Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mayor Slay flexes big money muscles

As the majority of his alleged political party (the Democrats) publicly celebrate a step toward the change promised by Barack Obama, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay is privately celebrating an apparent victory in his perpetual reelection campaign.

Most Democrats spent the past week gearing up for the Democratic National Convention in Denver and hedging bets as to Obama's choice of vice president. In ever-myopic St. Louis, Slay and Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford and paid communications operative Richard Callow spent the past week calling heavy donors in the business community, begging them to close close ranks around Slay.

It seems to have worked. A number of big donors have been contacting a viable potential mayoral challenger and advising him that now is not the time. It seems that if anyone is going to beat Slay in 2009, it will have to be without the help of the business community.

The good news for a viable challenger willing to tilt against Slay in 2009 is that Slay and the business community have suffered a series of recent upset defeats. Slay and the business community supported a recent school board slate and set of City Charter amendments that were soundly defeated. Slay's ally/surrogate Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and the business community supported Rodney Hubbard over Robin Wright Jones in the recent state primary, and Wright Jones won by a whisker.

An even more revealing precedent might be the point spread in the city for the Democratic presidential primary. Barack Obama beat Slay's candidate, Hillary Clinton, 66 percent to 33 percent. Obama had twice as much support in the city as Slay's candidate.

If the appetite for change (and grass-roots political irrelevance of Slay) reflected in those numbers continues to grow in the city - especially after an Obama victory in November - then the business communty won't be able to reelect Slay any more than it was able to elect its school board slate, pass charter reform, or elect Rodney Hubbard. Money can't always buy you votes.


Illustration courtesy of an urban pioneer activist, doodling on a goofy sketch pad set out at the 52nd City release party for Sexy.

1 comment:

Confluence City said...

I was looking at the results for one ward when I wrote this. The election was more lopsided than I thought. In the city, Obama beat Slay's candidate, Hillary Clinton, 71 percent to 27 percent. Obama had considerably more than twice as much support in the city as Slay’s candidate.