JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Last Thursday, Speaker Todd Richardson announced he would not run for auditor in 2018. On Sunday morning’s episode of This Week in Missouri Politics, host Scott Faughn prepared a tentative list of potential republicans to run against the incumbent Nicole Galloway.
Auditor is the position in the executive that runs every four years in off-year elections, save for U.S. Senate. Galloway, Missouri’s current auditor, is the only Democrat in the executive branch. Because she was appointed the position in 2015 after the death of Auditor Tom Schweich, she will be running on a statewide ballot for the office for the first time in her career. While certain Republicans would like another Republican in the office, Galloway believes the office is beyond partisan ideologies.
Since Richardson decided to step aside on Thursday, Missouri politicos have been speculating who Republicans will put up to replace Galloway.
Sen. Mike Kehoe is allegedly interested. Kehoe, the state senate majority leader, is highly approved by both the General Assembly and the rest of the state. He has been in the Missouri Senate since 2010 and the Chair of the Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions & Ethics Committee. On the show, many selected him to the be a favored candidate who can effectively fundraise. Faughn referred to Kehoe’s fundraising ability by saying “he can raise the money because of how respected he is in all corners of the state.”
David Wasinger, who announced shortly after Richardon forgoing the rate, is also seeking the Republican nomination. Wasinger, a Hannibal native, is a certified public accountant and is currently an Of Counsel partner of Wasinger Daming. In 2012, Wasinger gained a strong reputation after winning cases against Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & CO for defrauding the U.S. government by submitting sub par home loans for federal insurance. After filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission, Wasinger donated $500,000 of his own money towards his campaign.
Former state Senator Kurt Schaefer also made it onto Faughn’s unofficial list.
Marsha Haefner is facing term limits in the House and might be considering running for auditor, should a race for U.S. Senate not pan out. She is known for her prowess on the House Budget committee, as she has been serving on the committee since 2011. She has been an advocate for children and trying to improve Missouri’s policy on health and social services. This past year, she sponsored a bill that made police officers a protected class so that they would be eligible for protection from hate crimes.
Rep. David Gregory, who Faughn refers to as “a rising star,” was briefly mentioned to be interested in the race. In 2017, he served on the House Budget Committee which was able to fully fund the K-12 education formula for the first time since it’s inception. He also served on the House Judiciary committee. In his first year as a legislator, he sponsored a handful of bills, some of which attempted to give the attorney general jurisdiction to enforce state abortion laws, modified provisions relating to the Missouri ethics commission, and establish licenses for professional combat sports.
Rep. Paul Curtman is also potentially interested in the race. Curtman is facing term limits in the House and is considering a race for U.S. Senate against Claire McCaskill. Faughn believes that should he not win, running for auditor would be an easy transition. In 2017, Curtain was the Ways and Means Chair of the House Committee and served on the Joint Committee for Government Accountability and on the Joint Committee on Tax policy. He also has been sponsoring a bill that would legalize industrial hemp for use for the past three years, but has failed to get a vote.
Reflecting on the upcoming race, Rep. John Weimann is optimistic that the 2018 will be a good year for Missouri Republicans. Many Americans are looking at McCaskill’s seat in the US Senate as being one of the tight races in Missouri, but Weimann thinks Republicans can reclaim two seats from Democrats in 2018. “There’s going to be a lot of people showing up at the ballot this November because we have issues on the ballot. Republicans stand a good chance of picking up both the Auditor race and certainly the Senate race. We have solid candidates,” he said.
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer