State Rep. Paul Curtman, a Republican from Franklin County, says he’s running for state auditor next year, after months of entertaining a possible bid for the U.S. Senate.
Curtman is touting his conservative credentials and his service in the U. S. Marine Corps in stops around the state to officially launch his campaign.
“I have a proven conservative record of fighting against higher taxes, wasteful spending, and the expansion of government,” Curtman said in a statement he sent by email to potential supporters.
Curtman’s aim is to unseat Democratic incumbent Nicole Galloway, a certified public accountant and former Boone County treasurer. She was appointed to the post in early 2015 after the suicide of then-Auditor Tom Schweich.
Unlike Galloway, Curtman does not have an accounting background.
“It takes more than just being a wizard on Microsoft Excel or knowing how to use spreadsheets; you need somebody who can actually reach out and actually lead,” he said to supporters in Jefferson City. “This is an office where we actually have to have executive-type leadership so we can actually get out ahead of the problems that were discovered in the audits.”
Curtman also cited his background as a lawmaker: “It does absolutely no good to let audits sit on a shelf and collect dust, but rather we need a state auditor who actually has a relationship, can reach out across the aisle if need be, pick up the phone and make those calls to the leaders of the House and the Senate.”
But first, Curtman will likely face St. Louis County lawyer David Wasinger, a fellow Republican and former member of the University of Missouri’s Board of Curators. He’s the husband of St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger.
David Wasinger has put in $500,000 of his own money, which is why his latest campaign finance report showed him with $645,000 in the bank — close to the $665,000 reported by Galloway.
Curtman reported having $3,500 in the bank. But supporters expect him to quickly catch up. Curtman has a strong following among social conservatives and the "tea party" movement. He made campaign stops Tuesday in St. Louis, Jefferson City, and Lee's Summit. He has two more scheduled later this week in Springfield and Joplin.
He announced this year that he was exploring a possible bid against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat seeking her third term. But Curtman changed his mind after Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican with many of the same supporters, declared his Senate bid a few weeks ago.
State Democratic Party chairman Stephen Webber issued a statement in response to Curtman's announcement: “No matter who the GOP eventually nominates, the fact remains that State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s independence and dedication to looking out for Missouri’s taxpayers is unmatched in Republican-controlled Jefferson City.”