JEFFERSON CITY — Two Democrats are jumping into the suddenly open contest for Missouri lieutenant governor: former Secretary of State Bekki Cook and Senate Minority Leader Ken Jacob.
Both decided to run less than a week after Democratic Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell said he wouldn’t seek a second term next year because of his wife’s poor health.
“I feel like the timing is right for me. I was just compelled to do this,” Cook, of Cape Girardeau, said in an interview.
The open seat was one factor. But Cook also said her children are now both out of the home, and she expressed frustration about Republican control of the state Legislature. The lieutenant governor serves as presiding officer of the Senate in addition to being first in the line of succession for governor.
Jacob, of Columbia, said he decided to run after talking it over with his family and having lunch with Maxwell on Tuesday.
“Everybody expected Joe to run, so I hadn’t been planning on this. But my wife and children endorse the idea, and after more than 20 years in public service, I still want to do it. I still believe in the issues I’ve tried to champion for the last two decades,” Jacob said.
Two Republicans are running for lieutenant governor: Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder of Cape Girardeau and former state Rep. Pat Secrest of Manchester.
Cook was appointed secretary of state in December 1994 to fill a vacancy created by the impeachment and ouster of Democrat Judi Moriarty. Cook was elected to a full four-year term as secretary of state in 1996, but she did not seek re-election in 2000.
Jacob was elected in 1982 to the first of seven consecutive terms in the Missouri House. He was elected to the Senate in 1996 and 2000; because of term limits, he cannot run again for the Senate.