Parson says the 2020 election will be his last
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who took over the state’s top post in 2018 after the departure of embattled former Gov. Eric Greitens, said Tuesday he is running in his final election.
On the first day of filing for candidates running in the Aug. 4 primary, the 64-year-old former sheriff, representative, senator and lieutenant governor said he will not run again for any office after he submitted paperwork to get on the ballot.
“Yeah. I don’t see that in my future,” Parson said. “I’ve been around long enough to say, ‘Never say never.’ But I’d say the first lady might say never.”
With no races for U.S. Senate this year, the governor’s race will be the main focal point for both major parties. Also on the ballot are the lieutenant governor’s post, secretary of state, attorney general and state treasurer.
All eight of Missouri’s U.S. House seats will be on the ballot, along with all 163 Missouri House seats and 17 seats in the state Senate.
Along with Parson, Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway filed her paperwork to get on the ballot for governor. The two have the most money and are considered the front-runners to be on the ballot in November.
Galloway, 37, who won a full, four-year term in 2018, told reporters that she would bring a fresh perspective to the governor’s office, with a focus on ensuring people have access to health care.
“Governor Parson is part of the old way of doing things where the well-connected get what they want, the campaign donors get what they want. Meanwhile, Missouri families cannot get what they need,” Galloway said.
Although the filing period runs through March 31, candidates began lining up outside the office of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft early Tuesday morning.
Among them were Antoin Johnson and Jimmie Matthews of St. Louis, both of whom filed to run for governor on the Democratic ticket.
Rik Combs of Lohman filed for governor as a Libertarian Party candidate.
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican who was appointed to his seat after Parson moved into the Governor’s Mansion, submitted his paperwork in search of a full, four-year term.
Arnie Dienoff of O’Fallon, who has previously run for other offices, also filed as a Republican lieutenant governor candidate.
Gregory Upchurch of St. Charles filed to run as a Democrat for lieutenant governor. Upchurch previously made an unsuccessful bid for the 70th House District, losing in the Democratic primary to eventual winner Rep. Paula Brown.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, filed in anticipation of a challenge from Democrats, who held the seat for more than two decades until now-U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley wrestled it away in 2016.
Two Democrats are seeking to challenge Schmitt, who was appointed to the post last year after Hawley moved to the U.S. Senate.
Attorney Rich Finneran of University City and Democrat Elad Gross, a St. Louis attorney, will fight it out for the Democratic nomination.
In the race for secretary of state, Ashcroft is likely to face political newcomer Yinka Faleti, a Democrat.
Faleti, 43, is an Army veteran and former St. Louis assistant prosecutor. He most recently served as the executive director of the Forward Through Ferguson organization and formerly worked at the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
“We are not yet done. There is more to do,” Ashcroft said.
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Cassville, is expected to file for a full four-year term after he was appointed to the post in 2018.
Former state Rep. Vicki Englund, a Democrat who represented a swath of south St. Louis County, also filed Tuesday.