Missouri Democrat drops state auditor bid

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | 11:53 a.m. CST; updated 3:47 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY — The lone Missouri Democrat with announced plans to challenge Republican state Auditor Tom Schweich is dropping out of the race.

State Rep. Jay Swearingen told The Associated Press on Wednesday he has been unable to get the necessary support and that fundraising has been an issue. Swearingen said getting out now could create an opportunity for another candidate who is better able to finance a campaign.

"Overall, I just couldn't get the groundswell of support for the campaign," he said. "Maybe somebody else can."

Swearingen's decision to leave the auditor's race comes about a month before candidates can begin filing. Candidate filing runs from Feb. 25 to March 25.

Schweich told the AP that Swearingen called him Tuesday night to tell him that he was quitting the race.

"I have tried to be an auditor for both parties, and I've tried to be very balanced in my responsibilities, and that is reflected in the decision by Rep. Swearingen to drop out of the race," Schweich said.

Swearingen is a two-term state House member from Kansas City. He first was elected to the Legislature in 2010 and has served on committees dealing with tax policy, professional registration, financial institutions and economic development. He works for the Missouri Credit Union Association and is the vice president of grassroots and development.

The auditor is the lone statewide office appearing on the November ballot in Missouri.

Schweich was elected auditor in 2010 after defeating the Democratic incumbent. He reported raising nearly $239,000 during the past three months from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 and reported starting the year with more than $662,000 in his campaign bank account.

Since then, Schweich has taken in even more money. On Tuesday, he reported receiving a $100,000 donation from St. Louis businessman Sam Fox.

Swearingen said he has raised $50,000 in three months and that "in every other area of my life that is an amazing amount of money but not in politics. So three months ago, I had $1.2 million to raise and three months later, I still have $1.2 million to raise in essence."

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