On Feb. 26, 2015, Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich committed suicide.He was upset by a whispering campaign, claiming he could not win the Republican 2016 primary for governor because he was Jewish, and he wasn’t tough enough for the job. Schweich was a Presbyterian.At his funeral a few days later, former United Nations ambassador, former Missouri senator, and godfather of the Missouri Republican Party John Danforth eulogized Schweich by saying, “Words do hurt. Words can kill. That has been proven right here in our home state.”With Schweich’s death, the 2016 Republican gubernatorial primary field was more open than expected.Danforth waited for first-time candidate Eric Greitens to vanquish the field of establishment candidates with a pledge to clean up state government. Danforth endorsed him.On Aug. 16, after the primary victory, the Associated Press reported, “In an email message distributed Thursday by Greitens’ campaign, Danforth said politicians ‘have turned politics into the worst kind of personality contest’ and that ‘they must be servants first.'”Danforth then touted Greitens’ public service and military record. Greitens rode Donald Trump’s 19-point Missouri landslide into office in 2016.That same night, state Sen. Mike Parson won the lieutenant governor’s race, running separately from Greitens.To describe Greitens’ administration as rocky is an understatement. He clashed with state legislators of both parties.Greitens was also accused of a tawdry affair with the woman who cut his hair and was hounded by serious questions about the dealings of his nonprofit charity and primary political action committee.In late May of 2018, Greitens resigned under pressure, setting off a ripple of change in Missouri leadership. That afternoon, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson was at his farm near Bolivar in southwest Missouri. His wife, Teresa, was shopping in Springfield.Parson got a call from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, and soon he was whisked away to Jefferson City to assume the governorship.Parson assumed office under the best of circumstances. Some Missourians were already tired of Greitens’ grandstanding.Members of the Legislature were weary of Greitens’ constant criticism that they were all corrupt, both Republicans and Democrats. Parson assumed the governor’s office as a known entity to state lawmakers. Lawmakers on both sides were satisfied.Republicans knew he would be a conservative governor who would lead the super GOP majorities in the Legislature. Democrats were relieved because his reputation was one of being an opponent who they could respect, and he would respectfully disagree with them.Parson’s first 21 months as governor were standard. He even received Democratic praise for supporting a 10-cent increase in the fuel tax to provide needed money for roads. But privately, the move irritated some conservative Republicans who called him “Tax Hike Mike” behind his back.In 2019, Parson cast his eye toward the 2020 campaign. He signed an abortion restriction bill, outlawing abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest.That move galvanized Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway to challenge Parson in 2020. The truth is, after the 2016 wipeout of Democratic office holders statewide – which included the losing the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and state treasurer seats – and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2018, Galloway was the only one left.And the Democratic bench wasn’t thin, it was nonexistent.Early on, Galloway hoped to use the abortion bill, one of the most restrictive in the nation, as the foundation of her campaign.It never caught on.Then the COVID-19 outbreak happened.While Missouri did not sustain as many COVID-19 cases in the virus’ early stages, the state’s economy suffered an enormous hit from the mandatory and voluntary shutdowns of businesses. Across the state, many people were scared and did not spend as much money as normal.Parson urged calm. He promised help from the state but never instituted a statewide shutdown or a mask mandate. He said the state was too diverse for a one-size-fits-all attack on the virus. He told Missourians to be responsible for their own conduct, to wash their hands and socially distance.He repeatedly called for a balanced approach between public safety and the state’s small business economy.Over Memorial Day weekend, huge crowds of Missourians jammed into the clubs, restaurants and docks of the Lake of the Ozarks. Few people were wearing masks or maintaining social distance. The images made news all over the country. And the number of coronavirus cases kept climbing in Missouri through the spring, summer and now surging again in the fall.After winning a virtually uncontested primary, Galloway made an important pivot in her campaign.She abandoned the abortion issue completely and started a fierce and concentrated attack on Parson’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Missouri.She attacked him for not issuing a statewide mask mandate. She attacked him for not moving harder on controlling the virus or adhering to national science standards.She accused him of a failure of leadership on the issue.Then she added he was part of the Jefferson City establishment of “good ‘ol boys” who like things the way they are.Galloway has benefited from a decent-to-strong fundraising campaign. She’s had help from the Democratic Governors Association that is also spending on her behalf.Parson is also well financed.And remember, this is not a reelection campaign for Parson. He was appointed to the job, by virtue of being the lieutenant governor, replacing the chief executive who resigned.He’s also benefited from an aggressive third-party operation, “Uniting Missouri.” That’s a group managed by some of the most veteran hands in Missouri Republican politics in the last generation. Their commercials and digital attacks on Galloway have been hard and constant.There is one more component to the Missouri governor’s race formula – Donald Trump.Trump carried Missouri by 19 points statewide in 2016.A recent poll in the Missouri Scout, a political newsletter, has Trump leading Joe Biden by six points.That’s a 13-point drop in Missouri from 2016 for Trump in Missouri. Greitens’ spread over Democrat Chris Koster in 2016 was five points. Without large “coattails” from the top of the ticket, Democrats think those numbers give them a shot.However, that same Missouri Scout poll has Galloway underperforming Biden in Missouri. In that poll, Parson leads Galloway by eight points, 51-43%.Going into this election night, Missouri remains a Republican state.The national Democrats have spent no money in the state trying to narrow Biden’s margin, much less win Missouri. Without a major Democratic victory – probably a landslide with 60% of the vote – Parson stands a strong chance of winning the governorship on his own.But the fight has been a lot tougher than he expected or would have preferred.Ripples across the political landscape in the state have changed both campaigns. Without those ripples, it’s unlikely that either of them would be here tonight. Election night will show who can ride those ripples into a wave that leads to the top office in the state. KMBC 9 News Reporter Micheal Mahoney was recently named one of the Washington Post’s Outstanding Political Reporters to Follow for the 2020 election.

