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State Auditor Schweich Enters Governor's Race With Criticism Of Primary Opponent

Elle Moxley

On the second day of his gubernatorial campaign, Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich continued swinging at well-financed Republican primary opponent Catherine Hanaway.

"I'm very concerned about one billionaire in St. Louis who seems to be intent on not only buying the governor's mansion, funding over 70 percent of the campaign of my primary opponent, but also trying to buy certain legislators," Schweich said during a stop in Kansas City Thursday.

It's the second jab Schweich has taken at Rex Sinquefield in as many days. He says the rich former financial executive has purchased undue influence in Jefferson City at the expense of ordinary Missourians and says a vote for Hanaway is a vote for Sinquefield.

As soon as Schweich entered the governor's race Wednesday, Hanaway fired back.

"Conservative activists throughout Missouri believe primaries have repeatedly cost the Republican Party statewide elections," Hanaway said in a statement. "Auditor Schweich's electoral record is marked by relentless pursuits of the next office and tearing apart the Republican Party."

But Schweich says he's not afraid of primary mudslinging because the likely 2016 Democratic candidate, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, benefited from Sinquefield's war chest before he switched parties.

"They're both heavily funded by Rex Sinquefield. They're both ethically challenged. I'm going to run against both simultaneously," says Schweich.

During his Kansas City appearance, Schweich touted his credentials as state auditor and says he'll bring the same efficiency to the governor's office as "the CEO of the state."

"We've issued over 400 audit reports," said Schweich. "We've focused a lot on the efficiency of state agencies, which I found to be wasting a lot of money, from unnecessary airplanes to millions of dollars in overtime. We've focused on rooting out corrupt officials. We've now found over 30 public officials embezzling money."

Schweich's campaign materials focus on stopping corruption. But he says like most Republicans, his big issues are the economy and education. Though on the latter, he says he support teacher tenure while many in his party do not.

"I don't think you coerce teachers into performing better. I think you provide incentives, not disincentives," said Schweich.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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