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Five Republicans in Heated Primary for State Auditor

It's one of the hottest races on the primary ballot: The Republican primary for state auditor. There are two democrats on the ballot: Susan Montee and Darrell Wattenbarger. The libertarian, Charles Baum has no opponent in the primary. KSMU's Missy Shelton recently caught up with the Republican candidates, some by phone, some at campaign events in Springfield. She asked them about their qualifications and their plans for the auditor's office. She files this report.

The order the candidates' names appear on the primary ballot is decided by a random drawing.

The first name on the Republican primary ballot for state auditor is Jack Jackson.

He had two tours of duty in Vietnam and was on active duty during Operation Desert Shield.

Jackson has served in the Missouri House since 2002 and has worked as the chief test pilot for Boeing.

He says all those experiences have prepared him to be auditor.

As for his plans if he's elected...Jackson says he wants to identify savings before a program gets out of control financially.

The next name on the Republican ballot is Mark Wright.

Wright is a state representative from Springfield and has served in the House since 1998, holding a committee chairmanship and a leadership post.

In addition to being a lawmaker, Wright works for Christian Health Care Corporation in Springfield.

Wright has also done political fundraising for House Majority Whip Roy Blunt.

Wright says his experience in the public and private sector would be beneficial if he's elected state auditor.

Wright says if elected, he'll make the operations of the state auditor's office more open.

The next name that appears on the Republican primary ballot for state auditor is Al Hanson.

You might remember his name from the 2002 ballot when he challenged current state auditor Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Many Republicans did not embrace his candidacy after learning he had served time in prison for fraud.

Hanson says he's qualified to be state auditor.

Hanson runs a prison ministry.

He says he teaches others what he learned from his mistakes.

The next name on the ballot is Sandra Thomas.

She is the only Certified Public Accountant in the race.

She has the endorsement of former republican state auditor Margaret Kelly who is also a CPA.

Thomas says the auditor needs to be a CPA.

Thomas says voters should consider electing her because she's an accounting professional, not just a politician.

The final name on the republican ballot is John Loudon.

Loudon has a legislative career that spans 12 years...He has served in both the state House and Senate. He has held committee chairmanships in the legislature.

Loudon disputes the notion that the auditor must be a CPA. He says he has the kind of experience the auditor's office needs.

Loudon says if he's elected, he has plans to change the way the state auditor does performance audits.

These audits have been the source of political tension between the current democratic state auditor and the republican administration.

Loudon says there's a way to de-politicize these kinds of audits.

You've heard from each of the republicans who are on the August 8th ballot. We'll also be bringing you interviews with the democratic candidates.