The election cycle is heating up in the closing weeks before election day – especially in several key races in Missouri and Kansas. In Missouri, Republican Gov. Mike Parson is holding a steady lead over Democratic challenger Nicole Gallaway. A poll from St. Louis University has Parson with a six-point lead over Gallaway, with 3.6 percent of voters undecided.
Parson became the governor in 2018 when former Gov. Eric Grietens resigned due to sexual misconduct allegations and campaign finance law violations. Gallaway has been the auditor for Missouri since 2015. While she was the auditor, Gallaway discovered over 350 million dollars of wasted or stolen tax money. She also brought criminal charges against offenders from both parties and has called herself an “independent watchdog.” Gallaway’s New Way Plan would make healthcare cheaper, increase transparency of the tax system and improve the quality of public education in Missouri.
Parson has tried to portray himself as the hometown governor. Throughout the campaign, he has talked about his history of having a great work ethic while working in the local Missouri government. Parson and his administration have touted the low unemployment rate and low income taxes during his tenure. Parson has said that he prevented the health care system from being overwhelmed during the pandemic and opened the economy early to save businesses in Missouri.
Galloway has been very critical of Parson’s response to COVID-19. Parson, who tested positive for the coronavirus in late September, has been an outspoken opponent to a mask mandate in Missouri, claiming that it is a violation of personal liberties. While campaigning, Parson has said that he has helped Missourians throughout the pandemic. Parson has said that there have been positive results from his COVID-19 response. About Parson’s pandemic response, Galloway has said, “This has been a failed test of leadership.”
There are two constitutional amendments on the ballot for Missouri in 2020. Amendment 1, if passed, would expand term limits in the State Executive branch. Currently, the two-term limit only applies to the governor and the treasurer. The proposed amendment would create a two-term limit on the lieutenant-governor, the state auditor, the secretary of state and the attorney general. The second proposed amendment, Amendment 3, would bring changes to redistricting, lobbying and campaign finance laws in Missouri. The measure would “eliminate the nonpartisan state demographer and use a bipartisan commission appointed by the governor again for legislative redistricting, alter the criteria used to draw district maps, change the threshold of lobbyists’ gifts from $5 to $0, and lower the campaign contribution limit for state senate campaigns from $2,500 to $2,400.”
In Clay County, there is a proposed amendment to the county constitution. The amendment would prohibit lawmakers from being able to vote on their pay increases. It would also allow for officeholders to be recalled from office and would set a limit on public debt. The amendment would additionally create a citizen review commission for all future constitutional amendments.
In Missouri’s 6th district, which encompasses Liberty, incumbent Republican congressman Sam Graves is running against Democratic nominee Gena Ross and Libertarian candidate John Higgins. Graves has been the representative for the Missouri 6th since 2001 and most recently won in 2018 with 65.4 percent of the vote. The district is classified as “Solid Republican” by The Cook Political Report.