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Parson first sitting governor in 3 decades to be nominated by Republicans for second term


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Incumbent Gov. Mike Parson staved off his primary challengers in Tuesday’s election, putting him on track to focus on the November contest. 

By Tuesday evening, Parson was solidly ahead of his primary challengers with 76 percent of the vote. This is the first time in 32 years Missouri Republicans have nominated a sitting governor to serve a second term. 

“As governor, I have been tested since Day 1 — leading Missouri through historic drought, floods, tornadoes, COVID-19, and civil unrest,” Parson said Tuesday night. “I am ready to continue moving this state forward.”

Parson faced challengers in state Rep. Jim Neely and Saundra McDowell. During his campaign, Neely frequently attacked Parson’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly decrying any form of a state shutdown. The term-limited state legislator also opposed mask or vaccine mandates during his campaign. 

McDowell, an Air Force veteran, previously ran for state auditor but lost to Nicole Galloway. By Tuesday evening, McDowell was in second place with 11 percent of the vote, followed by Neely with 9 percent. 

“The RGA congratulates Governor Mike Parson on securing the Republican nomination to keep working for Missouri. Governor Parson has expanded opportunity for citizens of the Show Me State through his historic commitment to workforce development, landmark licensing reforms to break down barriers to success, bold plan to curtail violent crime, and balanced approach to get Missourians back to work and children safely back to school,” RGA Chairman Governor Greg Abbott said. “As a veteran, former sheriff and small business owner, Governor Parson has witnessed firsthand the everyday challenges Missourians face. The RGA is proud to stand behind Governor Parson as he continues to provide game-changing conservative leadership for the people of Missouri.”

It’s been long assumed — even before Tuesday’s elections — that it would be a Parson versus Galloway showdown in November. Pre-primary election polls showed Parson ahead of Galloway, the lone Democratic statewide official, by nearly 10 points. 

As of the latest filings, Parson had more than $1.56 million cash on hand. Galloway had more than $1.62 following a boon during the Q2 fundraising cycle

Uniting Missouri, a PAC supporting Parson has more than $5 million in its warchest compared to Galloway’s Keep Government Accountable, which boasted more than $1.74 million. 

The latest TMT Tipsheet had the November race as “likely Republican.”