Missouri Republicans elected to statewide positions have been moving on up, and now Missouri’s only statewide elected Democrat – state Auditor Nicole Galloway (D-Columbia) – is trying to make her own move up to governor. She surprised no one conversant with Missouri politics when she announced her campaign for governor on Monday, August 12.
Galloway, who turned 37 in June, pitched herself as a protector of public transparency, fairness in government, and the tax dollars of working families. “Dark money and insider deals have rigged the system against working families,” Galloway said in a campaign-launch video. “As auditor, I’ve fought it. As governor, I’ll end it.”
If Galloway wins the Democratic nomination, she could face incumbent Governor Mike Parson, a Republican from Polk County. Parson was not elected governor but rather lieutenant governor in 2016, then moved up to governor after Eric Greitens resigned while mired in scandal over dark-money donors and allegations of felony invasion of privacy.
Parson, who will turn 65 during the election year of 2020, has not yet said whether he will run.
Other statewide elected Republicans who moved up in recent election cycles are Josh Hawley, the former state attorney general who moved up to the U.S. Senate when he beat incumbent Claire McCaskill, and Eric Schmitt, who moved up to fill Hawley’s seat, leaving his elected position of state treasurer.
Galloway herself moved up from a countywide elected seat to assume her statewide position as state auditor. She was initially appointed to the office by Gov. Jay Nixon, following the suicide of Thomas Schweich, a Republican. She was later elected as auditor in November 2018, carrying nine counties won by Donald Trump.
Running for governor as a Democrat (and a woman) in a state where Trump beat Hillary Clinton by more than a half-million votes and upstart Hawley beat the entrenched incumbent McCaskill by more than 100,000 votes, Galloway’s campaign launch stressed her bipartisan credentials.
“While working with legislators from both parties, Galloway has had nine bipartisan policy priorities enacted into law,” her campaign stated.
Yet she also goes head to head with Parson in her launch, as she has publicly for months over his administration’s troubled reporting of state tax withholdings and delays in paying refunds to taxpayers.
Her campaign stressed that Galloway has urged Parson to take action to require disclosure of anonymous political contributions that could influence state business. “Parson instead signed legislation allowing his administration to short-list companies seeking state contracts, meaning fewer Missouri companies can compete for state business,” her campaign stated.
The good works of diligent state auditors have a hard way of reaching the mass of voters and sticking, but Galloway’s campaign rightly touted a stellar record.
Her campaign claimed Galloway has identified more than $350 million in government waste, fraud, and mismanagement as auditor, a number that checks out to those following her voluminous audit reports. Partnering with law enforcement, her audits have led to 40 criminal counts brought against corrupt public officials, both Democrats and Republicans. In the past year, she uncovered a massive nationwide medical billing scheme operating through a small rural Missouri hospital that is now the subject of a Department of Justice criminal investigation.
Before being appointed auditor in 2015, Galloway served as the elected treasurer of Boone County, where she managed a multi-million-dollar investment portfolio on behalf of county taxpayers. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Science & Technology, with degrees in Applied Mathematics and Economics, and has a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner. Prior to serving in public office she was an auditor in the private sector, where she audited Fortune 500 companies.
Galloway is the only Democrat to have run and won a statewide race in Missouri since 2012.
View Galloway’s campaign-launch video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b9DBHe8U1o.
That Jeff Roorda!
Jeff Roorda, business agent for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, did not miss an opportunity to continue his role as the villain of the Ferguson protest movement at the 5th anniversary of the Ferguson unrest that erupted when Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown. While much of the community was mourning the dead young man and reassessing where the region stands five years later, Roorda was congratulating the still-living man who killed the teenager.
“Happy Alive Day,” Roorda posted, with a photograph of Wilson.
For most people with a pulse who are not Jeff Roorda, this seemed like a gratuitously cruel and insensitive reminder that Wilson is alive while Brown is dead. It seemed calculated to enflame passions and anger against him and the police whom Roorda purportedly represents. The Riverfront Times captured this widespread sentiment with an unforgettable headline saying, “Jeff Roorda is still a [vulgar term for penis used as an insult].”
The EYE asked Roorda what he was thinking.
“‘Happy Alive Day’ is a common phrase that’s been used by cops for some time. It is meant to celebrate the anniversary of an officer surviving a deadly confrontation. It is not meant to celebrate the death of his attacker. Other than the death of a police officer, the death of a civilian is the worst possible outcome of a police encounter. No cop celebrates that. No cop relishes that,” Roorda responded.
“Forget the likelihood that an officer may be prosecuted, sued or fired for taking a life even when he or she acts completely inside the law. I can tell you from talking to many, many cops over the years that taking the life of another person weighs heavily on the heart and soul of every cop that’s ever been put in that horrible situation. Survival should be celebrated. So should the truth. That’s why I sent Darren my well-wishes. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
The EYE suspected that Roorda might be trying to draw some attention to himself. Though no longer a cop, he seems to love to play one on TV and in other media. He got a lot of national shine during the Ferguson unrests. Roorda’s “Happy Alive Day” post did not get the national media ringing him up again, which must have been a disappointment, though Elizabeth Warren did help Roorda get back on Fox & Friends when later on August 9, Warren tweeted about Michael Brown, noting he was "murdered by a white police officer."
Vannah Shaw and Jeff Jensen
The EYE will have more to say about the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling to suspend the law licenses of Ambry Nichole Schuessler and Katherine Anne Dierdorf. They were disciplined for their roles, when working as prosecutors in St. Louis, in covering up a St. Louis police officer assaulting a suspect and another prosecutor falsifying charges against that suspect in an attempt to account for the injuries the suspect suffered at the hands of the cop. The cop, Thomas Carroll, and the prosecutor who falsified charges to cover up his assault, Bliss Worrell, previously were sentenced for their crimes (Carroll with 52 months in prison and Worrell with probation).
But, for now, here is a little bit of irony in the fine print.
Worrell, Schuessler and Dierdorf (all white women) conspired to keep their cover-up away from another prosecutor in the office, Vannah Shaw. Shaw – whom the co-conspirators knew would not go along with their abuse of the law – is a young black woman attorney and former St. Louis American editorial intern. The EYE is not surprised that colleagues would hide misdoings from this ethical young woman.
Also, the attorney who represented Dierdorf was none other than Jeff Jensen. Jensen, then in private practice, took his client to testify to Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith. Goldsmith would later leave the DOJ for private practice, only to be enticed back to the DOJ by none other than Jeff Jensen when President Donald Trump appointed him U.S. attorney for Eastern Missouri.