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Politically Speaking: Republican McDowell expounds on Missouri auditor campaign

Saundra McDowell, Republican nominee for Missouri auditor  2018
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Saundra McDowell, Republican nominee for Missouri auditor

Missouri's GOP state auditor nominee Saundra McDowell joins the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about her campaign for the statewide office.

McDowell is squaring off against incumbent Democrat Nicole Galloway, who was appointed to her post after Tom Schweich’s death in 2015. You can listen to Galloway’s appearance on the show here.

McDowell is an Oklahoma native and U.S. Air Force veteran who received her law degree from Regent University. She worked as an assistant attorney general and as director of enforcement for the securities division under Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

This summer, McDowell faced three other Republicans for the right to take on Galloway in the Nov. 6 election. Even though some of the candidates were better funded and more well known in Missouri political circles, McDowell ended up winning over David Wasinger by nearly 34,000 votes.

McDowell has struggled to keep up with Galloway in fundraising. The last campaign finance report shows that Galloway had nearly $1.3 million in the bank — compared to about $26,000 for McDowell.

Still, the result of the auditor’s contest may be closely tied to the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley. Schweich ended up defeating incumbent Auditor Susan Montee in 2010 after Republican Roy Blunt won a U.S. Senate seat by a wide margin. In 2002, McCaskill ended up winning the auditor’s race comfortably even though Republican Jim Talent won a Senate seat.

Here’s what McDowell had to say during the show:

  • She addressed questions about whether she’s been a resident of Missouri for 10 years, reports of financial problems, and accusations that she’s misrepresented her experience while working at the attorney general’s office.
  • She attributes her primary win to working “very, very hard,” adding that she made sure to attend as many GOP events as possible. “For a race like this, you really need to get out and meet the people,” she said. “Because you need to hear their concerns and what they expect of the auditor.”
  • One of McDowell’s GOP opponents, state Rep. Paul Curtman, campaigned on trying to get lawmakers to follow through with suggestions in audits. McDowell said she would try to carry out that idea if she’s elected. “Spending more time with the legislature trying to implement better policies for the auditor’s office, but also working with the state reps and senators to get things done,” she said.
  • McDowell opposes Amendment 1, which would give the state auditor responsibility to solicit candidates for a state demographer to draw legislative districts. If Amendment 1 passes and she wins, she promised a fair process. “I plan to do this in a very nonpartisan way,” she said. “I plan to bring someone from across party lines to come in and help me make that list of possible demographers.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Saundra McDowell on Twitter: @mcdowellformo

Music: “Just” by Radiohead

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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