State Auditor Tom Schweich said on election night a couple of weeks ago that he wants to talk with friends and family before announcing that he’s running for Governor in 2016. Well, that’s not quite correct. He’s going to hold these talks before he announces WHETHER he’s running for Governor.
How many people in the audience when he claimed almost-unopposed victory in his re-election campaign believed that he hadn’t made up his mind yet? Probably about eight people sitting at a table in a distant back corner of the room who haven’t been paying much attention for the last, say, year or so.
Tom Schweich IS running for Governor. He hasn’t been raising the scads of money he has raised in this campaign because he was living in mortal fear that a Libertarian or a Constitution Party candidate was going to run away with the results. He hasn’t been traveling throughout the state (the political speech-making nit-picker notes that he said he’d been traveling “around” the state, which means he’s been traveling to our eight neighbors to make campaign speeches) because he wants to fill his state parks passport with stamps. He hasn’t been making well-greeted speeches at political events because he likes to each chicken and broccoli far more often than most people can stand.
Tom Schweich is running for Governor.
Do not underestimate this man, especially if you are one of the other potential candidates for the office in 2016. Tom Schweich is not a commanding figure physically. He looks a little geeky. He’s an AUDITOR for crying out loud. Auditor and Treasurer are not top echelon power positions that grab big-time headlines because of proclamations, probes, and prosecutions as Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General are. Auditor and Treasurer do rank ahead of Lieutenant Governor because they have constitutional responsibilities that are more important than presiding over the state senate, which is the big responsibility of the Lieutenant Governor, a position that has been occupied by men for the last forty years or so who have looked for things to do–and have convinced the legislature to make up some duties for them.
A lot of folks have underestimated Tom Schweich and then they have heard him speak.
“Damn!” they probably say, “This guy is pretty good!” And when they get closer, they see a guy who’s pretty intense and smart.
He fired his first barrage as a candidate for Governor at his victory party on election night. This wasn’t an auditor thanking family and friends for their work. This was a candidate already on the attack. He didn’t mention names but there was no doubt he was talking about Nixon when he blasted those in leadership positions who “fly all around the state on expensive planes for photo ops” but “don’t make the tough decisions they need to make.” And is there any doubt he shifted his sights to former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway when he talked about “candidates who seem almost completely bought and paid for by one donor,” referring to the fact that almost all of Hanawa’s donations so far have come from Rex Sinquefield and she’s already come out in favor of at least one of Sinquefield’s favorite subjects–tax reform, including elimination of the income tax.
And he’s already looking past the August, 2016 primary. He also attacked Attorney General Chris Koster, the target of a New York Times article that has suggested he has gone easy on corporations that have given him campaign money (For the record, Koster has issued a reply to the allegations saying he thinks the contributions are on the up-and-up). Koster is considered by a lot of observers as the potential Democratic nominuee for Governor in ’16.
Schweich has talked about special interests “that have completely corrupted” state government. And he wasn’t bashful about tearing into Sinquefield, whose army of lobbyists and other agents “manipulate politicians like pawns on a chess board.”
Sure doesn’t sound like somebody who needs to have “the talk” with his family and friends before he announces that he’s running for Governor, does it?
State Auditors do not make speeches such as the one he gave on election night because they’re looking forward to another four years in an important but non-glamorous office.
Listen (or watch on YouTube) to Schweich’s speech and see if YOU think he hasn’t made up his mind.
Don’t read this as any kind of an endorsement of Mr. Schweich. As we look through the foggy lens into the future, we see a tremendous campaign coming. Of course, before it’s finished it will degenerate into cheap-shot allegations and innuendoes that will overshadow the competition of ideas. But for now, let’s just live with the anticipation of a lively campaign. There’s time later to dread what it will become.
But Tom Schweich is going to be in it. .