Updated at 2:30 p.m. on Friday with comments from Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Michael Butler
State Auditor Nicole Galloway said Friday she won’t be a candidate for reelection, or any other office, next year.
It’s a move that, at least for now, ends the electoral career of Missouri’s lone Democratic statewide official — and provides Missouri Republicans with a greater opportunity to hold all of Missouri’s statewide posts.
Galloway, who lost to Gov. Mike Parson in last year’s gubernatorial contest, announced in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply grateful for the opportunity” for being in public service. In addition to serving essentially two terms as auditor, Galloway also was Boone County’s treasurer.
“During this time, my husband and I have had three sons who have campaigned with me and supported me every step of the way,” Galloway said in her statement. “My family has made me a better public servant, and they have inspired me to lead with integrity and grit. Yet, during this past decade, I have missed countless family events, little league games and school activities. I am ready for the next chapter of service and life with my family.
“Today I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for Missouri State Auditor nor any other office in 2022,” she continued.
Galloway arrived in the statewide political scene in 2015 after Gov. Jay Nixon appointed her to serve as auditor after Tom Schweich’s death. The certified public accountant nearly served an entire term, and focused much of her attention on pointing out mismanagement and inefficiency in local and state government.
She won a full four-year term in 2018, the same year that then-U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill lost to Republican Josh Hawley. But she couldn’t parlay her win into defeating Parson, who won one of the largest victories for a Republican gubernatorial candidate in decades.
Galloway’s 2022 reelection was almost certainly going to be more challenging than 2018, as several Republicans with name recognition and fundraising ability were considering bids. Missouri has become much less hospitable for Democrats in the last few election cycles, especially since the GOP gained so much ground in rural and exurban counties.
Among Republicans that could run next year for auditor are state Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, Rep. David Gregory, R-St. Louis County, and House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold.
Even with a rockier path to victory, Galloway would have still likely been formidable since it is somewhat rare in Missouri for a down ballot statewide incumbent to lose reelection. It’ll now be up to Missouri Democrats to find someone who can raise the money and make the case that Republicans shouldn’t hold complete control over all of statewide offices.
Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Michael Butler said he was saddened that “Missouri is losing such a great public official and public servant.” He added that an open auditor’s race is an opportunity “for there to be some diversity at the statewide level.”
“Nicole Galloway is the only woman statewide elected official,” he said. “There are no African-Americans elected statewide. That means there’s some opportunity for diversity and representation at that level.”
Missouri Democrats had two unsuccessful Black statewide aspirants last year: lieutenant governor hopeful Alissia Canady and secretary of state nominee Yinka Faleti. As of now, all of the Democratic contenders for the U.S. Senate are white — though Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and state Sen. Brian Williams of University City have been mentioned as possible candidates.
Butler said with the current timeline, he’s hopeful that Missouri Democrats can rally around one person as their auditor nominee. And he said that he expects that person to work as a team with whoever the party picks as its U.S. Senate candidate. “Democrats are going to work together this cycle in an unprecedented way,” he added.
Galloway will continue to serve as auditor until early 2023. She said in her statement that she’ll “continue to diligently root out waste and take on corruption.”
“I will always be a relentless advocate for Missouri and the working men and women who move it forward,” she said.
Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum