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Columbia Hosts First Gubernatorial Debate

Four candidates vying for Missouri governor participated in a forum today for the first time this election cycle.

The candidates are Incumbent Republican Governor Mike Parson, Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, Libertarian Rik Combs and Green Party’s Jerome Bauer.

Questions about COVID-19, crime, and other issues pitted front-runners Parson and Galloway against each other.

On the issue of COVID-19, Galloway said that she would bring better leadership to Jefferson City to lead the state through the pandemic.

“We need a complete reset on our coronavirus strategy. We are headed in the wrong direction. Cases are rising in all parts of our state, urban and rural. Hospitalizations are at record numbers and today we had the highest number of reported deaths that we’ve had in the state,” Galloway said

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services added 2,008 new cases today along with an additional 11 deaths with 125 also added that were from previous months.

Since the first cases in the state were reported in March, Missouri has reported 139,164 cases and 2,395 deaths.

Mike Parson refuted claims by Galloway that his administration failed to deal with COVID-19 successfully.

“We’ve taken a balanced approach from day one," Parson said. "We’ve actually reached out to Washington University, MU, to the Missouri Hospital Association and experts in Missouri and put a plan together. The Show Me Strong Recovery Plan."

Parson and Galloway went back and forth on the handling of crime in Missouri. Parson pointed to Galloway’s endorsement of Senator Elizabeth Warren as proof that Galloway supported defunding the police, which she denied.

Galloway said her plan to reduce crime involved common sense gun safety laws, providing police officers with more resources, and addressing the root causes of crime.

“As a mom, nothing is more important than the safety of our communities,” Galloway said. She added that her plan involves investment in education and healthcare and an increase in economic opportunities.

Parson said liberal agendas were the reason for crime being on the rise, and said his plan involves collaboration between local, state and federal levels of law enforcement.

The next debate date between the candidates is not set yet, with only 25 days left until the general election on November 3rd.

The debate was hosted by KOMU, the Missouri Press Association and the Columbia Missourian. It was moderated by David Lieb from the Associated Press, with panelists Ruby Bailey, Gary Castor, Tricia Miller and Emily Spain.