JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As Governor Jay Nixon prepares to leave on a trade mission to Europe, he told KWMU that he is “into the process now, pretty heavily” of selecting the next permanent State Auditor. The list of contenders seems to be fluctuating with some pretty wild speculations.
Here is a list of most frequently mentioned candidates:
Former State Representative Jeff Harris is the name most frequently mentioned. He is one of the closest aides to the Governor, has won elected office, serving as state representative and Minority Leader, and has run statewide before. He would be relinquishing the opportunity to be a judge, but how could anyone with Harris’ pedigree turn down a statewide office?
Former State Senator Victor Callahan. The Governor also told KWMU his key considerations would be “ethics and the skill set.” Callahan certainly passes those tests and brings to the table a top flight political acumen and an already stocked campaign war chest. Perhaps more intriguing is that if Callahan is appointed a seat would open up on the Tax Commission, a seat that a member of either party could be appointed to.
Boone County Treasurer Nicole Galloway. She is a fresh face with a lot of buzz and is also a CPA, so she is qualified. You hear a constant narrative from Democrats that they would like to have a woman in statewide office, and this is an opportunity to have a woman who is young and would be someone who would be competitive in 2018.
Former State Senator Maida Coleman. The Governor has turned to her before to handle tough jobs, and this would be a way to reach out to the African-American community by appointing the first African-American statewide office holder. She is qualified serving in both the legislature and the executive branch.
State Representative Caleb Jones. As the process drags on, there is a narrative espoused by some that he could appoint a Republican to the post, and Jones would be great choice. He meets all of the Governor’s stated criteria and if he is state auditor, he isn’t running for the Boone County senate seat, all but handing a win to Rep. Stephen Webber. After all, the state did elect a Republican auditor to audit a Democratic administration. Twice.
Other potentials candidates:
St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones. Seems she would rather wait in line to become Mayor of St. Louis.
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel may have moved on to a point in his life where he isn’t all that interested.
Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters-Baker reportedly likes her current job better than potentially being auditor.
Senator Scott Sifton. Probably can’t lose him in the Senate.
Senator Jason Holsman. See above.
Director of the Department of Labor Ryan McKenna would be a great selection, would be interesting to know of his interest.
Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. His name is attached to every office.
Interim State Auditor John Watson. He could certainly do the job, but doesn’t appear to want it.
Collin Reischman is the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. To contact Collin, email email@example.com or via Twitter at @CMReischman