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Missouri auditor stands firm on his abortion ballot cost fight with the attorney general

Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick is photographed on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, outside the St. Louis Public Radio newsroom in Midtown St. Louis.
Tristen Rouse
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick is photographed on Monday outside St. Louis Public Radio.

State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick returns to Politically Speaking to talk about his first year in office, which included a high-profile fight with state Attorney General Andrew Bailey over the potential costs of passing an abortion rights ballot initiative.

Fitzpatrick became state auditor earlier in January after winning election over Democrat Alan Green. He previously served as state treasurer and also was House Budget Committee chairman.

Here’s what Fitzpatrick said on the program:

  • Fitzpatrick went into detail about his dispute with Bailey over cost estimates of proposed ballot items to legalize abortion. Fitzpatrick pushed back against his fellow GOP official’s contentions that the measures could cost the state billions.
  • Fitzpatrick discussed his transition into office, including how he’s sought to get more money to hire additional auditors. He previously said staffing concerns made it difficult for him to launch discretionary audits, such as one for the Children’s Division.
  • He also talked about his decision to launch an audit of the state marijuana program, something he said he would do when he was running for the post last year.
  • While Fitzpatrick is not on the ballot in 2024, he talked about whether a series of crowded primaries for statewide offices will hamper GOP chances next year.

Fitzpatrick served three full terms in the Missouri House. Gov. Mike Parson appointed the Barry County Republican to be treasurer in early 2019 after Eric Schmitt was picked to be attorney general. He won a full four-year term in 2020 against Democrat Vicki Englund.
After state Auditor Nicole Galloway decided against running for reelection in 2022, Fitzpatrick won a primary against then-state Rep. David Gregory — and then easily defeated Green in the general election. Fitzpatrick’s victory meant that Republicans controlled every statewide office.

Fitzpatrick is a native of Shell Knob, a community about 40 miles from Branson. He started a dock repair business while he was in high school, a company that grew dramatically while he was in college.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.