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Michela Skelton withdraws from SD 19 race


Skelton withdrawal from race sets up Rowden-Baker showdown

Democrat Michela Skelton has ended her bid for a Columbia-area state Senate seat.

Skelton, a former Missouri Senate attorney, launched her bid for SD 19 in August in an attempt to unseat Republican Sen. Caleb Rowden, the majority floor leader. However, Skelton said she has ended her bid for the legislature due to health concerns, a car accident, and deaths in her family. 

“[S]ometimes life demands we choose another path,” Skelton said in a news release. “All of this personal hardship has caused me to reflect deeply on where I am most needed and how I can do the most good for my family and community.” 

Skelton has thrown her support to former state Rep. Judy Baker, another Democrat who is campaigning for the seat. Additionally, Skelton said she will continue with her community activism work, particularly with the local campaigns. 

“I will also continue my work with the LGBTQ+ community and the Center Project as a queer, pansexual woman dedicated to building a future where my children will never feel like they need to hide who they are or who they love,” she said. 

Skelton unsuccessfully ran against Republican Rep. Sara Walsh for HD 50 in 2017 (a special election) and 2018. 

Baker served four years in the Missouri House before she lost a U.S. congressional race to Blaine Luetkemeyer in 2008. She also unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor and state treasurer. 

“I’m looking forward to a hearty race. I believe the district is looking for an alternative to the status quo and business as usual in Jefferson City,” Baker told The Missouri Times Monday. “And I intend to supply that alternative.” 

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. 

“Serving the people of mid-Missouri has been an incredible honor. But this race isn’t about me — it’s about doing everything we can to fight for better schools, a stronger economy, and a safer community,” Rowden previously told The Missouri Times.

Baker reported having nearly $5,400 cash on hand during October filing. Skelton, on the other hand, reported more than $6,200 in her filing report. 

Rowden reported more than $161,500.