Six contenders have announced their bid against incumbent Missouri Gov. Mike Parson in the 2020 gubernatorial election, the state’s election coinciding with the U.S. presidential election where voter favorites are still unclear both locally and nationally.
Parson left his lieutenant governor position to become governor following Missouri’s 2016 gubernatorial election winner Eric Greitens’ June 2018 resignation, which occurred during a criminal trial for sexual misconduct that received national attention.
However, in 2020, voters are given more options than settling for an incumbent, the early run shows Parson contended by four Democrats, one Republican and one Libretarian thus far.
The 2020 election, to be held on Nov. 3, is a critical moment for voters in the state to contest the country’s “slide toward socialism,” Parson said in a speech he gave in his hometown of Bolivar, Missouri, where he announced his bid September 2019.
“We see now across our country that the extreme left wants to fundamentally change who we are,” Parson said at Bolivar High School. “They want to change our country and our state forever.”
State Auditor Nicole Galloway, D-Mo., announced her bid for governor in August 2019, running on a platform focused on transparency and fiscal responsibility.
Galloway has served as auditor since appointed by former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in 2015, then received an elected term in 2018. Heading key audits that led to the discovery of $350 million of mismanaged money in the state and 48 criminal counts against public officials, Galloway said she is prepared to do what it takes to provide fairness to Missouri taxpayers.
“That’s not a Democratic agenda or a Republican agenda — that’s a Missouri agenda,” Galloway wrote on her campaign website. “We’ll only get it if we completely change how Jefferson City works and who it works for.”
With an additional focus on education, health care and stimulating the local economy, Galloway said she plans to “fix a broken system.”
“It’s a broken system, the old way of doing politics,” Galloway said of the Missouri state capitol in her campaign video. “As auditor, I fought it; as governor, I’ll end it.”
Democrats Eric Morrison, La’Ondrill Brown and Edward Thurman have also announced their bids for the race and will challenge Galloway in the primary election Aug. 4.
Morrison had 9.67% of the primary vote in 2016, falling short of Chris Koster who received 78.75% of the vote and ended up running against and losing to Greitens.
Though Galloway appears an early favorite for Democrats in January and Parson a favorite among Republicans, there is still time for more candidates to announce bids.
The filing deadline is March 31, and the only Republican challenger for Parson so far is James Neeley, R-Mo., who represents the 8th district in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Neely visited Northwest during a College Republicans regular meeting Oct. 21, 2019.
Neely said his work in committee assignments on health care policy, health insurance and the children, families and persons with disabilities appointment helped prepare and motivate him for candidacy.
“There are a lot of issues with the way medical and insurance is working,” Neely said at the October meeting. “Why is St. Francis part of Mosaic now? Why does this happen? Do we want bigger business? ... Greater distance between administration and patients leads to a lot of problems.”
College Republicans President junior Jasper Logan said the club has reached out to Parson’s campaign and also plan to bring more candidates to campus, especially those running for local office.
“This election is very important for Republicans,” Logan said. “Under the Parson administration, we have seen an economic boom, lowest employment in 60 years and landmark pro-life legislation. It’s important we continue that progress.”
College Democrats President junior Spencer Owens was unavailable for comment, but the group reaches out to campaigns each year to bring democratic candidates to campus so students can get a feel for voting options in election year 2020.