JEFFERSON CITY • Republican primary voters will have four options when they head to the polls on Tuesday to pick their nominee for state auditor.
• State Rep. Paul Curtman, 37, of Washington, Mo., is a Marine veteran and financial adviser who says his time as head of two legislative oversight committees gives him the experience to lead the office.
• Saundra McDowell, a lawyer from Jefferson City, worked in the securities division of the secretary of state’s office and as an assistant attorney general working on Medicaid fraud. “I have literally put people in jail for the fraudulent activities they’ve committed,” McDowell said at a recent candidate forum.
• Kevin Roach, 36, is a Ballwin alderman who wants to force all government entities to post their budgets online. “We have over 3,700 separate government entities in this state, and they are living off of your tax dollars,” Roach said at the forum.
• David Wasinger, 54, of Huntleigh, is a lawyer and the only Republican running who is a certified public accountant. He said he worked to “hold banks accountable” after the financial crisis by suing Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The winner will face current Auditor Nicole Galloway, the only Democrat holding statewide office in the capital city. In a campaign finance report filed this week, she reported just under $1.1 million in her coffers as she prepares for the general election — far more than any of her would-be GOP challengers.
Wasinger has largely self-funded his campaign and has spent $562,000 during the Republican primary to spread his message. He reported having $312,255 cash on hand.
Wasinger said in an interview that he would be a check on the “insiders, lobbyists and career politicians” that run Jefferson City.
“I am not beholden to any special interests,” he said when asked about his self-funding.
Curtman, who cannot run for another term in the House because of term limits, had $14,008 in his account after spending $13,010 in July. During the month, Curtman raised $6,079.
On Wednesday, Curtman launched a statewide tour starting in Hannibal and ending Friday in Poplar Bluff. He said his work ethic would make up for his lack of cash as the candidates head toward primary day.
“I think the people of Missouri respond to candidates that work hard by getting out to meet them,” Curtman said. “And I’ve been doing that since I’ve announced for this office. Just last month I put 8,100 miles on my car.”
McDowell reported $3,168 in her account. She raised just over $3,000 in the month of July and spent $1,356. Most of her expenses went to a certified public accountant in Springfield.
Roach entered the final week with $1,687 in his campaign account. He received just one contribution of $250 in July and spent $1,440, mostly on fuel, food and lodging.
Wasinger has touted his experience as a certified public accountant as a reason that voters should choose him in Tuesday’s primary.
“I am the only certified public accountant in the Republican primary,” he said. “I’m also an attorney.”
At a candidate forum last month, his three opponents said being a certified public accountant did not in and of itself qualify one for the office.
Curtman said his connections in the Legislature and experience chairing oversight committees meant that he would be able to effect real change in Jefferson City.
“A lot of the work that I did had to do with investigating the performance, process and finances of state bureaucracies and then creating solutions,” Curtman said.
McDowell has marketed herself as a “defender of the people” and says she will work as auditor to “prosecute fraud” — though the auditor does not have prosecuting powers.
Roach says auditors should be evaluated by the amount of taxpayer dollars they scrutinize, not by how many audits they perform. He said he studied financial fraud and forensic accounting for his MBA at Webster University.
He also said he walked 193 miles to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg this year when he found out its budget was not available online. They posted it the same day he arrived on campus unannounced, Roach said.
“They said that I could’ve called, but I’ve dealt with government runaround before,” he said. “Sometimes it takes more than a phone call.”
Roach also touts his anti-abortion bona fides and support for the Second Amendment on his website.
“Kevin believes that life begins at conception and that we should promote alternatives to abortion,” his website says.
Unlike legislators who routinely deal with controversial social issues, the state auditor oversees an office of 115 employees, 65 percent of whom have “at least one professional license, certification or advanced degree,” according to the auditor’s website.