St. Louis city's next mayoral election isn't until April 2021, but — presuming we all survive 2020 — we now know the primary showdown against Mayor Lyda Krewson will include Alderwoman Cara Spencer.
Spencer, who represents the 20th Ward, announced her candidacy today during an appearance on St. Louis on the Air. In a subsequent tweet, she wrote that "Our government has been on autopilot for decades," and that "It’s time to throw the typewriters out of City Hall."
Our government has been on autopilot for decades. Our city deserves better. It’s time to change course. It’s time to throw the typewriters out of City Hall. Today I’m announcing my candidacy to become the next mayor of the City of St. Louis. Lets #FixSTLhttps://t.co/pwfdyXK6LS— Cara Spencer (@CaraSpencerSTL) January 13, 2020
First elected in 2015, Spencer has played the role of watchdog and activist, most recently in her long campaign against the city's now-ended exploration to privatize the airport. In that role, Spencer's push for a public vote on the issue failed to pass as a bill in the Board of Aldermen, but her outspoken opposition lent momentum to the various elected and citizen groups that fought the privatization plan. Spencer was eventually vindicated in December, when Krewson announced that the city would not consider private proposals for taking over airport operations.
In another high-profile fight, Spencer sued the owners of the St. Louis Blues in 2017 in an attempt to stop the city from putting a $107 million stadium renovation on the backs of taxpayers. That attempt failed, due in no small part of the Blues' lawyers threatening to sue Spencer for legal fees, even though the massive giveaway wasn't supported by the stadium lease.
Spencer may have lost that fight, but in her campaign announcement, the alderwoman says she wants to "live in a city that works."
Then again, Spencer may not be the only challenger waiting in the wings. The mayoral contest will almost certainly come down to the Democratic primary in March 2021. In the 2017 election, a field of field major candidates ended in Krewson winning by a razor-thin margin over Treasurer Tishaura Jones.
To date, Jones has not clarified her plans for 2021 — but she hasn't been entirely silent. About an hour after Spencer declared her candidacy, Jones retweeted Ward 25 Democratic committeewoman Lori Lamprich.
Along with a tea-sipping gif, Lamprich had tweeted, "I, for one, am excited to get to work electing @tishaura as Mayor of St. Louis next year."
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at [email protected]