Debate continues on selecting next Missouri Lt. Governor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Because of the recent political shake-up in Missouri, there is a vacancy in the Lieutenant Governor's office.

UMKC Associate Professor of Political Science Greg Vonnahme said the Missouri constitution is not clear about how to name a replacement for Lt. Governor.

Vonnahme said the Missouri constitution states that the Governor has the authority to make appointments for all state offices except when prohibited by state law. The problem is there is a state law that forbids appointing Lt. Governor.

"Missouri state law has a provision about governors appointing other state offices but not the Lt. Governor. It seems to suggest that the governor cannot appoint a Lt. Governor in the event that that office is vacant but then never specifies how that office is filled," said Vonnahme.

He explained Missouri lawmakers could go into special session and pass laws to let voters choose the next Lt. Governor in the next general election. That election would be this November so time is running out to get the position on the ballot and give candidates time to file and campaign.

"The third option would be to allow for, this is what a lot of other states do, is to allow for the governor to call for a special election, at any time to fill that office," Vonnahme said.

A special election could be set for next year, giving more time for candidates to campaign and voters to decide.

Vonnahme also said the Lt. Governor position could also remain vacant until the next general election in three years.

If, for some reason, Gov. Mike Parson could not continue as governor, and the Lt. Governor position is vacant, the Missouri constitution does have a clear line of succession. The President Pro Tem of the Missouri Senate is next in line to become governor, followed by Speaker of the House, and Secretary of State.

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