This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway said she is ready to take on Governor Mike Parson Friday.

The two will share the stage in what will be their first—and possibly, only—debate.

Galloway, the Democratic challenger, is hoping to unseat Parson, who took office following the resignation of Eric Greitens in 2018.

She believes the biggest challenges for Missouri’s next governor will be COVID-19 and rebuilding the state’s economy.

She said the response to the pandemic has been poor.

“We need a complete reset on our Coronavirus strategy. Governor Parson has not taken the steps needed,” Galloway said.

Galloway said a state-wide mask mandate is central to protecting Missourians from COVID-19. Parson has held off on issuing a mandate, arguing that individuals should make that decision, not state government.

Galloway believes Missouri should issue minimum guidelines for schools as they navigate through the pandemic.

Galloway has served as state auditor since 2015. She was appointed to the position following the death of Tom Schweich.

She won election for the post in 2018 and is the sole Democrat among elected statewide officeholders. She’s also the only female state officeholder.

“I can see that working families needed a change a year ago. But I am even more certain of it now,” Galloway said.

The stakes will be high for Friday’s debate, as it will mark the only time the two will share the stage.

Galloway said that she has requested four debates. Parson has agreed to only Friday’s event, but is considering the possibility of another debate, the campaign said.

The debate will take place at 2 p.m. Friday. It was rescheduled after Parson and his wife were diagnosed with COVID-19. Libertarian Rik Combs and Green Party candidate Jerome Bauer will also take part in the debate.