JEFFERSON CITY — A political newcomer from St. Louis wants to challenge Republican Jay Ashcroft for the Missouri secretary of state’s post.
Yinka Faleti, a Democrat, filed paperwork last week to raise money for his bid to challenge the first-term incumbent in the 2020 statewide election.
Faleti told the Post-Dispatch that he is running to confront obstacles to voting, such as voter photo identification laws.
”In this state, we’ve seen the current secretary of state thwarts those efforts,” Faleti said.
Faleti has not reported any fundraising activity, but his deputy treasurer is Mike Pridmore, a veteran Democratic fundraiser who also is working for state Auditor Nicole Galloway as she campaigns.
Faleti, 43, is an Army veteran and former St. Louis assistant prosecutor. He most recently served as the executive director of the Forward Through Ferguson organization and formerly worked at the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
He said running for statewide office will allow him to continue serving Missouri.
”For me, it was the logical next step to help our state move forward,” he said.
Faleti, a native of Nigeria, received his law degree from Washington University in 2007. He is married and has three children.
Forward Through Ferguson was formed in the aftermath of the Ferguson Commission to chart a course toward racial equity in the wake of the 2014 protests over the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a police officer.
Ashcroft, the son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, was elected to the post in 2016. Records show he had nearly $254,000 in his campaign account as of June 30.
As secretary of state, Ashcroft has promoted the state’s controversial voter photo identification law. The office oversees elections, libraries and business services.
In 2016, Ashcroft topped former St. Louis television newscaster Robin Smith in an open race created by then-Secretary of State Jason Kander’s unsuccessful bid to upend Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.
Faleti is the latest Democrat to announce for statewide office in a state dominated by Republicans.
Galloway, the lone Democrat holding statewide office, is running for governor against Republican Gov. Mike Parson.
Lawyer Elad Gross is seeking to unseat Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Former state Rep. Vicki Englund is running for state treasurer against Republican incumbent Scott Fitzpatrick.
No Democrat has announced plans to run for lieutenant governor against incumbent Republican Mike Kehoe.