Two Democrats and five Republicans are competing in the primary for the chance to succeed State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who is running for U.S. Senate.
Thomas, 40, of Kansas City is the Platte county auditor and a certified public accountant. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from William Jewell College and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She said she will rely on her training and expertise as a CPA to do the job well. She is the only CPA in the Republican primary. Former State Auditor Margaret Kelly has endorsed Thomas.
Wright, 37, is the state representative for the 137th District in northwest Springfield. He attended Baptist Bible College. He said freeing the auditor’s office of politics would be one of his main goals. He said his legislative history shows his commitment to acting independent of political parties and that such a trait would be good for the auditor’s office. He said he would focus on quality over quantity in his audits.
Jackson, 63, is the state representative for the 89th District. Jackson, of Wildwood, has a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Purdue University and a masters’s degree in human resource management from Pepperdine University. He is a Vietnam veteran.
He said the key to the auditor position is to “remember your boss is the people of the state of Missouri.” One thing he hopes to fix is the tendency to find problems with government contractors only after an audit. He said he would embed staff auditors in projects from the beginning to diagnose and address problems as they occur.
Hanson of Concordia is the chief executive officer of Lutheran Prison Ministry, an organization that works to get Bibles for inmates. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Augsburg College and a master’s degree in restorative justice from Therapon University. Hanson, 76, won the 2004 Republican primary despite being a convicted felon. He is running his campaign on less than $500. He said his lack of ambition for higher office will make him a fair auditor.
“The office should not be a political stepping stone,” he said.
Loudon, 39, of Wildwood is the state senator from the Seventh District and the owner of a marketing consulting business. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Westminster College and is doing postgraduate work at Oak Brook College. While Loudon said he would like to remove politics from the office, he recognizes that may be impossible. He also said he would not follow party lines as auditor. He and Jackson both said they would audit the auditor’s office. He said by privatizing some audits, the politics would be taken out and the work would be performed more objectively.
Montee, the Buchanan County auditor, is 46. She attends Christ Episcopal Church in St. Joseph and coaches her children’s high school debate team. Montee was elected county auditor in 2000 and has served on the St. Joseph City Council. She attended Drury College in Springfield, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting with minors in economics and business administration. She became a certified public accountant in 1985 and graduated in 2000 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a law degree. Montee’s June 30 filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows that she had more than $670,000 on hand, including $500,000 she loaned to her own campaign last year.
Wattenbarger, 56, is a certified public accountant. He has indicated to the Missouri Ethics Commission that he would neither raise nor spend more than $500 on his bid. He describes his campaign as “grass roots.” Wattenbarger operates a private CPA practice in Columbia.
He graduated from Columbia College, where he majored in business administration.
He began working in governmental auditing before he graduated from Columbia College and worked as the senior auditor under three successive state auditors, Tom Keyes, Jim Antonio and Margaret Kelly. He is a lifelong member of the Reger Church of God and serves on the board of directors of the Boone County Chapter of the American Red Cross.