The closest race in the city’s midterm election is over — for now.
Megan Green appears to have won the Board of Alderman top job, capturing over 54 percent of votes with 88.1 percent of precincts reporting in the city, according to preliminary results from the City of St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. A little after 10 p.m., Green declared victory.
The first female BOA president, she will hold the position until the end of the current term, which ends in April 2023.
"We showed a campaign run on hope, a campaign run to make a city that works for everyone, beats a campaign run on fear," Green said in her victory speech. "That is the outlook for our city, to build a city that works for everyone."
Early returns favored Green, who took 55.32 percent of absentee ballots. Throughout the night, as she held onto that lead, supporters at her watch party jammed to hip hop and cheered their presumed new president.
The two aldermen were vying to fill out the remainder of the term won by Lewis Reed, who resigned the position he held for 15 years after he pled guilty earlier this year to felony charges of bribery. Alderman Joe Vollmer has been serving as interim president since.
Green previously ran for the seat in 2019, losing in a three-way race that also included then-state Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis). One year later, Green ran for state Senate but lost to state Representative Steve Roberts.
This was Coatar's first city-wide race, though he has long been considered the heir apparent to the south-city coalition that propelled former mayors Francis Slay and Lyda Krewson to victory.
The battle between Green and Coatar mirrors the tension in St. Louis city between those old-guard-style Democrats and a newer crop of progressives.
Seventh ward alderman Coatar is left of center. He positioned himself as the good-for-business, public safety candidate, identifying increased funding for police, the “broken 911 system” and resources for first responders and mental health professionals as his top priorities. Accordingly, he gathered endorsement from Democrats with similar positions, such as Krewson and Slay, as well as from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and several police unions.
Supporters at Coatar's watch party who spoke to the RFT said they wanted a BOA president who will make the city a safe and reputable place to live — and don't believe Green can do so.
"Jack Coatar demonstrates he has a level head and makes reasonable decisions; he’s not on a far-left wing political platform,” says Rebekah Keen, a long-time resident of Tower Grove South in Green’s ward. Keen says four vehicles on her block have stolen in the last 100 days.
Fifteenth ward alderman Green is a staunch progressive who has made racial and environmental justice the key points of her platform. Green sees community violence intervention programs, alternative crisis responses and resolution programs as the public safety solution in the city.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and U.S. Representative Cori Bush endorsed Green as well as a host of pro-choice organizations and labor unions. But her critics questioned her ability to get things done.
This win comes on the heels of Green’s primary success. In September, she beat out Coatar by seven percentage points.
The Democrat versus Democrat race happened thanks to the city’s approval voting system, which allows the two top candidates to advance to the general election regardless of political party.
The RFT's Monica Obradovic contributed to this report. This story has been updated with a photo of Megan Green.
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