The year 2024 isn’t here yet, but there is already a crowded field of contenders for Missouri Secretary of State.

Senate President Pro-tem Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, entered the race just over a week ago when he displayed campaign signs at Mizzou’s homecoming parade. He told Missourinet affiliate KFRU in Columbia that he plans on running a positive campaign.

“I’m sure there will be contentious moments; I’m not I’m not naïve enough to think that that may not happen with with everybody running for office,” Rowden said. But…I’m not going into it in an adversarial manner and I hope that we can put the interests of Missourians and the interest of good public policy up in front of our political ambitions.”

If there are contentious moments in the upcoming contest, it will likely be between Rowden and fellow State Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg. Hoskins blocked passage of a bill to legalize sports betting because it didn’t address video lottery, and Rowden openly criticized Hoskins for killing the bill for the second year in a row. Rowden said, though, he can put the Secretary of State’s race aside and work with Hoskins on the Senate floor during next year’s legislative session.

“I’m not going to use the Senate as a bludgeoning tool against Senator Hoskins,” he said. “I think our interests, I think in a lot of instances, are aligned. There’ll be a time to talk about politics.”

Hoskins was a member of the so-called Conservative Caucus in the Missouri Senate, which often clashed with other Senate Republicans — Rowden included — over Congressional redistricting and other issues.

“I think there will be folks who will paint me as, you know, not sufficiently conservative or whatever else,” Rowden said. “I would put my record against literally anybody in the history of Republican politics in the (Missouri) legislature, relative to the things that I’ve been able to accomplish in these positions of leadership.”

He said his goals for the office include making election data more transparent and making it easier to start a business in Missouri.

“It’s a call-balls-and-strikes type of office in a lot of ways and, you know, you don’t always have to swing the biggest partisan stick in that office,” he said. “Hopefully, we can bring some folks together and be honest about where the challenges are.”

Besides Rowden and Hoskins, State Rep. Adam Schwadron, R-St. Charles, and former House Speaker Pro-tem Shane Schoeller, R-Springfield, are seeking the Republican nod for Secretary of State. Schoeller, who’s now Greene County Clerk, won the GOP nomination for Secretary of State in 2012 but lost to Democrat Jason Kander in the November general election that year.

Fellow Republican and current Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is running for governor.

So far, no Democrats are running for Secretary of State.

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