On Feb. 26, 2015, Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich committed suicide.

He was upset by a whispering campaign, claiming he could not win the Republican 2016 primary for governor because he was Jewish, and he wasn’t tough enough for the job.

Schweich was a Presbyterian.

At his funeral a few days later, former United Nations ambassador, former Missouri senator, and godfather of the Missouri Republican Party John Danforth eulogized Schweich by saying, “Words do hurt. Words can kill. That has been proven right here in our home state.”

With Schweich’s death, the 2016 Republican gubernatorial primary field was more open than expected.

Danforth waited for first-time candidate Eric Greitens to vanquish the field of establishment candidates with a pledge to clean up state government. Danforth endorsed him.

On Aug. 16, after the primary victory, the Associated Press reported, “In an email message distributed Thursday by Greitens’ campaign, Danforth said politicians ‘have turned politics into the worst kind of personality contest’ and that ‘they must be servants first.'”

Danforth then touted Greitens’ public service and military record. Greitens rode Donald Trump’s 19-point Missouri landslide into office in 2016.

That same night, state Sen. Mike Parson won the lieutenant governor’s race, running separately from Greitens.

To describe Greitens’ administration as rocky is an understatement. He clashed with state legislators of both parties.

Greitens was also accused of a tawdry affair with the woman who cut his hair and was hounded by serious questions about the dealings of his nonprofit charity and primary political action committee.

In late May of 2018, Greitens resigned under pressure, setting off a ripple of change in Missouri leadership.

That afternoon, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson was at his farm near Bolivar in southwest Missouri. His wife, Teresa, was shopping in Springfield.

Parson got a call from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, and soon he was whisked away to Jefferson City to assume the governorship.

Parson assumed office under the best of circumstances. Some Missourians were already tired of Greitens’ grandstanding.

Members of the Legislature were weary of Greitens’ constant criticism that they were all corrupt, both Republicans and Democrats. Parson assumed the governor’s office as a known entity to state lawmakers. Lawmakers on both sides were satisfied.

