Hopefuls enter House race

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:48 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Correction: This story, which appeared on page 8A on Wednesday, omitted a candidate’s name from the list for local seats. Sam Giroux, a Republican, will run in the 23rd District in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Local contests for Missouri House seats are heating up as two new candidates from Boone County enter the fray and ensure contested party primaries.

Ed Robb, 61, a former MU professor and economic analyst, will face off against fellow Republican Carole Iles in the now-necessary Aug. 3 primary for the 24th District seat. Daniel Graves has also formed a committee to explore a possible Republican bid, but has not made his candidacy official.

Meanwhile, Judy Baker, 43, announced she will run against D. Duane Dimmitt and Rick Raven for the Democratic nomination in the 25th House District.

Christy Welliver, vice chairwoman of the Boone County Democratic Central Committee, said primaries can hurt or help both the candidates and voters.

“On one hand, a good battle in the primaries can help predict the outcome of the general election,” Welliver said. “On the other hand, it can be awful. You have people on the same side fighting against each other. Some people don’t like primaries, and in some ways, I am right there with them. But in other ways, it’s what the Democratic Party is all about. No one is telling you, ‘This is who you are going to vote for.’ ”

Iles, told yesterday of Robb’s intention to run, said her mission hasn’t changed.

“My job is still the same,” Iles said. “I need to convince the people of the 24th District that I am best suited to represent them.”

Robb, who plans to officially file his candidacy today, said he decided to run because of the poor fiscal condition of the state. He is particularly interested in restructuring the way the state provides money to public schools.

“You can either be pro-active or reactive with a situation,” Robb said. “The state right now is being reactive, waiting on court decisions to get schools funded. Let’s take a look at the problem, make changes now and secure stable funding for our schools.”

One option Robb is considering is a flat-rate income tax for Missourians that would simplify school funding and eliminate property tax levies in nearly 300 of the state’s 500-plus school districts.

Iles said her campaign will focus not only on how the state budget affects public schools, but also universities and roads.

“These three things are important to the people of the district,” Iles said. “We need to get adequate funding for all of them.”

In the 25th District, the Democratic primary will feature three political newcomers. Baker, who has degrees in education and health care and owns a consulting firm called Cura Healthsystem Solutions, said she will focus on funding for the School of Medicine and Life Sciences Center at MU and ensuring adequate health care for Missouri children.

“I’d like to find a way for every child in Missouri to have access to health care,” Baker said.

Dimmitt has said his campaign will focus on protecting senior citizens and making it easier for Missourians to adopt. Raven, an MU student, has said he will try to protect education from state budget cuts.

Joel Jeffries, a Republican and Columbia physician, is the lone Republican candidate in the 25th District.

Looking toward the August election, Baker said primaries are a good thing for parties.

“They help us because the candidates are narrowed down to the serious candidates,” Baker said. “They allow us to focus our agenda and prioritize. We then can identify the important issues and work on those in legislative session.”

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