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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Democrat Says Missouri Auditor Asked Him Not to Run; Wanted to Make History Unopposed

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 8:45 AM

click to enlarge Bill Haas claims Schweich called him to ask a favor.
  • Bill Haas claims Schweich called him to ask a favor.

Bill Haas says he realizes this will cost him his friendship with Missouri auditor Tom Schweich. But he says he can't let it go, especially after a recent Politico article about the weakened status of the Missouri Democratic Party. In that article Schweich is quoted as saying he is "pleased that for the first time in over a century the Democrats have failed to field a Democrat for a statewide seat in Missouri."

But according to Haas, one of the reasons Schweich is running unopposed for auditor is because he called Haas and asked that he not run for the position.

Haas is no stranger to politics. He has run unsuccessfully for scores of local, state and federal positions (St. Louis mayor, Congress, and lieutenant governor -- to name just a few). Still he does hold an elected office -- of sorts. He's a member of St. Louis' elected school board, which lost all its power years ago when the state discredited the district.

This year Haas (a former corporate attorney, Walmart manager and -- full disclosure -- RFT love-advice columnist) is once again running for office. In February he filed as a Democratic candidate for the 77th District of the Missouri House, representing parts of St. Louis. Haas says he was in Jefferson City in February filing for that race when he ran into Schweich in the parking lot of the secretary of state's office.

See also: Audit of St. Louis Public Schools Finds Financial Woes, Inadequate Anti-Cheating Measures

click to enlarge Tom Schweich is believed to be the first Republican in a century to run unopposed for statewide office. - AUDITOR.MO.GOV
  • Tom Schweich is believed to be the first Republican in a century to run unopposed for statewide office.

"He rolled down the window and asked me what I was filing for," recalls Haas, who grew to know Schweich when his office audited the St. Louis schools. "I told him state rep."

It could have ended there, but Haas says he e-mailed Schweich a few days later to say that he had actually thought about running for state auditor but decided against it because he couldn't think of anything he'd do in office that Schweich hadn't already accomplished. Haas says that his e-mail prompted a phone call from Schweich in which the auditor explicitly asked Haas not to run.

"He told me he wanted to make history by running unopposed," says Haas, who by then had already made up his mind not to enter the race for auditor. Besides, says Haas: "I already had my car shrink-wrapped for my state rep campaign."

But the more he thought about it -- and after that Politico article last month -- Haas decided he couldn't keep quiet about Schweich's request.

Continue on for the strange e-mail exchange between Haas and Schweich.

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