Nicole Galloway made her gubernatorial bid official last week. In a two-minute video, the state auditor cast herself as a corruption-fighter who has uncovered $350 million in government waste.

She said her audits have led to dozens of criminal charges, and she criticized a law recently signed by Gov. Mike Parson that bans most abortions at the eighth week of pregnancy.

Her announcement sets up a likely 2020 general election with her and Parson as the respective Democrat and Republican candidates.

Of course, in this political town, the question on everyone’s lips is: Does Galloway have a chance?

Missouri, after all, is a red state. The governor, the House, the Senate and all statewide officeholders except for Galloway are Republicans.

That doesn’t bode well for the challenger, and neither does the fact that Parson has outpaced her in funding. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that as of June, she had raised about $232,000 to Parson’s nearly $1.7 million.

That’s a huge gap. And in politics, the winner of the money race is often the winner at the ballot box.

Galloway was appointed to the office of state auditor in 2015. She won the seat in 2018, but she won by less than six points against a weak opponent.

At this point, most political observers have to believe Galloway faces an uphill battle.

However, she does have some things that could go in her favor, including the fact she’s been aggressive in her current job. For her gubernatorial campaign, she’s already embracing her watchdog role.

“Dark money flows from corporations and lobbyists,” she said in her video announcement. “The governor takes their money then does their bidding. Nothing gets done for you.”

That anti-establishment, anti-status-quo message seems to borrow from the playbook that helped President Donald Trump and then Gov. Eric Greitens win their respective seats in 2016.

Another factor in the race could be the 2020 presidential campaign. A big Trump win likely would help other Republicans on the ticket, while a win for the Democrats would do the same for their party.

Parson clearly has the early lead in the race, but we’ve just seen the kickoff in a four-quarter contest. There’s a lot of game yet to be played.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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