Candidates for governor had plenty of materials on hand June 27 for the Greene County Republican Women 2024 Republican Candidate Forum. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

With five weeks to go to the Aug. 6 primary, candidates are turning up the volume in hopes that voters are ready to start tuning into key races that may very well decide who will be Missouri's next governor, as well as the outcome of other statewide races.

While the primary officially just determines the candidates to represent each party on the Nov. 5 election, the Democratic candidates recognize the long-shot odds they face come November in a state where all of the statewide offices are currently held by Republicans.

Also, a reminder: absentee voting is already underway for the primary. Greene County residents can find more information here.

Governor

Nine candidates are on the GOP ballot and five on the Democratic primary ballot, all hoping to succeed Gov. Mike Parson, who is term-limited.

GOP candidates are led by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, current Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and state Sen. Bill Eigel. Other Republican candidates are Jeremy Gundel, Robert James Olson, Chris Wright, Darren L. Grant, Amber Thomsen and Darrell Leon McClanahan III.

The top Democratic candidates are House Minority Leader Crystal Quade of Springfield, and Springfield businessman Mike Hamra. Other Democrats are Eric Morrison, Sheryl Gladney and Hollis Laster.

While Hamra recently released his first TV ad — a positive look at his business career featuring employees of the family's Wendy's restaurants — Quade has been on the trail to Kansas City, St. Louis and elsewhere. The two have not met in any public forum.

Since Missouri is an open primary state, some are urging Democrats to crossover and pull a Republican ballot in the Aug. 6 primary — specifically to vote in the GOP race for governor. The suggestion is that could benefit current Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who is considered more of a moderate.

A Kansas City Star story June 21 on recent polling suggests that could have an impact on a tight race between the top two candidates.

KC Star: Missouri Republican governor’s race is close. What a new poll says about who’s ahead

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft holds a small, margin-of-error lead over Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe in the Republican race for governor, according to a new poll that also shows nearly half of GOP primary voters remain undecided.

An Emerson College/The Hill poll of 489 Missouri Republican primary voters conducted earlier this week found 23% of respondents say they support Ashcroft and 20% support Kehoe. State Sen. Bill Eigel, a Weldon Spring Republican, has 6% support.

The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.4%, meaning the race remains effectively tied.

Most striking about the results, however, is the large number of undecided voters who remain six weeks before the Aug. 6 primary election. A full 46% of GOP voters said they are undecided (Missouri is an open primary state; the poll asked respondents which party primary they plan to vote in).

Read the full Kansas City Star story (subscription required).

Recent ads and videos from the candidates

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Candidate appearances on St. Louis Public Radio's “Politically Speaking”

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Eigel says his antiestablishment stance is what Missouri needs in a governor: State Sen. Bill Eigel spent his roughly two terms in the Missouri Senate going against the grain of Republican leaders. But the Weldon Spring Republican doesn’t believe his clashes with his fellow GOP elected officials will be a detriment to his gubernatorial bid. On an episode of “Politically Speaking,” Eigel said his antiestablishment posture puts him in a good position in a competitive GOP primary that includes Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Kehoe touts experience — but not being tied to the establishment — in run for governor: Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe has worn a lot of different hats over the years: mid-Missouri car dealer, highways and transportation commissioner, state senator and lieutenant governor. He’s even donned an actual cowboy hat in his ads while working on his farm. But during an appearance on “Politically Speaking,” Kehoe, who was appointed to his current post in 2018, brushed aside criticism that he’s too much a part of the Jefferson City establishment.

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Why Crystal Quade believes Missouri is ready again for a Democratic governor: When House Minority Leader Crystal Quade first won election to her Springfield-based seat in 2016, her fellow Democrats suffered catastrophic losses for state legislative and statewide posts. Now, after eight years of near-total GOP control of Missouri state government, Quade believes the state’s voters are ready to move on and place Democrats like her in the governor’s mansion. During an appearance on “Politically Speaking,” Quade contended that Missourians are dissatisfied with how Republicans have led the state.

Lieutenant Governor

Springfield state Sen. Lincoln Hough, is the local favorite seeking the GOP nomination to become lieutenant governor. Five others are seeking the Republican nod. They are: state Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder, Tim Baker, Paul Berry III, David Wasinger and Matthew E. Porter.

On the Democratic side, Richard Brown, a retired Kansas City school teacher, is opposed by Anastasia Syes, a St. Louis nonprofit founder.

Attorney General

On the GOP side, Attorney General Andrew Bailey is opposed by Will Scharf in what is turning into a rough-and-tumble campaign. The lone Democrat is Elad Gross, a St. Louis civil rights attorney.

In a St. Louis forum on June 24, two candidates for Missouri Attorney General — Republican Will Scharf and Democrat Elad Gross disagreed on almost every issue. Except they could agree on one thing: incumbent Attorney General Andrew Bailey — who missed the forum, citing a scheduling conflict — is part of a “viciously corrupt” environment in Jefferson City. “The political class in this state has fundamentally failed the people of Missouri,” Scharf said. Read the full story (free access) from the Missouri Independent.

