Jefferson City (AP)- Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson says he’s running to keep his seat. Parson announced his re-election campaign on Sunday near his cattle ranch in Bolivar. Parson was elected lieutenant governor in 2016 and then took over as the state’s top executive in 2018 after former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in the face of potential impeachment.
“I want to create opportunities for education. Key word, ‘opportunities,‘” Parson said in his announcement. “When these politicians say the word ‘free,’ we all know what that means. That means that you and I are going to have to pay for it. Because when it comes to government, nothing is free.”
The 63-year-old Republican will face off against Auditor Nicole Galloway, the only Democrat and woman currently holding a statewide office.
“Missouri families can’t afford four more years of Governor Parson,” Galloway said. She criticized the drop in Medicaid rolls during Parson’s tenure and cited the trend of rural hospitals closing in the state.
Parson’s more than 14 years in government as a state representative, state senator, lieutenant governor and now governor could be a liability in some voters’ eyes.
“Missourians deserve better than a governor whose sole accomplishment is that he isn’t Eric Greitens,” the Democratic Governors Association said Saturday in a news release. “We look forward to holding career politician Parson to account for putting himself and his special interest friends ahead of Missouri.”
Parson’s most attention-grabbing action so far has been to sign into law a bill that would ban abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy. The law, which was blocked from taking effect because of a court challenge, includes exceptions for medical emergencies to the mother, but it makes no exceptions for rape or incest.
Galloway is making her opposition to the law a cornerstone of her campaign, calling it “outrageous” in an August video announcing her candidacy. When she publicly mused about making a bid for Parson’s seat earlier this year, she cited the abortion law as a factor pushing her toward running.
Jim Neely, a state representative from Cameron, last month announced plans to challenge Parson for the Republican nomination.