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story.lead_photo.caption Michela Skelton

Michela Skelton, a Democratic candidate, has announced she has withdrawn from her campaign for Missouri's 19th state Senate district.

Skelton would have faced state Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, who currently holds the seat, representing Boone and Cooper counties.

Skelton had announced her candidacy in August, but said in a statement from her campaign; "The last four months have been exceedingly hard for my family, with health issues, a car accident, and two deaths in my family. All of this personal hardship has caused me to reflect deeply on where I am most needed and how I can do the most good for my family and my community."

She lost to Republican state Rep. Sara Walsh, of Ashland, in a special election in August 2017 for the 50th House District, which covers northern Moniteau and southern Boone counties, as well as northwestern Cole County and part of southeastern Cooper County.

Skelton campaigned again for that same seat, but 2018 was "a heartbreaking Republican wave election," and she lost again to Walsh that November.

"When no other Democrat had announced their candidacy by August of this year," Skelton said, she decided to run for the 19th Senate district, despite "the toll campaigning had taken on my young family."

Another Democratic candidate, Judy Baker, will face Rowden, Skelton said.

"And I will still be here working in our community, recruiting and supporting candidates for local-level offices, which will give me more flexibility to spend more time with my children when they are young and need me the most. I will also continue my work as a community activist, and I especially look forward to deepening my work with the LGBTQ+ community and the Center Project as a queer, pansexual woman dedicated to building a future where my children will never feel like they need to hide who they are or who they love," Skelton added.

The Center Project is a nonprofit community center that focuses on the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

Skelton thanked her community and supporters — especially "everyone who gave personal encouragement to me and my family through three grueling years of campaigning."

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