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Republican Scott Fitzpatrick wins Missouri auditor race, completing GOP sweep of statewide offices

Judge Johnnie Cox, right, administers the oath of office to Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick during the Missouri Bicentennial Inauguration on Monday, January 11, 2021, at the Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City.
Daniel Shular
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick has won the race for Missouri auditor.

The auditor’s office, tasked with the impartial review of public spending, is currently the only statewide office held by a Democrat. Current Auditor Nicole Galloway decided not to seek another term.

State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick won the race to become Missouri’s next auditor Tuesday, easily defeating former state Rep. Alan Green.

With 56% of precincts reporting, Fitzpatrick, a Republican, held a 62% to 34% lead over Green, a Democrat who previously represented Florissant in the Missouri House.

The auditor’s office, tasked with the impartial review of public spending, is currently the only statewide office held by a Democrat. Incumbent Auditor Nicole Galloway decided not to seek another term after an unsuccessful 2020 bid for governor.

Fitzpatrick, 35, was appointed state treasurer by Gov. Mike Parson in 2018 and won a full term in November 2020. He previously served in the Missouri House, including a stint as chair of the influential House budget committee.

In 2003, Fitzpatrick founded MariCorp U.S., a boat dock manufacturing company in his hometown, Shell Knob, in southwest Missouri. On his campaign website, he vowed to serve with the “same conservative values I learned in my business and have applied to my public service.”

Fitzpatrick has previously said that his priorities as auditor include increasing oversight of how federal COVID-19 funding is spent, and assessing public schools’ performance relative to their funding.

He has also pledged to audit school curricula, to keep “politically divisive curriculum like Critical Race Theory…out of the classroom,” according to his campaign website. In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Fitzpatrick said curriculum audits would inform taxpayers how their money is spent — falling within the auditor’s purview because “that type of curriculum is a waste of taxpayer money.”

Fitzpatrick has pledged to show no partisan favoritism toward Republican-led government agencies, pointing to his tenure as chairman of the House budget committee when he oversaw inquiries into the administration of GOP Gov. Mike Parson.

“Anybody who’s covered state government during my time in office much at all knows I have no problem upsetting the apple cart,” Fitzpatrick said at the Missouri Press Association debate in September.

Fitzpatrick outraised Green by wide margins, although overall spending in the race was relatively low.

Last December, in advance of the Republican primary, Fitzpatrick’s campaign received a boost from Republican megadonor Rex Sinquefield in the form of a $250,000 donation to a political action committee supporting his candidacy.

In the GOP primary, Fitzpatrick defeated Rep. David Gregory. Green ran unopposed.

According to their latest Missouri Ethics Commission filings, Fitzpatrick has raised over $850,000 compared to only $24,000 for Green and $15,000 for Libertarian John Hartwig Jr.

At the same point in the last auditor’s race, in 2018, Democrat Nicole Galloway had raised nearly $2.2 million and her opponent, Republican Saundra McDowell, had raised $80,000.

Fitzpatrick still had $263,000 on hand as of Oct. 31. In the final quarter of the campaign, from July 15 to Oct. 15, Fitzpatrick spent no campaign funds on advertising. Total spending in the race by all three candidates combined was under $1 million, as of Oct. 31 filings.

The position has sometimes served as a springboard to the governorship. Of the 10 auditors elected or appointed because of a vacancy since 1970, five have run for governor.

This story was originally published on the Missouri Independent.

Clara Bates covers social services and poverty for The Missouri Independent. She previously wrote for the Nevada Current, where she reported on labor violations in casinos, hurdles facing applicants for unemployment benefits and lax oversight of the funeral industry. She also wrote about vocational education for Democracy Journal. Bates is a graduate of Harvard College and is a Report for America corps member.
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