hubbard's relatives lost their seats in re-do elections after the original results were thrown out because of problems with absentee ballots. The U.S. attorney is also investigating wider allegations of fraud in the race for the 78th House District.

Tom Villa, D-11th Ward, has three Democratic challengers, including Sarah Martin, the wife of state Representative Jake Hummel, D-81st District. Green Party candidate Hannah Donnelle LaChance is also running.

Two aldermen — Joe Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward and Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward, have no competitors from any party.

The primary election is March 7. The general election is April 4.

Here is the full list of candidates from the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.