Jay Ashcroft is the current Missouri secretary of state. Ashcroft is a member of the Republican party. His family name is a very well-known one in Missouri politics. And perhaps even the United States at large.

As secretary of state, several duties fall under Ashcroft's purview. Almost certainly the most prominent being overseeing elections in Missouri. And, after much speculation, Ashcroft officially has his focus on the state's highest elected office.

Launches gubernatorial campaign

The Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that Jay Ashcroft is running for governor of Missouri.

The next gubernatorial race in Missouri is slated for 2024. Current Republican Governor Mike Parson is term-limited and ineligible to run in the upcoming. Ashcroft becomes the second candidate to enter the race for the Republican nomination. They are following current Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe. At least one other, State Senator Bill Eigel, is expected to announce his candidacy in the Republican primary.

Thus far, no members of the Democratic Party have formally entered the gubernatorial race. But a minimum of two are thought to be in serious consideration. State House Minority Leader Crystal Quade and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

Early polling has indicated that Ashcroft is a significant favorite to win the nomination.

But his state goals of pushing the party further to the right have drawn concern from numerous onlookers. He has also been connected to several unfounded conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

Ashcroft first ran for public office in 2014. He lost to Democratic State Representative Jill Schupp for a seat in the Missouri Senate.

Two years later, he was elected as the secretary of state by a wide margin. In 2018, he was re-elected in a landslide.

Ashcroft is a native of Jefferson City, Missouri. He would attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Eventually, he graduated from what is now the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

After working as an engineer, he received a degree from the Saint Louis University School of Law. He then began practicing law in St. Louis County.

He would be following in his father's footsteps

Jay Ashcroft's father, John, had a lengthy and high-profile career in politics. It included two terms as governor of Missouri, which he was elected to in 1984 and 1988. It had been the elder Ashcroft's third statewide office. He was following the auditor and attorney general.

John Ashcroft was born in Chicago, Illinois, a grandson of Norwegian and Irish immigrants. His family later moved to Willard, Missouri, near Springfield. After becoming governor, he was elected to the United States Senate in 1994.

Ashcroft was defeated in his 2000 re-election bid. But shortly afterward, U.S. President-elect George W. Bush tapped him as the next attorney general of the United States. He served in the role until 2005.