McCaskill to seek second term as auditor

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- When she first sought election as state auditor, Claire McCaskill says her detractors argued that because she wasn't a certified public accountant -- and a Democrat like the governor -- she wasn't the right choice for the job.

In announcing plans Monday to seek a second term, McCaskill said her time in office has proved those concerns never should have been concerns in the first place.

"I hope we have put that to rest," said McCaskill, 48. And without them, she predicts trouble for anyone considering a challenge to her re-election effort.

"When you take those two issues away, I think it's more difficult to find an issue that would resonate with voters," she said.

The recently engaged Democrat, who has not hid feelings that auditor might not be her ultimate political goal and has readily acknowledged that she is considering a run for governor in 2008, pledged to serve out her term if re-elected.

"I have no intention to run for any other office in 2004," she said, specifically discounting a suggestion she would take on incumbent Republican Sen. Kit Bond that year.

McCaskill, the former Jackson County prosecutor and state representative, beat Republican Chuck Pierce in 1998 to win the auditor's office. While there, she has earned a reputation as being tough on state agencies and workers spending lavishly.

She has released audits critical of transportation workers testing their heavy machinery skills in state-funded contests as well as the state Water Patrol for having more boats and vehicles than employees. Her office has done more than 400 audits since she was elected.

Besides a special election for the U.S. Senate, the auditor's office is the only statewide position up for grabs this year.

"I can hang out here (in the auditor's office) for a while," McCaskill said. "There's so much to be done. We have a long list, and I'm confident I'll feel the same way a year from now."

So far, no Republican has announced a run for the auditor's job.

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