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Judy Baker, former Democratic state representative, challenging Rowden for Senate

Another Democrat has entered the race to unseat Sen. Caleb Rowden in his 2020 re-election bid, setting up an August primary between a former state representative and a former state Senate attorney. 

Judy Baker, who served four years in the Missouri House and narrowly lost a congressional race in a Republican district, is throwing her hat into the ring for SD 19. She will go up against Michela Skelton for the Democratic nomination in August. 

“My community deserves representation that represents them,” Baker told The Missouri Times. “I think I appeal to the mass majority of the district. We have had some legislation that keeps trying to overturn the will of the people. I think we need legislators that represent the will of the people. I stand where most Missourians stand on the issues.”

She pointed to attempts to walk back the voter-approved Clean Missouri Amendment and the reintroduction of right-to-work legislation, which was soundly defeated by voters. Voters are paying attention to what is happening in Jefferson City and what changes, according to Baker. 

“For too long we have been represented by politicians who work for those with means to influence their own interests over the interests of us all,” Baker said. “The special interests and the malaise of the status quo have been in control in Jefferson City too long. There comes a time when we need to change our politicians. That time is now.”

Baker is no newcomer to politics or campaigning. After serving two terms in the House, she set her sights to higher offices. 

In 2008, she narrowly lost a congressional bid in a red district. Blaine Luetkemeyer ended up winning with nearly 50 percent of the vote while Baker garnered roughly 47.5 percent. After an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in 2012, Baker secured the Democratic nomination for treasurer in 2016, which she ultimately lost to Republican Eric Schmitt.

“I know this community; they know me. Listening to the voters here, they want change. I am that change,” Baker said. “I think I can do good in my own community.” 

“My husband, John, and I have invested in this community for so many years,” Baker added. “Raising children, growing a church, supporting local charities, running a business, and being a state representative are just some examples of the ways that I have already given to the community, and it shows that I am in it for the long run.”

Rowden joined the state Senate in 2016 after defeating Democratic state Rep. Stephen Webber in the campaign for SD 19. A former state representative, 2019 was Rowden’s first year serving as the majority floor leader in the Senate — which was largely considered to be a success. 

“We are happy to welcome Ms. Baker to the race as well. The more the merrier as they say. We look forward to engaging in a great conversation with whichever of the 3 or 4 or maybe even 5 candidates now, makes it through the riggers of the modern democratic-socialist primary,” said Jonathan Ratliff, Rowden’s campaign spokesman. “Senator Rowden’s proven record of success moving mid-Missouri forward verses their tired socialist ideas will make for an exciting campaign next fall.”

“I am optimistic I can will this race,” Baker said. 

Baker plans on rolling out a comprehensive platform of innovative policies designed to set a course to improve the lives of citizens. Besides pledging to promote economic empowerment, Baker said she plans to turn the tide of the growing uninsured, the high cost of higher education, and work on moving to a new energy economy that recognizes the threat of climate change.

“I am a person who can appeal to all citizens, not just those on the fringes. I worked with people in both parties while I was a state representative, and I can do it again,” she said. “I will run a campaign based on thoughtful ideas and solutions to everyday problems in Boone and Cooper counties. I have always run well in this area because of longstanding ties to the community. I can win and will win for the people of mid-Missouri.”