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Parson being rumored for Governor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — As Republicans around the state begin to move forward after the death of State Auditor Tom Schweich they are gearing up for 2016, and speculation about those with undeclared intentions are beginning to peak.

Sen. Mike Parson, who rarely speaks with reporters, is rumored to be mulling a run for governor in 2016, and those mullings are being met with support in many parts of the party.


In January, Parson amended his Missouri Ethics Commission campaign committee’s “statement of committee organization,” to apply for a run for “statewide office.” Parson, R-Bolivar, is quietly sitting on nearly half-a-million dollars in the bank and has spent his time in the senate making plenty of friends, and becoming a fundraising juggxrnaught.

Parson, a former House member, has spent time as Majority Whip and Chair of Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight. He only narrowly lost a race to serve as the Majority Floor Leader to Sen. Ron Richard of Joplin. He raised his statewide profile last week when he took to the floor and delivered a rare lengthy address on the senate floor.

Parson took the floor following the suicide of State Auditor Tom Schweich to decry “dirty” politics. Parson, less than one day before Sen. Jack Danforth delivered a similar message in his homily that set Missouri politics ablaze, aimed remarks squarely at Missouri Republican Chairman John Hancock, candidate for governor Catherine Hanaway, and the political machine surrounding the two.

“Most of us understand how it all began,” Parson said on the floor. “Hiring consultants to manage campaigns and to gather information about opposition candidates to use against them to win elections. In the beginning, I truly believed they were gathering facts to use against your opponent — voting records, things that maybe they had done wrong. They were based on factual basis. I believed that… It has now become a way to promote false information about your opponent. It has turned into totally misleading statements, outright lies and propaganda about a person.  It has become a way to destroy one’s character, to destroy their integrity and their honor not to mention destroying their family that they’ve worked a lifetime to achieve.”

Sen. David Pearce, a friend of Parson, said he agreed with Parson.

“His comments were right on target,” Pearce said. “Very powerful, very meaningful and very timely. He was one of the first people to speak out on the issue about Auditor Schweich’s suicide. I agreed with everything he said.”

Pearce said Parson would make an excellent candidate if he chose to run, but that he hadn’t spoken to Parson about the possibility. Currently, Pearce has endorsed no statewide candidates in any race.

“If Senator Parson and his wife, Teresa, chose to make that decision, he would be a formidable opponent,” said Steve Tilley, former House Speaker and lobbyist.

Parson also spent time hammering a radio ad produced by a newly-created committee, Citizens for Fairness, which likened Schweich to being a “little bug” that would be “squashed” in the general election. The ad also told listeners that Schweich could “easily be mistaken” for fictional television character and bumpkin, Barney Fife.

“To base things totally on one’s appearance and to make reference to one being small, being able to be squashed like a bug should be unacceptable to all of us, to be totally unacceptable to all of us,” Parson said.

Parson may be biding his time as Missouri’s political elite cautiously approach a normal campaign schedule once again. A rural Republican from southwest Missouri, Parson could prove a tough candidate in a primary that could become crowded with St. Louis-area conservatives. A former sheriff and member of the U.S. Army, Parson may well choose to throw his hat in the race.