JEFFERSON CITY — The governor’s race started in earnest Tuesday when the two front-runners filed their bids for office.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Parson and Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway each held news conferences as they made their candidacies official.
Parson said this is the first and probably last time he will file for governor. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2016 and moved up when former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned.
“I’ve been very blessed to have the career I’ve had,” Parson said. “I’ve been around long enough to never say never, but I’d say the First Lady might say never.”
Galloway spoke about her track record as state auditor, saying her investigations have led to almost 50 criminal charges for public officials over allegations of corruption.
“I’m going to continue that fight for Missouri families in this race for governor and as governor,” she said.
Both Parson and Galloway touched on Medicaid expansion. Galloway said she supports expanding Medicaid: “We can do it without raising taxes or gutting other parts of the budget.”
“We have a governor who has kicked a hundred thousand children off of their health insurance,” Galloway said. “And he has no vision and no solution on how he’s going to fix that.”
Parson said the state is doing a better job of verifying whether individuals are eligible for Medicaid.
“Here’s the other thing that I think is important that gets lost: If these kids qualify for Medicaid, we want them on Medicaid,” Parson said.
Galloway and Parson have also disagreed over sending Clean Missouri back to a state vote, with Galloway arguing it should stay as is and Parsons advocating to ask voters to revise it.
The primaries will be held Aug. 4.
Other candidates who have filed to run for governor are State Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, and Raleigh Ritter of Seneca. Democrats include Antoin Johnson and Jimmie Matthews, both of St. Louis. Libertarian Rik Combs of Lohman has also filed.
In Boone County legislative races, several challengers filed to run against incumbent lawmakers. Democrat Jacque Sample of Columbia is challenging Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville; Democrat Adrian Plank of Columbia is again challenging Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport; Democrat Kari Chesney of Columbia is challenging Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland; and Democrat Judy Baker has filed for the state Senate seat held by Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia. Incumbent Democrats Reps. Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens, both D-Columbia, haven’t had any candidates file against them as of Tuesday.