St. Louis, MO – A former official in the administration of George W. Bush has entered the Republican race for auditor general.
Thomas Schweich is a professor of law at Washington University. He previously oversaw the law enforcement division for the Department of State.
Schweich is the second Republican to enter the race - state House budget chairman Allen Icet is also running to challenge Susan Montee, a Democrat. Schweich entertained a run for the Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Kit Bond, but held back to avoid a divisive primary.
This race, he said, is different.
"I think Allen acted preemptively," he said. "I think I'm the unifying force in this audit race. I stepped aside once in the name of party unity, and I'm not going to do it again."
Schweich said his background overseeing the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs gave him legal, investigative, auditing and management experience, which Icet is lacking. Icet, also a Republican from suburban St. Louis, dismissed the argument.
"The auditor's office, one of their main functions is to audit the departments within the executive branch and the budgets," he said. "And being the chairman of the House budget committee, I have a very credible basis for saying I understand the state's budget more than almost anyone else in the state."
Icet will be term-limited from office in 2010, but said his legislative experience will make following up on audits easier. He has about $66,000 in his campaign account, and on Tuesday announced the endorsement of 84 Republican state Representatives and Senators. Schweich has yet to create a committee, but said he will announce some endorsements shortly.