Top Missouri Democrat stepping away from state party duties

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Democratic Party's chairwoman is stepping aside until at least September.

Jean Peters Baker announced this week that she’s stepping back from her state party duties because of recent developments in her job as Jackson County prosecutor, The Kansas City Star reported. The announcement did not specify the developments, but homicides in Kansas City have reached historic levels with more than 100 barely halfway through the year.

Missouri Democratic Party Vice-Chairman Clem Smith, who is from St. Louis County and served in the Missouri House, will become acting chair. Baker has led the party since 2018.

The announcement did not make clear whether Baker will return as party chairwoman. State party spokesman Andrew Storey said the arrangement is effective until at least the party’s third quarter committee meeting in September.

The switch in party leadership comes as critical elections in August and November approach. State Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, is running to unseat Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

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