Mostly unelected incumbents running statewide in Missouri

NICOLE GALLOWAY, Missouri’s elected state auditor, is challenging incumbent Gov. Mike Parson for the state’s top office. Parson ascended to the governor’s office in 2018 following the resignation of his predecessor, Eric Greitens. – Columbia Tribune photo

In 2016, not a single incumbent sought re-election to one of the five statewide executive branch offices on the ballot that year, marking the first time that had occurred since 1992. This year, incumbents are running in all five, but only one actually won election to his current post in 2016.

On Election Day, Nov. 3, Missourians will get a chance to actually choose the people occupying those offices.

The incumbent at the top of the ticket is Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who is being challenged by Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway. Parson was elected lieutenant governor in 2016 but moved up to the top job when his predecessor, Eric Greitens, resigned in disgrace in 2018.

Parson later appointed Republican Mike Kehoe to replace him as lieutenant governor. Former Kansas City Councilwoman Alissa Canady is the Democrat seeking the post.

After Republican Josh Hawley won election to the U.S. Senate in November 2018 and vacated the office of attorney general – which he had previously promised not to use as a ladder to higher office when he campaigned in 2016 – Parson appointed State Treasurer Eric Schmitt as Hawley’s replacement. The Democratic candidate for attorney general is former federal prosecutor Rich Finnegan.

Following Schmitt’s job shift, Parson appointed Republican Scott Fitzpatrick as state treasurer. Vicki Englund, a former state representative, is the Democratic candidate running against him.

Among the 2016 statewide winners, only Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican, remains in the same post. Attorney and West Point military academy graduate Yinka Faleti is the Democratic nominee seeking that post.

Missouri’s sixth statewide elected executive branch office – state auditor – appears on the ballot in non-gubernatorial years, as has been since the case since 1950 when it was constitutionally separated from the other five for election purposes. If Galloway is elected governor, she would appoint her replacement as state auditor.



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