RELATED: Andrew Bailey lost a case June 26 before the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected arguments by Missouri and Louisiana that the federal government violated the First Amendment in its efforts to combat false, misleading and dangerous information online. Bailey, who inherited the lawsuit from his predecessor (now U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt), has called the federal government’s actions “the biggest violation of the First Amendment in our nation’s history.” Read the full story (free access) from the Missouri Independent.

RELATED: Will Scharf gets another $2M for Missouri AG campaign from group tied to Leonard Leo (free access from Missouri Independent) — The money went to Club for Growth Action Missouri, a PAC supporting Scharf in his campaign to unseat incumbent Attorney General Andrew Bailey in the Aug. 6 GOP primary. Since the beginning of 2023, the Concord Fund has donated $3.5 million to help Scharf.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey was appointed to the position by Republican Gov. Mike Parson on January 3, 2023. (Photo by Jack McGee)

KC Star: Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey had citations wiped before entering office; Will Scharf faced charges related to underage drinking in college

Years before becoming Missouri’s top law enforcement official, Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey was cited for violating the state’s conservation laws and had the charges wiped from his record.

Bailey, who is campaigning for a full term, had those records expunged before working as the general counsel for the Missouri Department of Corrections in 2018. A spokesperson for Bailey’s campaign confirmed in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that the expungements relate to two incidents in which Bailey was fishing.

One occurred when Bailey, then 18 years old, was fined $15 for staying in a park after hours after fishing. The other happened when Bailey was in college and was fined $25 for violating another conservation law.

Read the full Kansas City Star story on Bailey (subscription required)

Bailey's GOP opponent, Will Scharf, was charged with two crimes related to underage drinking while at college. Those charges were later dismissed. A political action committee supporting Bailey has started running ads highlighting Scharf's previous criminal charges. Read the full Kansas City Star story on Scharf (subscription required).

Treasurer

Incumbent Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek is running for a full four-year term after being appointed treasurer in 2023 by Gov. Mike Parson, following Scott Fitzpatrick's election as state auditor. Malek is the first person of color to hold statewide office in Missouri.

Five others are challenging Malek, who has raised the most money so far. Springfield attorney Lori Rook is joined by House Budget Chairman Cody Smith, state Sen. Andrew Koenig, St. Joseph resident Tina Goodrick and Berkeley resident Karan Pujji on the Aug. 6 ballot.

Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek, who is seeking election to a full term, spoke June 27 at the Greene County Republican Women 2024 Republican Candidate Forum. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek lays out his case for full four-year term — State Treasurer Vivek Malek came to the United States from India when he was 24. When he arrived in Cape Girardeau to get a master’s degree in business administration at Southeast Missouri State University, it was about a month before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “And that just completely changed my world as well as I saw Americans come together in unity once that event happened,” Malek said on an episode of “Politically Speaking.” “And that triggered for me to go to law school and study the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights and understand more about American politics.”

Secretary of State

Shane Schoeller, the Greene County Clerk, headlines a crowded field of candidates for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State. Other candidates include: outgoing House Speaker Dean Plocher of Des Peres; state Sen. Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg; state Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman of Arnold; state Rep. Adam Schwadron of St. Charles; Valentina Gomez of St. Louis; Jamie Corley of St. Louis County; and Mike Carter, a Wentzville judge.

Three people are seeking the Democratic nomination: Monique Williams, a St. Louis CPA; state Rep. Barbara Phifer of St. Louis; and Haley Jacobson, a St. Louis businesswoman and registered nurse.

Shane Schoeller speaks at a 2022 Republican candidates forum presented by Greene County Republican Women's Club at the Relics Antique Mall, Event Center. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Secretary of state hopeful Shane Schoeller touts election administration experience: “I think what distinguishes me from everyone else is I've actually been administering elections for the past 10 years,” Schoeller said on an episode of the Politically Speaking podcast.

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher says secretary of state best fits his experience

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Secretary of state candidate Mike Carter says he’s running a different type of race

From St. Louis Public Radio (free access): Secretary of State hopeful Mary Elizabeth Coleman says the job fits her goals

U.S. Senate

Four candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for the right to face incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley in November.

The leading candidate is Lucas Kunce, a 13-year Marine veteran who is making his second well-funded run for the Senate. Other candidates are: state Sen. Karla May of St. Louis; December L. Harmon of Columbia; and Mita Biswas of St. Louis.

U.S. House — 7th District

First-term incumbent Eric Burlison faces three challengers in the GOP primary. They are: Audrey Richards of Kimberling City; Camille Lombardi-Olive of Joplin; and John Adair of Pineville. Forsyth Mayor Missi Hesketh is running as a Democrat. Perennial candidate Kevin Craig is running as a Libertarian.

David Stoeffler

David Stoeffler is the chief executive officer of the Hauxeda. He has more than 40 years experience in the news business, having been a reporter, editor and news executive in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona and Missouri. You may email him at dstoeffler@hauxeda.com or call 417-837-3664. More by David Stoeffler