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Parson elected to full term as Missouri governor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson overtook Democratic challenger Auditor Nicole Galloway in Tuesday’s election, cinching a full elected term as governor of Missouri.

By Tuesday evening, Parson was ahead by 60 percent of the vote. This is the first time in 32 years a sitting Republican governor has won a general election in Missouri.

Parson was congratulated by Uniting Missouri chairman John Hancock and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, chair of the Republican Governors Association.

“On behalf of America’s Republican governors, I congratulate Gov. Mike Parson on his victory in the great state of Missouri,” Abbott said in a statement. “As a veteran, former sheriff, and small business owner, Gov. Parson has witnessed firsthand the everyday challenges Missourians face and is the right leader to ensure that the Show-Me State bounces back stronger than ever.”

Parson took office in 2018 following the resignation of Eric Greitens. He announced his bid for a full term last September, almost immediately gaining the endorsement of President Donald Trump. He was also backed by Missouri Right to Life, Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, and Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among others. 

Before taking the state’s highest office, Parson served as sheriff of Polk County, a member of the Missouri House and Senate, and finally as lieutenant governor from 2016 to 2018.

Parson faced Galloway, who was appointed to the State Auditor’s Office in 2015 by then-Gov. Jay Nixon. She officially announced her bid for the state’s highest office last year, winning the Democratic nomination in the August primary. 

During her run, she was endorsed by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, EMILY’s List, Brady PAC, and Planned Parenthood, among others. Galloway also received support from the Democratic Governors Association (DGA). 

The candidates sparred over the pandemic and economy during their campaigns, with Galloway’s bid focusing on health care and Parson touting economic recovery in the face of the pandemic. 

Parson faced scrutiny for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both he and the first lady tested positive for coronavirus last month. Galloway called for more statewide mandates, including a mask ordinance and plan for school reopenings. 

Violent crime was also a theme in the election. Parson called lawmakers back to the Capitol for an extraordinary session to address residency requirements for St. Louis public safety officials and to create a pretrial witness protection fund. But high murder rates — particularly in Kansas City and St. Louis — still dominated headlines, leaving Democrats pushing for more gun control efforts. 

As the campaigns neared Election Day, abortion also entered the fray. Parson signed a sweeping anti-abortion bill into law last year — essentially banning abortions after eight weeks with no exemptions for victims of rape or incest — that is still held up in courts. Galloway held fundraisers with Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice activists; Parson vowed to continue fighting to ban abortion in Missouri in the lead up to Nov. 3. 

As of the latest MEC filings prior to the election, Parson had $694,000 cash on hand, while Galloway reported nearly $380,000 in her war chest.

Uniting Missouri, a PAC supporting the Republican incumbent, reported more than $760,000. Galloway’s Keep Government Accountable PAC came in with more than $200,000.