Missouri Democrat Nicole Galloway has remained silent after a top adviser called Republican governor Mike Parson an "illiterate hillbilly."
Galloway, the state auditor, is running to unseat Parson, an Army veteran, former sheriff, and cattle farmer. In a Tuesday social media post, campaign adviser and registered lobbyist Patrick Lynn called Parson an "illiterate hillbilly." Galloway has yet to condemn the remark and did not respond to a request for comment.
Lynn has long backed Galloway, hosting a happy hour fundraiser for the Democrat as early as 2011 when Galloway served as a county treasurer. Galloway's PAC paid Lynn's consulting firm, Show Me Victories, to run digital ads against Galloway's opponent during the Democrat's 2018 state auditor reelection bid. Galloway is married to Lynn's nephew.
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Republican Governors Association spokeswoman Amelia Chassé Alcivar compared Lynn's statement to Hillary Clinton's infamous 2016 comment, in which the Democratic presidential nominee said that half of President Donald Trump's supporters could be put in a "basket of deplorables."
"It's no secret that Nicole Galloway tries to emulate Hillary Clinton at every turn, but hurling elitist disdain at a majority of the voters you seek to represent is never a good look," Alcivar said. "If Nicole Galloway doesn't step up and condemn this despicable and divisive rhetoric from her top advisor, Missourians can only presume that Mr. Lynn merely said out loud what Galloway thinks."
Critics say Lynn's comment marks the latest example showing Galloway is out of touch with Missouri voters. More than 2 million Missourians live in rural counties, according to the state's health department. Parson, a native of rural Wheatland, Mo., received nearly 1.5 million votes during his 2016 run for lieutenant governor. Galloway on June 14 headlined an event with abortion lobbyist and liberal megadonor NARAL, which opposes any restriction on late-term abortion. More than 80 percent of Missouri voters oppose late-term abortion—including 66 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of independents—according to a 2019 poll commissioned by Susan B. Anthony List.
Lynn's comment came after Parson was asked during a Tuesday press conference whether he felt "personal responsibility" for coronavirus deaths in the state.
"I don't even know where you come up with that question, personal responsibility as the governor of the state of Missouri when you're talking about a virus," Parson responded. "Do I feel guilty because we have car accidents and people die every day? No, I don't feel guilty about that."
Galloway and Parson will likely face off in November following the state's August primary. The Missouri Republican enjoys a significant financial advantage, holding a combined $6.5 million on hand between his campaign and PAC. Galloway, meanwhile, holds less than $2 million on hand between her campaign and PAC as of April 15.
UPDATE: June 25, 2:12 p.m.
Lynn locked his Twitter account Thursday following publication of this report.