Judy Baker creates a Democratic contest for lieutenant governor
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 19, 2012 - Former state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, announced this morning that she is, indeed, running for lieutenant governor â€” meaning she will challenge former state Auditor Susan Montee for the Democratic nomination.
Several Republicans are running, including incumbent Peter Kinder and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, who reported a huge fundraising quarter earlier this week.
There has been buzz about Baker's possible bid for weeks.
Baker made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2008, and most recently served in the Obama administration as the head of the regional office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overseeing Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
She plans to file her paperwork today in Jefferson City with the Missouri Ethics Commission so that she can start raising money. Baker's campaign spokesman, at least for now, is veteran Democratic consultant and operative Roy Temple, who is a former campaign manager and chief of staff to the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and has served other Carnahans in various campaign or governmental capacities.
Now based in Kansas City, Temple said today that he was helping Baker with her kickoff -- but he had no definite future role in the campaign. He ran the campaign of one of her Democratic rivals, former state House Speaker Steve Gaw, during that 2008 congressional contest.
In her release, Baker said she was committed to "creating jobs and continuing to champion initiatives that help seniors lead active lives and assist veterans in transitioning back to civilian life.
"Sadly, too often politicians in Jefferson City spend their time working to score cheap political points at the expense of the other party. That's got to stop," Baker said in a statement. "I believe Missourians are looking for sensible leadership and elected officials with realistic solutions to the challenges facing our state. I've always worked as a practical problem solver and pledge to continue that approach if given the chance to continue my public service.
"Missouri deserves a lieutenant governor who understands its needs and will work with the legislature to help enact Gov. Nixon's jobs agenda," Baker continued. "As we work to create jobs across the state, promoting a high-quality work force to meet the growing needs of our seniors must be part of that agenda."