ST. LOUIS • Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly announced Thursday that he is going to sit out of next year's mayoral election, saying the race has taken a negative tone.
In an interview, he did not specify what negativity he was referring to in a race that, so far, has been mostly quiet.
“I'm a positive individual and I'm just not going to be a part of a negative campaign,” he said. “It's not going to change the way I walk through life.”
Daly's announcement was met with some surprise at City Hall, Thursday, even as others have been quietly predicting that the longtime politician would sit out the race.
Daly has worked at City Hall for 36 years, including stints as executive assistant to the president of the Board of Aldermen, license collector and his current position as collector of revenue.
He is also well-known for his decades-long tradition of sending personal notes to people after meeting them, even just in passing.
With more than $620,000 in his campaign accounts — by far the most of any declared candidate — many political observers expected Daly to run.
And before Mayor Francis Slay went public with his surprise announcement last spring not seek a fifth term in office, he called and told Daly first.
On the other hand, City Hall watchers note that Daly already has a comfortable job, making north of $170,000 a year. By comparison, the mayor's salary is $132,000.
Even if he won't be on the ballot, Daly expects to be a player in next year's election. The filing period for mayoral candidates runs from Nov. 27 through Jan. 6. Early next year, Daly said he expects to throw his support and money behind the candidate best suited to bring diverse groups together to compromise.
“That's really where I'm most suited,” he said. “We need to try to bring everybody to the table.”
"The city doesn't need a mayor for the north side or a mayor for the south side or a mayor for the Central West End," he added. “We're all in this together — young, old, white, African American, Vietnamese or Bosnian.”
Among those who have announced they are running are 28th Ward Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French, city Treasurer Tishaura Jones and St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas.
Police Chief Sam Dotson, who previously had announced his candidacy, has dropped out. State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed has filed papers to raise money for a run.