Auditor Nicole Galloway made it official Monday by announcing she is running for governor.
The state’s only Democratic officeholder and perhaps her party’s brightest rising star is expected to challenge Republican incumbent Mike Parson.
It will be an uphill battle. Galloway is smart, capable and extremely hardworking. She has been an effective if not flashy auditor. It’s hard not to like and respect the mother of three. She is an earnest and authentic public servant that Missourians can relate to and identify with.
But the obstacle Galloway will have to overcome is that she is a Democrat running in a state that leans heavily Republican. The never-going-to-vote-for-anyone-but-a-Republican coalition in Missouri is large and getting larger every election cycle.
That disadvantage is compounded by the fact Parson has done a good job pulling the state and his party together after the Eric Greitens scandal. Parson also is earnest and authentic, and someone who resonates with voters, especially rural voters. He’s made few mistakes in his short time in office and won’t have any trouble galvanizing the Republican base.
Galloway is the underdog. She will do well in St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia but will have to capture votes in rural, suburban and smaller towns like Washington, Union and St. Clair to win this race. That won’t be easy, just ask Claire McCaskill. Galloway is pro-choice. Voters in rural Missouri are generally pro-life.
Galloway has a shot if she can tap into the distrust of the government “business-as-usual” sentiment that propelled Amendment 1, the “Clean Missouri” proposal that won 62 percent of the vote last November. That measure included provisions that limit the power of lobbyists, reduce campaign finance contributions and create a new redistricting process.
Lawmakers are moving to change or completely roll back parts of Clean Missouri, which Galloway is already trying to exploit in her campaign messaging.