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ICYMI: “One to Watch”: Two and a Half Weeks From Election Day, Inside Elections Shifts Missouri Governor Race To Be More Competitive For Second Time

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Inside Elections downgraded the GOP advantage in the Missouri governor’s race and ranked it as more competitive, citing Democratic nominee Nicole Galloway’s strong fundraising and polls showing Galloway has closed the gap with Parson heading into the final weeks of the race.

This is the latest item dragging down Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s flailing campaign. Last week, Galloway picked up the endorsement of Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who cited Parson’s failed pandemic response as a stark point of contrast between the two candidates and said Galloway would follow facts and science. Galloway also closed out Q3 with over $3 million raised, her biggest haul yet, and the most raised by a candidate under current campaign finance rules.

All of this while Parson contends with criticism from Missourians over his abysmal handling of the pandemic. Parson has repeatedly ignored calls from the White House Coronavirus Task Force and other public health experts to mandate masks in Missouri, even as the virus runs rampant through the state, and even after contracting it himself.

Polling has the race between Parson and Galloway in a dead heat – a Saint Louis University/YouGov poll from July showed the race in a statistical tie, and a Galloway campaign internal poll from early October shows similar results.

This is the second time Inside Elections has downgraded Parson’s advantage in the race – they moved the race to be more competitive back in April. Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and U.S. News & World Report have also ranked the race as more competitive.

Read more about the ratings change below.

Inside Elections: Gubernatorial Report Shorts (October 16, 2020): Missouri Governor

Missouri. Mike Parson (R) ascended to governorship June 2018. This race remains Democrats’ one legitimate pickup opportunity of the cycle. State Auditor Nicole Galloway has continued her streak of strong fundraising, matching or outraising Parson for the last several filing periods, though the outside PAC supporting Parson, backed by the RGA, has consistently pulled in more than Galloway’s equivalent, backed by the DGA and EMILY’s List. As of now, Galloway and her allies are set to outspend Parson and his in the final weeks of the race.

President Donald Trump is struggling mightily in the Kansas City and St. Louis suburbs, making Missouri more competitive on the presidential level and providing an opening for Galloway. Democrats believe that Parson’s response to covid, including his comments on sending kids back to school and his laissez-faire attitude toward masks, will come back to haunt him, especially after the governor himself fell sick with the virus in late September. Democrats released a late September poll showing Galloway and Joe Biden down just 2 points each. That’s generous to Galloway, but other public and private polling has this as a single-digit race, with Parson still struggling to exceed to 50 percent. As one of just two competitive gubernatorial races, a lot of attention and resources are going to be lavished on Missouri in the final weeks, making this one to watch, especially if the president can’t reverse course soon. Move from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.