Missouri state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, has changed his expected political plans by announcing Wednesday that he’s running for Missouri state treasurer in 2016.
Schmitt had been a key player in the last two GOP legislative battles for tax cuts -- one successful, and one not.
Schmitt, a lawyer, is the first from either major party to officially announce for state treasurer, which will be up for grabs in 2016. Democratic incumbent Clint Zweifel can’t run for a third term because the office, along with governor, is limited to two terms.
Schmitt long had been considered a likely candidate for attorney general in 2016 in what had been seen as an early crowded Republican field. State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, already has announced for attorney general. And state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, also is seriously looking at it.
Meanwhile, Schmitt also had been openly courted to run for lieutenant governor in 2016, should Republican incumbent Peter Kinder opt against seeking a fourth term.
“Service to others has always come first in my professional life,” said Schmitt. “I’m running for treasurer because this is the office where I believe I can make the biggest difference on behalf of Missouri taxpayers by continuing to work on the job-creating policies I’ve fought for in the State Senate.”
Schmitt pledged to focus on “private sector job creation and lowering the tax burden on Missouri citizens and businesses.”
Schmitt was a major author of the tax-cut package that the General Assembly approved this last session, over Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto. Schmitt also had been the prime mover of the 2013 tax cut that Nixon also vetoed, and which legislators failed to override.
Schmitt also had crafted the state’s elimination of the business franchise tax, which is being phased in. On a non-fiscal note, he also was a leader in the successful legislative effort to require insurers to cover treatment for autism. He has a son who is autistic.
“I want this campaign to be a conversation with voters about how the treasurer’s office can better serve them,” Schmitt said. “The treasurer’s office needs to take a more proactive role in protecting taxpayers. Whether it’s ensuring greater fiscal responsibility, providing greater analysis on the impact of proposed legislative polices, safeguarding the state’s AAA bond rating or ensuring the programs operated by the office are more efficient and transparent, these are all areas I intend to focus my efforts as treasurer.”