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Democratic state Sen. Karla May will enter Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest

Sen. Karla May, D-St. Louis, is sworn in on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, during the first day of the legislative session at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Sen. Karla May, D-St. Louis, is sworn in on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, during the first day of the legislative session at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

The St. Louis legislator will be the third major Democratic contender hoping to run against U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

Another Democrat is planning to jump into the race to unseat U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

State Sen. Karla May, D-St. Louis, told the Mound City Bar Association over the weekend she will run for the U.S. Senate next year. May told St. Louis Public Radio that she would speak to the press about her political future later this week.

May has represented portions of St. Louis and St. Louis County in the Missouri Senate since 2019. Before that, she served for eight years in the state House.

Since joining the Senate, May has played a role in crafting legislation dealing with criminal justice issues. She’s also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is partly responsible for crafting Missouri’s budget.

May, the daughter of former St. Louis Alderwoman Parrie May, garnered a reputation as a sharp political operator. She noted during a 2018 appearance on Politically Speaking that she started working in campaigns before she graduated from high school.

“By the time I actually got to high school, I was actually managing street teams knocking on doors and getting out the vote,” May said in 2018.

And since falling short in her initial bids for the Missouri House, May has dispatched strong Democratic contenders in primaries. That includes her 2018 state Senate win over the incumbent, Sen. Jake Hummel.

May will join Lucas Kunce and Wesley Bell in the Democratic primary.

Kunce, who is making his second run for the Senate, already has raised several million dollars and received the endorsement of several influential political figures — including former U.S. Rep. Bill Clay and St. Louis County Councilwoman Rita Days, D-Bel Nor.

Kunce also received the backing of the Missouri AFL-CIO, as well as a number of labor unions. But May, a longtime member of the Communications Workers of America, could receive support from organized labor groups, as well.

Bell, who has served as St. Louis County prosecutor since 2019, is also banking on receiving African American support in his Senate bid. He recently rolled out endorsements from a number of north St. Louis County leaders, including Ferguson Mayor Ella Jones. Bell also is backed by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Copyright 2023 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Since entering the world of professional journalism in 2006, Jason Rosenbaum dove head first into the world of politics, policy and even rock and roll music. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Rosenbaum spent more than four years in the Missouri State Capitol writing for the Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri Lawyers Media and the St. Louis Beacon. Since moving to St. Louis in 2010, Rosenbaum's work appeared in Missouri Lawyers Media, the St. Louis Business Journal and the Riverfront Times' music section. He also served on staff at the St. Louis Beacon as a politics reporter. Rosenbaum lives in Richmond Heights with with his wife Lauren and their two sons.
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