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Thoughts on the Parson, Galloway gubernatorial debate

Well, this weekend, while doing some work on the farm I had the chance to listen to the gubernatorial debate between Mike Parson and Nicole Galloway and a couple of other very nice gentlemen. Instead of recapping it — like I’m sure you’ve seen in a whole mess of places — I decided to just give you how it struck me in a timeline. 

I used the video from the Fox 2 in St. Louis story: . It was broken into 3 parts; you can follow along if you’re so inclined as I’ve time stamped it. 

2:30 First thing that struck me was that there was no question that David Lieb was the best man for the job. He is the only Missouri reporter that I honestly don’t think I could guess with much confidence in his politics. It’s challenging for a Republican to trust any member of the media, but I reckon Gov.Parson could count on a fair shake from David. 


3:30 I’ll tell ya, this hillbilly respects the Green Party candidate Jerome Bauer for wearing jeans with a Cardinal Red shirt for the debate. 

4:00 Galloway attacks special interests — interesting coming from her. Drives home the point that Parson has failed. She has clearly come to attack and is sharp. 

5:00 Rik Combs seems like a real nice guy. Sharp tie. I can’t help but wonder if he is kin to Ray Combs, the old Family Feud host. 

6:30 Parson ignores the shot and tells his story of being from Wheatland population 356 and then lists his resume of starting work at 14, serving in the Army and as sheriff, being a farmer, and businessman. You couldn’t tell he has been sick at all from the looks of him. 

Hillbilly bottom line: Galloway came here to attack Parson in an attempt to close a gap in a race where she is behind. Parson came here to say he did a debate, list his resume, and maintain his lead. It was nice of Mr. Lieb to invite the other two. 


11:00 Galloway restates her plan to issue government mandates, including mask mandates for everyone from St. Louis County to St. Clair County. 

13:30 Parson draws the contrast and restates his plan of letting St. Louis County makes its choices and St. Louis County makes its own choices. 

13:30 Galloway says that COVID showed cracks already in society and talks about the lack of rural health care. Pivots to Medicaid Expansion: “Where you live shouldn’t dictate whether you have health care.” She calls Parson “cruel” for opposing Medicaid expansion. 

13:45 Galloway says Parson is responsible for Missourians getting COVID. BREAKING: Parson doesn’t agree. Look if you get COVID and want to blame the government, then you probably know who you’re voting for. 

16:00 Parson again delivers his diverse response for a diverse state line that at this point I figure he could give in his sleep. 

17:50 Galloway says Missourians want a governor to protect them from the virus. I about swallowed my Skoal here. I want someone to protect me from the government! I’m a lot more scared of the government than a virus. 

18:00 Galloway says she wants COVID under control so we can reopen schools. I think she is missing the fact that most of the state’s schools are open. She says he encourages folks to wear masks during the week but doesn’t wear one all the time on the weekends. Says Parson is a “do as I say, not as I do”.

18:50 Parson says this is starting to look like the bickering between Trump and Biden. He complements the hospital workers’ work to treat the virus. BREAKING: Galloway agrees that the doctors and nurses are doing a great job, 

Hillbilly bottom line: If you currently don’t have a mask mandate and you want then Galloway is your choice. If you don’t already have a mask mandate and you don’t want one then Parson is your man. If you already have one, then I guess no matter who you vote for you’re gonna still have one. 

The economy

20:30 Parson gives a subtle dig at China, drops Frank White’s name as someone who needed masks, and he got them for him. 

20:55 Parson touts the Missouri plan and gives one of many compliments to the Missouri Hospital Association and says when the East Coast and West Coast “experts” didn’t know how to react, they created a Missouri plan to address the virus. 

25:50 Galloway says that the best thing for the economy is to contain COVID-19, says there are millions of COVID recovery dollars stuck at the state level. Says she has found $370,000,000 million of waste and fraud. 

28:00 Parson now lists all of the new jobs and talks about bringing kids back to school. 

28:30 In response to the learning gap of keeping kids out of school, Galloway says she wants her kids in school. Says she has a plan that gives a guideline of how many cases in a community for kids to open. She hits Parson on his line of “kids will get over it”.

29:00 The Libertarian Party candidate, Rik Combs, seems like a reasonable and really nice guy. 

30:50 Parson talks about his Missouri response to schools and reiterates that he relies on the local school boards and administrators. Discusses the challenges of not having school that go beyond learning like meals and childcare. 

Hillbilly bottom line: They all believe curing COVID is the key to an economic recovery. Now the real issue is how much you harm the economy in the short term by shutting it down until there is a cure. Galloway wants more restrictions and shutdowns at the expense of the economy while Parson wants fewer restrictions and a better economy in the short run at the expense of further virus spreading.

