Former Secretary of State Bekki Cook won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and will square off against Republican Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder in the general election. Libertarian Mike Ferguson will also appear on the November ballot.
“I’m excited about where we are at this point,” said Cook, who won the race over 19th District state Sen. Ken Jacob of Columbia. “Now, it’s going to be about getting ready for November.”
Cook, who is from Manchester, has repeatedly said senior citizens’ rights will be one of her top priorities if elected.
Cook defeated Jacob by a wide margin after a grueling campaign. Cook had said her biggest advantage going into the election was the name recognition and connections to citizens she made while secretary of state.
Cook was appointed secretary of state by the late Gov. Mel Carnahan in 1994. She was elected to a full term in 1996 but decided not run for re-election in 2000.
Cook has spent the past four years tutoring in schools, gardening and “enjoying life.” She said that after the current lieutenant governor, Joe Maxwell, decided not to seek office again, she decided to return to the world of politics because she had the necessary experience and was ready to “walk in and hit the ground running.” She also said she wanted to run because she was excited to advocate for seniors and public education.
“The biggest challenge, as it is in any race, will be making sure you get your message out to the voters,” Cook said of the general election campaign.
Jacob’s defeat comes after a long political career. He was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1982 and began representing the 19th District in the Missouri Senate in 1997. He also served on the Columbia school board before gaining paid political office.
After repeated phone calls, Jacob said he would deliver an e-mail statement about the outcome, but none had been received by press time.
On the Republican side, Kinder defeated Pat Secrest. Kinder, who raised close to half a million dollars for the race, according to the latest campaign finance reports, based his campaign on the slogan “Every dollar counts.” The mantra trumps the internal spending cuts made in the Republican-led Senate last session and his goal to cut spending on “bureaucratic red tape.”
Kinder has served in the Missouri Senate since 1992, representing the 27th District, and is president pro tem. Before joining the Senate, Kinder was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1980 and became the associate publisher of the Southeast Missourian newspaper in 1987.
Kinder and Jacob have been Senate rivals for quite some time and have shared some heated debates on the Senate floor, especially in the past two years. Both had said a race between them for lieutenant governor would have been heated.
“I’ll debate him (Kinder) any place, any time, over any subject,” Jacob said during the primary campaign.