Ahead of ‘official’ announcement, Mike Parson tells supporters he’s running for governor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For more than a month now, state Sen. Mike Parson has been exploring whether or not to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2016.

Since the suicide last month of state Auditor Tom Schweich, another Republican candidate at the time, Parson has been quietly traveling the state meeting with donors and activists to see whether or not there was a path to victory for a former sheriff from southwest Missouri.

This morning, according to the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Parson said he made a decision.

The remark was surely meant to remain in the room among members of the state’s agriculture community, a base from which Parson would likely launch a campaign against two or three candidates who hail from St. Louis. But in an age of Twitter, Parson’s comment made its way to the state’s political community almost immediately.

Friday’s remarks were reminiscent of another accidental announcement in the race for governor by the only announced candidate for the nomination, former federal prosecutor Catherine Hanaway. In 2013, Hanaway told an audience in Moniteau County that she was running for governor that preceded her own planned announcement.

A Republican with knowledge of Parson’s campaign plans said Thursday that he planned to announce by mid-May, perhaps before the end of Legislative session on May 15 or soon after. For now, Parson is “lining up endorsements and fundraising,” the Republican said.

Even with Parson’s announcement pending, two other Republicans – former U.S. Navy SEAL Eric Greitens and St. Louis businessman John Brunner – are also exploring campaigns.

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