Lewis Reed Has New Press Strategy, Will Have Campaign-Like Media Operation Year-Round

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Sam Levin
Lewis Reed on election night.
When a Lewis Reed press release slamming Mayor Francis Slay arrived in Daily RFT's inbox earlier this week, we had a serious sense of déjà vu -- especially because it was sent out by Glenn Burleigh, Reed's former campaign manager. Reed, president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, lost his mayoral bid in March, and Slay's historic fourth term is now underway.

So why is he still sending out campaign-like press releases two months after the fact?

"One thing Lewis learned from his last race is he needs to have some kind of media operation going all the time," Burleigh tells Daily RFT. "The mayor does."

And what will that new press strategy look like?

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Mayor Francis Slay Says LGBT Issues Will Be a Priority in Historic Fourth Term

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Slay in a No Hate promo.
It is officially official. After beating his challenger Lewis Reed in the March primary, winning against no one on the April 2 Election Day and going through his formal inauguration ceremony yesterday, Mayor Francis Slay has begun his fourth term -- making him the first mayor in St. Louis history to achieve this long of a run.

What's he going to do with four more years? (And maybe four more!)

One of his promises that caught our attention was his statement of a commitment to LGBT issues in St. Louis. How?

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Barack Obama Interrupts Mayor Francis Slay's Workout to Congratulate Him on Historic Win

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Sam Levin
Mayor Slay at his campaign headquarters on Tuesday.
Last night, Mayor Francis Slay, who officially won his historic fourth term on Tuesday, was at the gym when he got an important phone call.

"This is Barack."

"The president called from Air Force One," Slay spokeswoman Maggie Crane tells Daily RFT. "The mayor was at the gym. He obviously took time to take his call."

What did the president of the United States have to say to the reelected mayor of St. Louis?

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Mayor Francis Slay on Historic Reelection: "This Was Anticlimactic" (But Might Run Again 2017)

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Sam Levin
Slay arrives at his campaign headquarters.
"Twelve more years!"

So joked one Francis Slay supporter at the mayor's campaign headquarters last night as a modest crowd waited for the incumbent to arrive and officially declare his very unsurprising reelection victory. With little fanfare, Slay walked in around 9:15 p.m. soliciting cheers from the crowd, packed into the Grove district office, drinking wine and beer (and some whisky, too).

No St. Louis mayor has ever held four four-year terms -- and Slay, who has had the position since 2001, told reporters he could try for another term in 2017.

"I'm concentrating on four [years]. I'm not ruling out another run," he told a small group of reporters. "Some of the things, our goals, are going to take longer than four years. They're going to take five years."

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Lewis Reed is Back on Social Media, Says He'll Run Again...For Board of Aldermen President

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via YouTube
Lewis Reed.
Last month, Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen, lost his challenge to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay -- but within minutes of his concession speech, told us that he will run for mayor again.

Part of his explanation was that he doesn't think he can effect the kind of change he wants to in the position of aldermanic president. But Reed, who has generally been quiet since his March 5 defeat, reemerged yesterday on social media with a campaign thank you video -- and some news. He will be running again for his current position.

"I want you to know I stand more committed than ever to these ideas," Reed says, "and plan to seek reelection for president of the Board of Aldermen."

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Lewis Reed V. Francis Slay: Top Ten Craziest Campaign Fights in Mayor's Race (PHOTOS)

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Theo R. Welling
Slay, Matthews and Reed
The day is here. Voters will effectively choose the next mayor of the City of St. Louis in today's Democratic primary race, where incumbent Francis Slay, vying for an unprecedented fourth term, will face off against challenger Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen, and Jimmie Matthews, the underdog former alderman running without campaign donations.

It's been a bumpy ride with new headline-grabbing controversies each week -- scandals and negative press aggressively promoted behind the scenes by operatives working seven days a week to secure the seat for their candidates. From accusations of racism, to criticisms of racist accusations to allegations that the opponent is just trying to distract from the previous accusations, it has, at times, been difficult to keep up.

Check out our recap below of the top ten controversial campaign fights that got the most attention this election season in St. Louis.

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Jamilah Nasheed for Francis Slay: Vote Jimmie Matthews if You Don't Like the White Mayor

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Lewis Reed
Tomorrow is the primary election for mayor of St. Louis -- and the campaigns of the two frontrunners are falling apart. At least that seems to be the message of both the Lewis Reed and Francis Slay campaigns, who are today fighting about a Facebook post from State Senator Jamilah Nasheed.

Nasheed, a vocal surrogate for Slay's re-election bid, posted on Facebook: "If you don't like Slay because he is white-vote for [Jimmie] Matthews because Reed is no different than Slay!" Nasheed was referring to the third Democratic candidate who has not accepted campaign donations and who some have argued is a so-called "stalking horse" in the race -- there to take away black votes from Reed as a boost to Slay.

"Make no mistake about it -- this is not about no stalking horse," Nasheed tells Daily RFT in a follow-up interview. "I don't believe Jimmie Matthews will get three votes."

What do the Reed and Slay camps think?

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Jimmie Matthews for St. Louis Mayor: "I'm Not Chained to Any Money...and I'm Gonna Win"

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Theo R. Welling
Francis Slay, left, and Jimmie Matthews, right at a mayoral debate.
Jimmie Matthews will be the next mayor of the City of St. Louis.

So says Jimmie Matthews, the underdog in tomorrow's Democratic primary race in which incumbent Francis Slay will face off against St. Louis Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed -- and Jimmie Matthews.

"I'm winning, and I'm gonna win," Matthews tells Daily RFT, standing next to his Matthews for Mayor truck near Tower Grove Park. "I've come to represent the interests of the people, and if the people don't want me and they want somebody else, I don't have any problems with that."

One of his biggest advantages? His zero fundraising total, he says.

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Lewis Reed V. Francis Slay: In Final Stretch of Race, Challenger Tries to Focus Back on Crime

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Sam Levin
Francis Slay listens to Lewis Reed at a debate.
In a mayoral race that has gotten increasingly petty in the final stretch, Lewis Reed, Board of Aldermen president, is trying to focus back on his central talking point of crime. And in a shift in tone from the head-on attacks, Reed's team has been sending out "policy statement" press releases in advance of the Tuesday primary.

"We're presenting platform pieces, because we've gotta tell people what we're going to do," Glenn Burleigh, campaign manager for Reed, tells Daily RFT. "We are showing Lewis is a substantive candidate."

Meanwhile, Francis Slay's mayoral office (not the campaign) has rolled out several high-profile plans over the last few weeks that appear to be big-picture policy proposals -- which require another term for implementation.

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Hitler Video: Footage Mocking Francis Slay Removed After Lewis Reed Calls It Offensive

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via YouTube
The anonymous opponent of Francis Slay who uploaded a video of the mayor, which compared him to Hitler and implied that he is gay, has taken the footage off of YouTube. We noticed it was down yesterday, one day after Slay's opponent Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen, sent Daily RFT a statement slamming the video -- a riff on a popular meme -- as offensive and calling on whoever made it to remove it.

Earlier, some Reed backers were sharing it on social media (and so were some Slay supporters, saying it was another reason not to vote for Reed, even though it didn't actually come from the campaign).

Now, it's gone -- though we have some original screengrabs below.

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