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ST. LOUIS, Mo- Missouri Governor Mike Parson, ushered into office in the wake of the Eric Greitens scandal in the summer of 2018, has won election to the office in his own right, defeating Democratic challenger and State Auditor Nicole Galloway and two other candidates. The race was called by the Associated Press.

Parson, a former sheriff, state legislator and until June 2018, Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor, championed issues like infrastructure and workforce development in the first year-plus in office, and ran a campaign that emphasized his support for law enforcement and an approach to mitigating the coronavirus pandemic that let local municipalities take the lead, backed by state resources in what he dubbed a “Show-Me Strong Recovery Plan”.

That approach, which Parson said included a focus on individual responsibility, had critics who argued the state needed a statewide mask mandate. The Governor and First Lady, Theresa Parson, tested positive for the virus in September.

Parson gained national attention in July when he vowed to pardon Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple charged with threatening demonstrators outside their Central West End home in June, amid a national discussion about race, police behavior and funding.

Galloway, the lone Democrat holding statewide office, ran against Parson’s handling of the pandemic and in support of plans to lower healthcare costs. Due in part to the pandemic, the candidates only appeared once together in a forum, a Missouri Press Association event in Columbia, Mo.