Crystal Quade watches results come in at the Greene County Democrats watch party Nov. 8, 2022. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said she is “absolutely” considering a run for governor in 2024.

This came in the wake of her response to Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announcing his plan to run for governor next fall. Ashcroft declared his candidacy April 5, the day before Quade put out a statement that panned the son of former U.S. Attorney General and Missouri Gov. John Ashcroft. The elder Ashcroft was also a U.S. senator, state attorney general and state auditor in a career that ran from 1972-2005.

“From the time he was defeated for state Senate a decade ago, it’s been clear Jay Ashcroft feels holding office is his birthright based on his father’s accomplishments instead of a sacred duty to serve the citizens of Missouri,” Quade said in a statement issued April 6.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Quade’s consideration of a run for the Democratic Party nomination. Quade was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2016, and will face the House’s term limit at the end of the 2024 session of the Missouri General Assembly. Her House district is part of Republican Lincoln Hough’s 30th Senate District. Hough was re-elected last November for what would be his final term in the Senate.

Just as Quade would likely have to win a primary before a showdown with Ashcroft in November 2024, Ashcroft would need to win a GOP primary that includes Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, among other Republicans considering a bid. 

“People are done with career politicians,” Ashcroft said in a video announcing his candidacy shared through social media. “They talk a lot, but they don’t do a lot. I ran for secretary of state to get results, to fight for Missourians.”

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (center) campaign photograph. (Photo provided by Ashcroft for Missouri)

Ashcroft previously worked as a professional engineer before graduating from law school at St. Louis University. He lost a run for the Missouri Senate in 2014 against St. Louis Democrat Jill Schupp, and then won the secretary of state’s office in 2016. He touted his support for strict voter identification laws in his campaign announcement.

“Career politicians have dug the swamp so deep, they can’t see out of it anymore,” Ashcroft said. “They assign blame, but they don’t solve problems.”

Quade seemed to dismiss the Ashcroft announcement as rhetoric.

“Missourians deserve a governor who is dedicated to them, not an extremist who thinks he’s entitled to the People’s Mansion because of his last name,” Quade said of Ashcroft.

No Democrats, Quade included, have officially declared their candidacy for governor as of April 6.

The Missouri Independent reports Ashcroft’s announcement language was more for the Republican primary, and was directed toward Kehoe and State Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, who is said to be feeling out a run for Missouri’s top elected office. The Missouri Independent also reports Quade “says she’s considering the race.”

Andrew Storey, a staffer with the Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee, sent out the statement on Quade’s behalf.

“If she felt that strongly about it, I’d say she probably had good reason to do it,” Storey said.

Storey said reporters asked about Quade’s potential candidacy throughout the day on Thursday, especially after a brief press conference in Jefferson City.

“That was asked and she did say that, ‘I am considering a run for governor,’” Storey said. “She has thought about this for quite some time, she’s not rushing into anything.”

Missouri Ethics Commission records show Quade’s campaign committee is active and activated for a run for an unspecified “statewide office” in the August primary in 2024. As of Jan. 16, the last report available, the campaign committee had $75,798.86 on hand for whatever Quade decides to run for.

The Crystal PAC, a political action committee that supports Quade headquartered in Columbia, had $33,596.52 in campaign funds on hand as of April 1.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger is the managing editor for the Daily Citizen. He previously covered local governments from February 2022 to April 2023. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger