Tom Schweich has no doubt former Gov. Mitt Romney will clinch the Republican presidential nomination. He just hopes it happens sooner rather than later so party leaders can "go against (President) Barack Obama" and not each other.
"He's certainly way ahead in delegates," said Schweich, a resident, on Friday.
In 2010, Romney came to St. Louis to support Schweich's campaign for Missouri auditor. It marked the first time the two had met. More than 500 people attended the fundraiser, which drew close to half a million dollars in donations.
Schweich won the election. The next day, Romney called to congratulate him.
Since that time, Schweich has endorsed Romney in his campaign for president. He accompanied him on a daylong trip through Missouri earlier this year. He's also spoken at events on Romney's behalf, sought additional endorsements and done interviews with media outlets such as The New York Times.
He serves on one of Romney's foreign policy teams that focuses on international organizations such as the United Nations.
"I just believe in the guy," Schweich said. He thinks Romney's leadership and expertise at turning around bloated and overextended organizations makes him a candidate suited for the presidency.
He thinks the candidate will appeal to Clayton and other Mid-County
residents, describing them as hardworking, intelligent and practical.
Romney is committed to a strong performance in Missouri's March 17 caucuses and, like Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, has people working for him on the ground, Schweich said. Ultimately, it will be a test of who can put together the best organization.
Schweich has been asked to run for federal office against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), though he said Friday that he still hasn't decided whether he'll do so.
For now, Schweich is focused on his job as auditor. Forthcoming are audits into whether the state's license and fee offices are operated in a nonpartisan way, and another into the effectiveness of Missouri economic development tax credits.
And he continues to support Romney's efforts. He describes the candidate as a humble person who thinks government should provide opportunities for people instead of taking care of them—a "perfect foil" to Obama.
"He is very concerned with the well-being of the people of this country," Schweich said.