The Buzz

Jay Nixon names longtime aide to temporarily replace Tom Schweich as Missouri Auditor

In a surprise move, Gov. Jay Nixon has named his former chief of staff as interim Missouri Auditor following the death of Tom Schweich of an apparent suicide on Thursday.

John Watson has agreed to serve as the auditor, Nixon’s office said, and will resign immediately when a permanent appointment is made.

“I know that John Watson will perform these duties with the professionalism, integrity and independence the citizens of Missouri expect and deserve, and I am pleased that he has agreed to serve while I move thoroughly and expeditiously to select a permanent replacement,” Nixon said in a statement.

Watson currently serves as senior adviser to the governor. He was Nixon’s chief of staff as attorney general from 1997 until he was elected governor in 2008. He moved to the new office with Nixon and was his gubernatorial chief of staff from January 2009 until last December.

Watson, a Missouri native, earned both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia.