The tight mayoral race in St. Louis is heating up with a major player on the national political scene endorsing a leading candidate ahead of next week’s primary.
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley made it abundantly clear that her preferred candidate is Tishaura O. Jones, the current city treasurer. Jones touted the key endorsement in a press release Tuesday. If elected, Jones would be the first Black woman mayor of St. Louis.
“In the years we’ve known one another, I’ve seen firsthand Tishaura’s commitment to community, and benefited from her support and counsel. I’m so grateful to call her a friend and a sister in the work of advancing equity and justice,” Pressley, an influential Congresswoman recently re-elected to her second term, said in a statement. “I’m proud to endorse Tishaura’s campaign for Mayor, and I know that every resident of St. Louis will benefit from her vision, passion, and tireless pursuit of justice, which I’ve come to know and respect so deeply.”
Jones, who previously lost in the primary for the same race in 2017, has already received endorsements from a number of local officials. They include St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell as well as the St. Louis American, the city’s weekly newspaper that focuses on issues affecting African Americans.
The endorsement from Pressley could prove to make all the difference in a race where Jones was polling in a close second place, according to statistics released last month.
In that poll, Jones registered 28% support behind Aldermanic President Lewis Reed’s 30%. But the poll had a margin of error of 4%, effectively placing Jones and Reed in a dead heat.
Next week’s primary will be the first time the city employs the “approval voting system” that allows voters to cast multiple ballots for mayor candidates. However, the poll showed that nearly 60% of respondents said they intended to only vote for one candidate. Among that 21% of poll respondents who said they intended to vote for more than one candidate, Reed polled at 36% compared to Jones’ 35%.
The top two vote-getters will advance to face off in the general election in April.
The primary is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
Jones winning the general election would make her. part of the growing sorority of Black women mayors of major cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., something that is likely on Jones’ mind. Pressley’s support could be that boost Jones needs to push her ahead of the pack.
“I am thrilled that Congresswoman Pressley is joining #TeamTJ today,” Jones said in a statement Thursday. “Her voice over the past few years has been extremely important to advancing racial equity and economic progress in the midst of an incredibly challenging political environment. I look forward to working with partners in Saint Louis County, the State of Missouri, and in the Federal government, including Congresswoman Pressley, to get things done for all Saint Louisans.”