Three months after creating an exploratory committee for a U.S. Senate run against incumbent Claire McCaskill, State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, is calling it quits.

“Staying in the Senate race was not the best way for the party to be successful,” Curtman said. “I would only pursue it if I had the support to run a viable campaign.”

Curtman formed his Senate exploratory committee in July and began raising funds and testing the waters statewide.

His decision not to run came just a few days after the announcement that Attorney General Josh Hawley will challenge McCaskill next November.

Also on Friday, Curtman pivoted and said he is considering a run against incumbent State Auditor, Nicole Galloway.

Curtman confirmed both decisions to The Missourian Monday and said he should be making a formal announcement later this week.

“This is something that is right in my wheelhouse and my name has been mentioned for a while,” Curtman said. “My wife and I are having conversations now and we want to be decisive.”

Curtman is serving his fourth term in the Missouri Legislature having first been elected in 2010. He is currently the chairman of the House Ways and Means committee.  

According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, he has just over $6,000 in his campaign bank account.

Curtman works in finance in Chesterfield and is married to his wife, Ruth, a high school math teacher in the Rockwood School District. Paul and Ruth have one child and are expecting their second child this month.

Incumbent

Galloway told The Missourian in June that she planned to run for re-election to the office she currently holds.

A certified public accountant by trade, she was appointed to the position by former Gov. Jay Nixon on April 14, 2015, following the death of Tom Schweich.

Galloway holds the distinction as the youngest, statewide official. She also is the only female and the only Democrat.

She formed her re-election committee for the August 2018 primary and already has $665,380 in the campaign coffers.

During a visit to Washington last week, Sen. McCaskill, who held the state auditor’s office from 1999 to 2007, said she supports Galloway and added it would not be good to have one of Gov. Eric Greitens “buddies” in the auditor’s office.

Campaign finance reports show McCaskill has donated $2,600 to Galloway’s campaign.

Galloway was the treasurer for Boone County before her appointment to auditor.

This would be the first statewide race for her and Curtman, who will be term limited at the end of next year.