State Auditor Nicole Galloway made her bid for governor, stated in campaign finance filings last week and widely stated as certain by Democratic Party leaders, official today with the release of a video launching her campaign.

The video, released online at 5 a.m., emphasizes Galloway’s credentials as auditor and attacks the influence of lobbyists and campaign donors operating through “dark money” committees that don’t disclose donors.

“I uncover it every day,” Galloway states. “Dark money flows from corporations and lobbyists. The governor takes their money and then does their bidding. Nothing gets done for you.”

The video contrasts Galloway and Republican incumbent Gov. Mike Parson on two issues prominent in this year’s legislative debates. Galloway attacks the law banning abortions after eight weeks gestation, signed by Parson and approved over almost unanimous Democratic opposition by the GOP-dominated legislature, and speaks up for the constitutional amendment, passed by voters, banning lobbyist gifts and overhauling the way legislative districts are drawn.

Parson pushed lawmakers to send the redistricting provisions out for another vote, a proposal that did not pass.

“It’s outrageous,” Galloway said of the abortion law. “But when Missourians voted last year for an ethics reform plan, apparently that was too extreme and now the governor and the legislature are trying to undo the law and the will of the voters.”

Galloway, a Columbia resident, has been state auditor since April 2015, when Gov. Jay Nixon appointed her in the wake of the suicide of Tom Schweich, a Republican. She was elected to a full term in November, winning 50.4 percent of the vote, and is the only Democrat holding a statewide office.

Galloway does not have to give up her office to run. If elected, she would be the first auditor elevated to the governorship since Kit Bond, a Republican, in 1972.

Galloway owes her current political prominence to Nixon. He appointed her to her first public office, Boone County Treasurer, in April 2011, replacing Jan Fugit after her death.

In a news release, Galloway said her record as auditor has prepared her to be governor. Her office has found $350 million in waste, fraud, and mismanagement, she said. The findings have resulted in 40 criminal charges against public officials, both Democrats and Republicans.

She also highlighted an audit that showed Putnam County Memorial Hospital – a 14-bed facility in Unionville – was part of an insurance billing scheme that brought in $90 million for tests it never performed. That scheme, Galloway states, “is now the subject of a Department of Justice criminal investigation.”

Both Galloway and Parson appear to have no serious rivals for their party’s nomination in 2020. Parson was elected lieutenant governor in 2016 and became governor in 2018 when Gov. Eric Greitens resigned amid investigations of a sexual relationship and the dealings of his dark money political committee.

rkeller@columbiatribune.com

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