State Auditor Nicole Galloway filed paperwork with the Missouri Ethics Commission on Thursday declaring she intends to run for governor in 2020.
She has not made any formal public announcements about her run for governor, and a spokesman for her campaign declined to comment Friday morning.
Galloway, a Columbia Democrat who was appointed auditor in 2015 and elected to a full term last year, hopes to defeat Gov. Mike Parson, who became governor last summer following the resignation of Eric Greitens.
Parson is expected to formally announce his bid for governor next month in his hometown of Bolivar.
Galloway’s entry into the 2020 gubernatorial race has been rumored for months.
Those close to her campaign say her interest in the race peaked when Parson signed legislation banning abortion in Missouri after eight weeks of pregnancy.
Galloway’s candidate committee has raised $228,000 so far this year, with around $132,000 cash on hand as of July 1.
A political action committee called Keep Government Accountable, which supports Galloway’s candidacy and is not bound by Missouri’s campaign contributions limits, reported $20,000 cash on hand as of July 1.
Keep Government Accountable and Galloway’s campaign may coordinate fundraising activities, but may not coordinate spending or strategy.
Galloway’s fundraising puts her well behind Parson, whose candidate committee reported roughly $315,000 in 2019, with $1.2 million cash on hand as of July 1.
Uniting Missouri, a PAC formed to support Parson’s 2020 gubernatorial campaign, reported raising around $986,000 in 2019, with $2.8 million cash on hand.
Galloway’s campaign could ultimately get a boost from national progressive groups such as EMILY’s List, an organization dedicated to electing women.
EMILY’s List played a major role in Kansas last year, pouring more than $1 million into the state to help Democrat Sharice Davids win her party’s nomination and then defeat four-term incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder — the first time a Democrat won the suburban Kansas City Congressional seat in a decade.
A spokesman for EMILY’s List told The Star in June that the group is “monitoring the race closely,” specifically noting its past support for Galloway.
Jean Evans, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, released a statement Friday afternoon about Galloway’s entry into the 2020 campaign.
“Gov. Parson has a proven track record of working across the aisle to deliver real results to working Missourians in the areas of education, rebuilding infrastructure and criminal justice reform,” Evans said. “Meanwhile Nicole Galloway is proving herself to be just another accomplice to the out-of-touch, Washington-style liberal elites who want more taxes and more government control over our lives.”
Galloway has not shied away from publicly criticizing Parson in recent months.
Most recently, her auditor’s office declared last month that Parson engaged in unnecessary travel and wasted taxpayer money during his time as lieutenant governor.
She also formally asked the attorney general’s office to decide whether Parson violated the state’s Sunshine Laws when his office withheld information from public records by citing the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And she unsuccessfully urged Parson to veto a bill that she believed could lead to corruption in state contracting.