Candidates in the race for Missouri governor will meet for a debate 2 p.m. Sept. 25 in Columbia.

The forum will be held at the Missouri Theatre and televised live on KOMU 8. The event is co-sponsored by the Missouri Press Association.

“It originally would have been scheduled in Jeff City,” said Missouri Press Association Executive Director Mark Maassen. “That’s where our convention was going to be. But we had to cancel it due to COVID-19 concerns.”

The event will be the first time all four candidates — Gov. Mike Parson, the incumbent Republican; State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat; Libertarian nominee Rik Combs; and Green Party nominee Jerome Bauer — share a stage to discuss their positions.

“Not all debates include the third party candidates,” Maassen said. “It was a board decision from the Missouri Press Association Board. We feel that the third party candidates need to be heard as well as the typical Republican and Democratic candidates.”

The forum will not be open to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic and limitations on the size of gatherings. Attendance by other media will be limited.

A livestream will be available for all MPA members to use on their websites. The forum is being produced in cooperation with the Missouri School of Journalism.

David Lieb, The Associated Press’ chief correspondent in Jefferson City, will moderate. Media members representing KOMU, the Missouri School of Journalism and the Missouri Press Association will question the candidates.

No additional forums are confirmed — though Galloway challenged Parson in August to three more debates in the Kansas City and St. Louis regions, and “another outside of the two major metropolitan regions.”

Parson’s campaign manager, Steele Shippy, said the governor is still considering whether to participate in any more debates.

“Governor Parson values the discourse provided through debate, and our campaign is actively reviewing debate invitations from organizations throughout the state,” Shippy said after Wednesday’s forum announcement.

  • State reporter, fall 2020. Studying investigative journalism. Reach me at, or (573) 356-7458

  • Mark Horvit is the state government editor. Call me at 817-726-1621 with story ideas, tips or complaints.

Recommended for you