Trump tweets endorsement of Parson’s bid for Missouri governor

President Donald Trump spoke Tuesday, July 24, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national convention at Municipal Auditorium.
President Donald Trump spoke Tuesday, July 24, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national convention at Municipal Auditorium. tljungblad@kcstar.com

President Donald Trump weighed in on Missouri’s nascent gubernatorial election late Tuesday night by tweeting his support of fellow Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

“I am pleased to endorse Governor Mike Parson of Missouri,” Trump tweeted. “He is very Popular, Strong, and knows what he is doing — he gets it! Based on the fact that Mike has announced he will run again in 2020 for Governor, Mike Parson has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Parson officially announced his bid for a full four-year term Sunday in front of hundreds in his hometown of Bolivar, Mo. In his speech, he warned against the “rise of socialism,” while dinging national Democrats who are frequent targets of president’s ire like New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

“It’s an honor to have the support from President @realDonaldTrump — such an important election in November 2020, our country and state headed in the right direction,” Parson’s campaign account tweeted minutes after the president’s endorsement.

Trump has remained popular in Missouri which he won by 19 points in 2016. In the same year, Parson handily won the lieutenant governor race. He was promoted to governor after scandals forced the resignation of then-Gov. Eric Greitens.

Trump has visited the state at least five times since his win, including during a competitive U.S. Senate race in 2018. He expressed early support of Republican Josh Hawley, who went on to oust incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill by 6 points.

Parson’s only competition so far in the GOP primary is state Rep. Jim Neely. Neely, a Cameron physician, has never run for statewide office before.

Parson will most likely go head to head with State Auditor Nicole Galloway. The Democrat officially announced she will run for governor in August through a video touting her experience as watchdog of taxpayer dollars.

“This early in the race, perhaps the Governor felt a need to shore up his base and provide a needed boost to his primary campaign,” Eric Slusher, a spokesman for Galloway’s campaign, said.

Parson’s campaign was to quick to capitalize by blasting out a fundraising email with the president’s tweet.

“Tonight President Trump gave Governor Mike Parson his complete and total endorsement for Governor in 2020 and the extreme left is going absolutely nuts about it,” it began, before asking for a contribution of $57 to make Parson the state’s 57th governor.

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Crystal Thomas covers Missouri politics for The Kansas City Star. An Illinois native and a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, she has experience covering state and local government.