Kendall Martinez-Wright, political director at Mid-Missouri Young Democrats and a part of Judy Baker’s campaign team, sets up an American flag background for an election night watch party Tuesday at the Boone County Democrats headquarters. Martinez-Wright has been a Democratic activist for more than 10 years.
Emily Gustafson, left, Judy Baker’s campaign consultant, tells Baker that she has lost the election for state Senate Tuesday at the Boone County Democrats headquarters in Columbia. Baker was with her husband and son when she found out the news. Baker ultimately lost to her opponent, incumbent Caleb Rowden, by 3,208 votes.
Sarah Catlin, Judy Baker’s deputy campaign manager, hugs Jacque Sample, Democratic candidate for state House District 44, after finding out Baker had lost Tuesday at the Boone County Democrats headquarters in Columbia. Catlin has known Baker for many years, and when Baker decided to run for state senate, she came to Catlin for help. “I started out as a volunteer, and now I’m deputy campaign manager,” Catlin said.
Jennifer Arnold, center, a volunteer for Boone County Democrats, sells candidate merchandise on Thursday, Oct. 29 outside the Boone County Democrats headquarters in Columbia. The organization sold masks, stickers, t-shirts and buttons while encouraging people to sign up as members of Boone County Democrats.
Judy Baker discusses campaign details with field coordinator Luke Davis on Thursday, Oct. 29 outside the Boone County Democrats headquarters in Columbia. The Republican party swept the election, winning the majority of seats up for grabs in the county.
Elisabeth Condon, president of Mid-Missouri Young Democrats, helps volunteers sign up to drop off literature to target voters on Monday at the Boone County Democrats headquarters in Columbia. Volunteers from the Boone County community came to help spread the word about candidates the day before the election.
Kendall Martinez-Wright watches NPR’s online report of presidential election results Tuesday at the Boone County Democrats headquarters in Columbia. “Get someone over here to refresh this every three minutes,” Martinez-Wright said as she left the room.
Luke Davis calculates how many more votes have to be counted in the state Senate race Tuesday at the Boone County Democrats headquarters in Columbia. Baker maintained a steady lead over her opponent, incumbent Caleb Rowden, until around 10 p.m.
LEFT: Luke Davis shows a four-leaf clover he keeps in his wallet Tuesday, Nov. 3, while in line to vote at Campus Lutheran Church in Columbia. The clover was given to him by his grandfather. “I have my lucky charm with me,” Davis said. RIGHT: Luke Davis casts his vote Tuesday morning at Campus Lutheran Church in Columbia. Davis wanted to be one of the first people at the polling place. When he arrived at 5:45 a.m., he was surprised to see a line already stretching to the corner of the street.
LEFT: Packages of campaign information are organized by housing district, turf and door numbers on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Boone County Democrats Headquarters in Columbia. Packages include literature from about each democratic candidate for Boone County and the State of Missouri. The organization divides Columbia into “turfs,” and literature drops take around two hours per turf. RIGHT: Luke Davis, field director for Judy Baker’s campaign and vice president of the Mid-Missouri Young Democrats, leaves candidate information at a voter’s door during a literature drop shift on Monday, Nov. 3 in Columbia. In order to target homes for lit drops, Davis uses an app called Mini V.A.N. that targets people based off of voter history, demographics and more.
As the United States watched and waited for results of the presidential elections Tuesday, the Boone County Democrats held its breath for races closer to home.
The campaign team for Judy Baker had spent months working with volunteers from the community to secure votes for the state Senate race. In preparation for the local election, Baker’s campaign staff phone banked, held rallies for Democratic candidates and dropped off literature to homes in the community.
Luke Davis, field director for Judy Baker’s campaign and vice president of the Mid-Missouri Young Democrats, saw opportunities for growth among voters, even heading into the home stretch.
“Especially right now, with only seven days, we’re just trying to do every opportunity to do direct voter contact that we possibly can,” Davis said.
The Boone County Democrats hosted a watch party on the evening of the election at its headquarters. Attendees watched on two large-screen projectors as results rolled in.
Boone County had a 79.9% turnout of active voters on Election Day. For most of the night, Baker maintained a lead over her opponent, incumbent Caleb Rowden.
However, around 11 p.m., Baker’s campaign consultant Emily Gustafson pulled Baker inside the building to relay the news that she had lost the race for state Senate. Members of the Democratic Party comforted each other as Baker gave her concession speech.
“I feel like we didn’t leave anything undone; we didn’t,” Baker said. “We did all that we could do. And I can’t tell you what a privilege it has been to work with each and every one of you. All of the candidates who are here are the candidates who put their heart into everything.”