Now on crime

2:02 Parson touts working with clergy on violent crime. Then says we need more police officers. Then talks about working with the federal government on Operation Legend and his work on witness protection. 

4:00 Galloway again says she has a plan that consists of gun control and working on the root causes of crime. She is probably right in the long term, but in the short term, this is a tough issue for every Democrat.

5:00 Parson says her (Galloway’s) liberal agenda is the cause of the violent crime in Missouri.

5:30 Galloway says she doesn’t support defunding the police. Claims Parson has defunded the police. In reality, this is hogwash. Because of covid Parson had to do withholdings throughout state government, and comparably took it pretty easy on the police. It’s technically true, but it’s as much a pig in a poke as Parson saying he hasn’t run any negative ads against Galloway (we will get to that later).

Hillbilly bottom line: Parson wants to talk about crime, probably his best issue overall and for sure is in the suburbs. Galloway doesn’t want to talk about crime. If she is too tough on crime then it hurts her on the left; if she isn’t tough enough, she gets tagged with the police line which would eliminate any chance for her to pull off the upset. 

Social Justice

6:15 So here you can tell Mr. Lieb ain’t asking questions anymore. There is a question of which social justice reforms they would implement. And just when I had my dip in real good again was when Parson looked the reporter right in the eye and said: “We’ve been working on that since day one.” Now, he wasn’t being a smart aleck here; I think it’s just the difference in how a Polk County farmer and a liberal reporter take to the term social justice. 

Then he says Black Lives Matter and all lives matter. Parson says he has been working on this issue from day one. Says when you’re in a foxhole it doesn’t matter your race. Touts working with Lincoln University for the first POST program at an HBCU. 

7:30 Combs comes out for reparations for slavery. He is bringing the heat. I bet he is a really sincere nice guy too. At first, I thought the other two candidates were a distraction, but I think they have shown pretty well. 

8:30 Galloway says she has a police reform package and references George Floyd. Then claims Parson is engaging in “racially divisive tactics.” 

10:30 Mr. Lieb then went back to Galloway to explain her attack, and she says describing her as pro-crime and showing her with African American leaders — who I’m assuming have called for defunding the police — is “racially divisive.” She didn’t look as confident defending that comment. 

10:45 Parson says his campaign has never run a negative ad about the state auditor. Well, that is technically true, but like not really true at all; his PAC has done plenty of it. Then he lists Elizabeth Warren and Cori Bush as people Galloway has endorsed as people who have called for defunding the police and even tossed an attack at Clem Smith. He says it does matter who you run with. Parson says he will never defund the police officers. He was clearly ready for this, and it’s his best issue. 

13:00 Now another reporter asks if anyone in the state is willing to defund the police at all, in any way. Now you’re all very highly intelligent readers and I’m just a simple hillbilly, but I kinda got the sense at this point that maybe, just maybe, some of the reporters on this panel were itching for someone to say they would defund the police, just a smidge, just a lil. 

13:30 Galloway took the opportunity to promise, cross her heart, and swear on the St. Louis Cardinals that she is not for defunding the police. Then did the attack that Parson withheld some funding for the police. One of two things is happening here: 1) She is throwing this pretty misleading attack because she is mad that she is being unfairly accused of joining others in her party wanting to defund the police; or 2) As has been the case with Democrats for while they bring in folks from out of state to run their campaigns and get them to say things they don’t mean in a scorched earth campaign because, hell, they will be back on the East Coast before Veterans Day anyhow. Just a white trash observation, but there are 6 million Missourians, north of 2 million of them are Democrats; get one of them to run the 2022 U.S. Senate race. 

15:15 Parson touts his endorsement of every law enforcement group. Ain’t nobody worried that the ol’ sheriff is gonna defund the police, and he knows it. Then attacks Galloway for releasing an audit critical of law enforcement organizations. 

16:30 Galloway denies this — cause its snipe hunting. It ain’t real, and the governor knows it. 

Hillbilly bottom line: I believe the reporters were wanting to hear Parson and Galloway throw a dig at the police. Instead, this line of questioning essentially turned into Jeff Roorda appreciation day. Because they both essentially agree the attacks turn into silliness. However, every second of this campaign where they are talking about the police is good for Republicans. 

Clean Missouri 

18:15 Galloway supports Clean Missouri and doesn’t want to change it. 

19:40 Parson repeats the Republican point that Clean Missouri was passed on the back of ethics reform while really being about redistricting changes. He is right, but his side lost. 

Hillbilly bottom line: The only way Clean Missouri is going anywhere is from a judge after a map is drawn. Republicans have some valid points about the issue, but they lost, #scoreboard.


23:10 Parson makes the point that he has stepped up and took on the tough task of getting more money into MoDOT, even working in rural broadband. Says the state needs additional revenue to meet its needs. He should be as proud of this as anything he has done. 

