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Jesse Jackson endorses David Tyson Smith in special election

In his race for HD 45, David Tyson Smith has the backing of famed civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. 

Jackson, a former presidential nominee and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, praised Smith’s campaign slogan — “It’s time to believe again” — and said the two “share a vision.” 

“His commitment to social, criminal, and economic justice mirror my lifelong battle for racial and economic equity, human rights, and social justice,” Jackson said. “And we both understand that without securing and expanding the fundamental individual right to vote, those goals can never be fully realized. I’m proud to endorse David as he carries the banner forward.” 

“I battled for justice alongside Dr. King for many years, and it is clear that David represents a future in which we can all ‘Believe Again,’” the South Carolina native continued.

Smith was chosen by the Boone County Democrats earlier this year as its choice to fill the Columbia House seat left vacant by former Rep. Kip Kendrick. If elected in the April 6 special election, Smith would be the first Black representative to serve Columbia or a district outside of Kansas City or St. Louis in the House. 

“That would be an honor and a responsibility I don’t take lightly,” Smith previously told The Missouri Times. “I grew up in Columbia. It’s great to be able to represent everyone here. If you’re a person of color, it means a lot to other people of color to see that [representation].”

Smith said he wanted to honor Jackson’s endorsement with a voter registration drive ahead of the March 10 deadline for the special election along with the Boone County Democratic Party. He’s asked those interested in volunteering between March 4-10 to sign up on his website

“Rev. Jackson and Dr. King have been the very foundation of the civil rights movement in America,” Smith said. “With Rev. Jackson’s endorsement comes the obligation that I earn it, by getting up every morning with the commitment to fight to ensure that all of us have access to the American dream.” 

The only other person who has filed to run for the seat, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, is Glenn Nielsen of the Libertarian Party. Smith reported having more than $4,400 cash on hand as of the latest filing report.