Republicans knew he would be a conservative governor who would lead the super GOP majorities in the Legislature. Democrats were relieved because his reputation was one of being an opponent who they could respect, and he would respectfully disagree with them.

Parson’s first 21 months as governor were standard. He even received Democratic praise for supporting a 10-cent increase in the fuel tax to provide needed money for roads. But privately, the move irritated some conservative Republicans who called him “Tax Hike Mike” behind his back.

In 2019, Parson cast his eye toward the 2020 campaign. He signed an abortion restriction bill, outlawing abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest.

That move galvanized Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway to challenge Parson in 2020.

The truth is, after the 2016 wipeout of Democratic office holders statewide – which included the losing the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and state treasurer seats – and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2018, Galloway was the only one left.

And the Democratic bench wasn’t thin, it was nonexistent.

Early on, Galloway hoped to use the abortion bill, one of the most restrictive in the nation, as the foundation of her campaign.

It never caught on.

Then the COVID-19 outbreak happened.

While Missouri did not sustain as many COVID-19 cases in the virus’ early stages, the state’s economy suffered an enormous hit from the mandatory and voluntary shutdowns of businesses. Across the state, many people were scared and did not spend as much money as normal.

Parson urged calm. He promised help from the state but never instituted a statewide shutdown or a mask mandate. He said the state was too diverse for a one-size-fits-all attack on the virus. He told Missourians to be responsible for their own conduct, to wash their hands and socially distance.

He repeatedly called for a balanced approach between public safety and the state’s small business economy.

Over Memorial Day weekend, huge crowds of Missourians jammed into the clubs, restaurants and docks of the Lake of the Ozarks. Few people were wearing masks or maintaining social distance. The images made news all over the country. And the number of coronavirus cases kept climbing in Missouri through the spring, summer and now surging again in the fall.

After winning a virtually uncontested primary, Galloway made an important pivot in her campaign.

She abandoned the abortion issue completely and started a fierce and concentrated attack on Parson’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Missouri.

She attacked him for not issuing a statewide mask mandate. She attacked him for not moving harder on controlling the virus or adhering to national science standards.

She accused him of a failure of leadership on the issue.

Then she added he was part of the Jefferson City establishment of “good ‘ol boys” who like things the way they are.

Galloway has benefited from a decent-to-strong fundraising campaign. She’s had help from the Democratic Governors Association that is also spending on her behalf.

Parson is also well financed.

And remember, this is not a reelection campaign for Parson. He was appointed to the job, by virtue of being the lieutenant governor, replacing the chief executive who resigned.

He’s also benefited from an aggressive third-party operation, “Uniting Missouri.” That’s a group managed by some of the most veteran hands in Missouri Republican politics in the last generation. Their commercials and digital attacks on Galloway have been hard and constant.

There is one more component to the Missouri governor’s race formula – Donald Trump.

Trump carried Missouri by 19 points statewide in 2016.

A recent poll in the Missouri Scout, a political newsletter, has Trump leading Joe Biden by six points.

That’s a 13-point drop in Missouri from 2016 for Trump in Missouri. Greitens’ spread over Democrat Chris Koster in 2016 was five points.

Without large “coattails” from the top of the ticket, Democrats think those numbers give them a shot.

However, that same Missouri Scout poll has Galloway underperforming Biden in Missouri. In that poll, Parson leads Galloway by eight points, 51-43%.

Going into this election night, Missouri remains a Republican state.

The national Democrats have spent no money in the state trying to narrow Biden’s margin, much less win Missouri. Without a major Democratic victory – probably a landslide with 60% of the vote – Parson stands a strong chance of winning the governorship on his own.

But the fight has been a lot tougher than he expected or would have preferred.

Ripples across the political landscape in the state have changed both campaigns. Without those ripples, it’s unlikely that either of them would be here tonight. Election night will show who can ride those ripples into a wave that leads to the top office in the state.

KMBC 9 News Reporter Micheal Mahoney was recently named one of the Washington Post’s Outstanding Political Reporters to Follow for the 2020 election.

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2020-11-02 18:03:00
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