25:20 Galloway turns the transportation issue back to COVID-19. She sure stays on message. Says Parson isn’t a conservative, then runs down a list of Post-Dispatch attacks on Parson. 

Hillbilly bottom line: This is a big issue. It’s hard to deal with in a campaign season. I’d figure Galloway would be nearly as good for MoDOT as Parson, but Parson can probably get more done as a Republican. 

Workforce Development 

32:00 Galloway attacks Parson on some withholdings. 

33:44 Parson says everything saw a withholding during covid. 

34:00 Then Galloway hit the gambling machines and hits him for taking campaign contributions. 

Hillbilly bottom line: They are both gonna put workforce development as a priority. For Parson, it might be unique for a Republican to do so. Galloway’s attack seemed a little forced. 

Are ya gonna raise taxes?

36:00 Galloway ain’t for raising taxes but would hit retailers’ timely filing discount. 

38:00 Parson says he ain’t raising taxes either. Does the waste, fraud, and abuse Republican three-step. Hits Galloway on not auditing Medicaid. Compliments Todd Richardson for finding waste and fraud. 

Hillbilly bottom line: Neither seems real interested in raising taxes. 

Where will you get the money for Medicaid Expansion?

39:30 Galloway says it’s gonna be budget neutral now and save money later and is a pretty big fan of Medicaid. 

41:00 Parson says it’s gonna cost a lot of money in the short run, attacks Galloway for not auditing the roles before now. Says it ain’t gonna be free, but the people voted for it and we are gonna put it in place. 

Hillbilly bottom line: It seems possible that it saves money over time, but it’s hard to see anyone that it won’t cost money in the first year or two. 

Closing Statements 

43:00 Barnes says voting for the Green Party isn’t a wasted vote. 

45:30 Parson restates his resume, says the word Christian, talks about the pledge of allegiance, the anthem, and the flag. Touts his law enforcement experience. Request humbly for folks to vote for him. 

48:00 Combs says his campaign is based on freedom. 

50:00 Galloway says she is running for working families. Says Parson’s solutions are too small for our problems, says he has failed. Says he is beholden to special interests. Says Parson was promoted by powerful people and is beholden to them, ya Nicole Galloway said that. I wouldn’t say she is beholden to them, but she was clearly promoted by powerful people. She ends with a plug for

Hillbilly bottom line: The real polling I’ve seen shows Parson up around 8% — that was reflected in each candidate’s approach to the debate. Parson got to show up and talk about his resume and be statesmanlike while Galloway had to come on the attack and try and make up some ground. 

Galloway wants to talk about Medicaid, COVID, and call Parson an insider. Parson wants to talk about law enforcement and the economy. The state is Republican, it’s not +19 percent as it was in 2016, but it’s still probably 7-9 percent Republican. Galloway has to outrun her national party, and Parson is going to spend millions to remind people that she is a Democrat. 

Fundamentally the race hasn’t changed much for the last year. Galloway has to play ball on some level with the national Democrats because she gets her funding from national groups. Hence when you hear her saying something that doesn’t sound quite like her it’s probably being touted by someone who doesn’t know the water tower is Tipton is an 8ball. She is a better than average candidate and is likely to run better than Biden. 

However, that probably isn’t enough. She didn’t show poorly at all in the debate but probably didn’t move the needle either. Parson just needed not to lose any ground, and probably didn’t. At the end of the day as long as Trump doesn’t completely crater it’s hard to see the race changing. 

In other news: The Republicans are set for some interesting leadership races in November. 

Rep. Bill Kidd is now challenging the incumbent Speaker Pro Tem, John Wiemann. 

The big race is the Floor Leader race where Rep. Curtis Trent is running a hot race with Rep. Dean Plocher with Rep. J. Eggleston pretty far back. In the Assistant Leader race to replace Rep. Eggleston, Rep. Hannah Kelly is facing Rep. Jeff Porter and Rep. Louis Riggs. For Whip its Rep. Allen Andrews facing Rep. Don Mayhew. For Caucus Chair is Rep. Chris Dinkins vs. Rep. Brenda Shields vs. Rep. Sara Walsh. Finally for Caucus Secretary is Rep. Tom Hannegan vs. Rep. Ann Kelley.

I’m personally sad to see Renee Hulshof leaving the Columbia airwaves.

But as one leaves radio another is growing his show. Former Speaker Tim Jones is starting a consulting company and expanding his radio presence to the daily morning show on KWTO in Springfield. 

Be sure to tune in Sunday for This Week in Missouri Politics for a debate between candidates in the hottest Senate race in the state with Sen. Andrew Koenig and Rep. Deb Lavender.