State Rep. Chuck Graham’s decision to join the race for 19th District state senator creates the possibility that three Democratic allies from Columbia will fight each other for a job.
Graham, of the 24th District, announced his long-anticipated entry at the MU Child Development Laboratory on Tuesday to emphasize his focus on education. He’ll compete with former 23rd District Rep. Tim Harlan, who entered the campaign in May, and perhaps with 25th District Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson, who is considering the race.
Graham, estimating the cost of the campaign could reach six figures, said Harlan and Wilson are both good legislators and good friends, but “I’m running my own race — my record, my vision,” he said. He added later: “One thing is certain. I know how to fight. ... nothing I faced has ever been easy.”
Harlan said Tuesday that the candidates’ familiarity with each other is a benefit. “Actually, sometimes it’s an advantage running with people you know and have worked with,” he said, adding that the trio of Democrats is familiar with the issues, the records and the public response each has received.
At the close of 2004, Graham and Wilson will be forced out by term limits after four terms in the House. Harlan was forced out in 2002 after four terms.
Among Republicans, only Kat Cunningham, owner of Moresource, has said she will run for state Sen. Ken Jacob’s seat.
The 19th District includes Boone and Randolph counties. Party primaries will be held in August 2004 and the general election in November 2004.