News Briefs

GOP auditor hopeful scores endorsements from Missouri billionaire, legislative leader

By: - November 12, 2021 8:44 am

State Rep. David Gregory announced he was running for Missouri Auditor in early August 2021 (screenshot of announcement video).

Republican state Rep. David Gregory’s campaign for state auditor has scored endorsements from St. Louis billionaire David Steward and a lawmaker set to become the next Missouri House speaker.

Steward and Speaker-elect Dean Plocher are hosting a fundraiser for Gregory next week at a country club in Clayton. Among the guests mentioned on the invitation are GOP Reps. Jeff Knight, Rick Francis, Dan Houx and Mike Henderson.

Gregory, a personal injury lawyer from St. Louis County first elected to the Missouri House in 2016, joined the race for state auditor in early August. He’s facing off in the GOP primary with state Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick.

Last month, Fitzpatrick rolled out a host of endorsements of his own, including Gov. Mike Parson and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. He also scored the backing of another billionaire, retired financier Rex Sinquefield, who over the last 10 years has donated more than $41 million to various candidates and campaigns in Missouri.

Both men are hoping to capture the last statewide office still held by a Democrat in Missouri. The incumbent, Auditor Nicole Galloway, announced in June that she would not seek reelection.

Winning Steward’s endorsement could provide a huge financial boost to Gregory’s campaign.

Steward is the founder of World Wide Technologies who, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $5.8 billion. Since 2011, he has donated nearly $4 million to various candidates and PACs in Missouri.

His most high-profile political involvement in recent years came in 2019, when he bankrolled a nonprofit called Kingdom Principles that made an unsuccessful push to change how Missouri colleges handle cases of sexual assault and harassment. That effort was spearheaded by Richard McIntosh, who at the time was Steward’s lobbyist and whose son had been expelled from Washington University in St. Louis for allegedly harassing another student in violation of the federal Title IX law, which bars sexual discrimination in education.

McIntosh no longer represents Steward or World Wide Technologies.

Gregory’s campaign committee reported $436,000 cash on hand in October, including a $250,000 donation to his own campaign in September.

The PAC supporting him, called Show-Me Growth, reported $360,000 cash on hand.

That total included a $200,000 donation from a St. Louis-based nonprofit led by a longtime GOP consultant called The Alliance for Economic Progress Inc. Because it’s a nonprofit, the organization isn’t required to disclose where that money came from.

The PAC also received $100,000 from Joe Patterson, a retired police officer from St. Louis.

Fitzpatrick’s campaign reported $445,000 cash on hand in October. That includes a $250,000 contribution Fitzpatrick made himself shortly before entering the race.

The PAC supporting him, called Missourians for a Responsible Budget, reported only $13,000 cash on hand.

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Jason Hancock
Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has been writing about Missouri since 2011, most recently as lead political reporter for The Kansas City Star. He has spent nearly two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, and has a track record of exposing government wrongdoing and holding elected officials accountable.

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