JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Republicans are taking aim at Nicole Galloway as they set their sights on the only statewide office held by a Democrat.

Following a clean Republican sweep in 2016, Galloway, the current state auditor, has work cut out for her. This is her first race for the position, having been appointed to the role by then-Gov. Jay Nixon.

Now, she faces a field of Republicans looking to challenge her: Rep. Paul Curtman of Pacific; David Wasinger, a lawyer and accountant from St. Louis County; Kevin M. Roach, an accountant from Chesterfield; and Saundra McDowell, a lawyer from Jefferson City. The four Republicans will face off in the August primary to secure the GOP nomination.

The Missouri Republican Party has taken target at Galloway’s status as a Democrat in a new digital ad and the launch of a website.

“Nicole is injecting her far-left views into Missouri,” the ad states, citing her support of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race and being named a “Rising Star” by EMILY’s List.

Galloway has billed herself as “as Missouri’s only independent watchdog.”

Under her leadership, the state auditor’s office has found MoDOT, Highway Patrol employees engaged in questionable, biased practices along with inadequate prevention, detection of SNAP abuse, inaccuracies in unemployment insurance program financial activities, an increased number of Missourians receiving late tax refunds, and more.

In April, the Republican-led General Assembly released an audit of Galloway’s office and found it to be managed efficiently and effectively. The auditors performed two separate reviews that found the office’s overall operations are managed professionally and cybersecurity measures are effective.

An overall review of the State Auditor’s Office’s finances and procedures found the office functions “in a professional, efficient and economical manner.” The audit also found Galloway reduced travel expenses by 30 percent over the past two years and decreased overall office expenditures.

But the GOP ad calls “liberal Nicole” “wrong for Missouri.” The Missouri Republican Party has also launched a website, www.liberalnicole.com, in opposition to Galloway.

“Our ads highlight her liberal past to ensure that Missouri voters know the truth heading into November and won’t be fooled by her insistence that she’s an independent,” said Chris Nuelle, a spokesperson for the Missouri Republican Party.

So far, Wasinger has a slight edge in the Republican race. He is the “only Republican candidate for State Auditor who is a Certified Public Accountant with an accounting background and proven record of uncovering taxpayer fraud” along with taking the lead in fundraising and endorsements.

The November ballot will also include O’Toole as the Libertarian candidate, Don Fitz as the Green candidate, and Jacob Luetkemeyer as the Constitution candidate.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.