An early look at the 2020 Missouri gubernatorial race

Henry Gamber

All things considered, Missouri is a solidly red state. With supermajorities in both the state Senate and House and control of all state-wide elected positions beside the state auditor seat, the GOP has a strong grip on Missouri. 

So when State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s gubernatorial campaign announced it had raised over $200,000 more than governor Mike Parson’s campaign in the last fiscal quarter, people took notice. 

Galloway was appointed as state auditor by former Governor Jay Nixon in 2015 and was elected to a full term in 2018.

Galloway’s campaign committee raised $544,829 compared to Parson’s $316,000 in the third quarter of the fiscal year. However, the funds raised by the campaigns don’t tell the whole story.

Political action committees (PACs), are private organizations created to raise and spend money to support candidates. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in the same period of time, the Uniting Missouri PAC (which had been formed to back Parson) raised $1,500,000. In contrast PACs supporting Galloway raised only $517,500.

“I really feel that she is going to energize people from all around the state,” said UMKC College Democrats President Bella Vadovicky when asked about Galloway. 

Vadovicky was one of the many UMKC students and alumni who attended a recent fundraiser for Galloway in Kansas City.

Galloway and Parson, while considered to be the two major candidates in the race, are not the only ones running for the governor’s seat.

Parson, who became governor in 2018 after Eric Greiten resigned, faces a single challenger: state representative James Neely. 

However, the Missouri Times has reported Greitens may be staging a comeback bid for the governor’s seat.

Running against Galloway in the Democratic primary is La’Ondrill Brown, a teacher from Florissant, Missouri. 

One question facing Galloway’s campaign is viability. In a state that Republican President Donald Trump won by 18.5% in 2016, some question the possibility of a Democratic candidate winning. However, her supporters remain hopeful.

“She has proven that she is electable statewide,” Vadovicky stated, referring to Galloway’s election in 2018, which made her the only statewide elected Democrat in Missouri.

Galloway does face an uphill battle in 2020. Parson is the incumbent Republican in a red state and won his race for lieutenant governor in 2016 by 15%. Many agree, however, that Galloway will likely be a formidable challenge.

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