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Fitzpatrick launches bid for state auditor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced his candidacy for state auditor Thursday morning, the first Republican to jump into the race after incumbent Nicole Galloway said she would not run for re-election

“Missouri needs an auditor that will be a conservative watchdog for taxpayers,” Fitzpatrick said.

“As a business owner, I learned that watching how every dollar is spent is critically important to long-term success,” Fitzpatrick added. “As auditor, I will watch over your money as if it were my own.  In an era of unprecedented stimulus spending at all levels of government, this job has never been more important to the public. Liberal politicians have used the pandemic as cover to justify spending trillions of dollars of borrowed money to fund their socialist agenda — and we must fight back to stop it. I’ve had the opportunity to live the American dream. I feel a duty to do all I can to help preserve that same opportunity for our kids and grandkids.”

As of the latest campaign finance filings, Fitzpatrick has nearly $101,000 cash on hand. He reported a $250,000 donation to his campaign committee on Thursday. 

The State Auditor’s Officer is tasked with overseeing the effectiveness of Missouri government and the use of public funds. It conducts audits of various agencies, boards, counties, and political subdivisions, taking a look at financial accountability and potential fraud. 

As treasurer, Fitzpatrick worked to bolster the state’s MO ABLE program, which allows Missourians with disabilities to save up to $15,000 a year tax-free for health-related expenses without losing federal benefits. He also expanded the Show-Me Checkbook, a state financial data portal, as well as Missouri’s 529 Education Plan.

Another focus has been unclaimed property; Fitzpatrick returned more than $100 million worth of unclaimed property during his tenure, his office said. 

Fitzpatrick, the youngest statewide official currently serving, represented Barry County as well as parts of Lawrence and Stone counties in the legislature for six years, leaving the lower chamber to join the executive branch. He won his bid for a full term in November, earning more than 59 percent of the vote. 

Fitzpatrick served on the Budget Committee from his first year as a legislator, chairing the committee by his third term. Under his leadership, the committee balanced the state’s budget while fully funding the education formula for two consecutive years and the budget committee engineered a freeze of the low-income housing tax credit. 

Fitzpatrick graduated from the University of Missouri in 2010. Prior to his career in the statehouse, Fitzpatrick founded and ran marine products company MariCorp U.S., which grew from a marina and dock repair company to include regional contracting and national production. 

Fitzpatrick joined a coalition of state treasurers earlier this year warning banks of the impact of President Joe Biden’s climate finance efforts, saying it was “totally inappropriate for the federal government to put that kind of pressure on financial institutions.” 

He also opposed last year’s Medicaid expansion ballot initiative, warning it could have drastic impacts on the state’s financial future. 

House Speaker Rob Vescovo and Rep. David Gregory are also expected to be eyeing the seat. Gregory has nearly $107,000 cash on hand whereas Vescovo has more than $157,000. 

Fundraising won’t be a question for Fitzpatrick. He left the House Budget Committee chairmanship with around $200,000 on hand. He raised about $400,000 for his candidate committee and a quarter million in his PAC and left a race he won handily with $100,000 on hand.