Mike Parson defeats Nicole Galloway, wins election in Missouri Governor’s race
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3/AP) - Mike Parson has won the election for Missouri Governor, AP projects.
Parson has defended his seat against Democratic challenger and state auditor Nicole Galloway.
It was the first run for governor for both candidates. Parson, who was elected lieutenant governor in 2016, moved into the top job two years ago after former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in the face of possible impeachment amid multiple scandals.
Parson, a former state lawmaker and sheriff, campaigned on law-and-order issues heading into Tuesday’s election and fought off criticism from Galloway over his approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
While campaigning, Parson showed opposition to Medicaid expansion and hinted that expanding the program could mean cuts to other government services. He is also one of sixteen governors not to issue a statewide mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People believe in common sense, and I think they want leaders that believe in common sense,” Parson told supporters gathered in Springfield after his Tuesday victory. “They don’t want government to tell them what they want to do every day. They want to live their lives in peace.”
Parson and his wife, Teresa, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 23, but neither developed serious symptoms and he quickly resumed in-person campaigning.
Galloway’s campaign focused largely on her criticism of Parson in regards to his pandemic response. She said she would require face masks if elected, a message that apparently didn’t resonate with enough voters to make her the state’s first female governor.
“To all the young women across Missouri who I met on the campaign trail, I want you to know there’s nothing you can’t do,” Galloway said during a Tuesday concession speech in Columbia. “Tonight I may have come up short, but over the past 15 months, I have met so many young women who I know will be future governors of Missouri.”
Galloway also called for “common sense” gun laws, while Parson strongly opposed any limits on guns. Missouri gun laws are among the most lenient in the U.S.
Parson and his allies warned that Galloway was soft on crime and cited support she received from racial justice activists who have called for defunding the police. Galloway said she did not support defunding police but favored providing more money for things such as education and mental health services that would address systemic problems.
Parson is the third Republican candidate to win the Missouri governor’s race in the 21st century, following campaign victories by Greitens in 2016 and Matt Blunt in 2004.
With the campaign victory, Parson also defeats Rik Combs and Jerome Bauer, who ran in the Missouri governor’s race as Libertarian and Green Party candidates respectively.
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