JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Secretary of State John “Jay” Ashcroft announced Thursday morning he is running for governor in 2024.

Ashcroft, 49, was elected as Secretary of State in November 2016 and again in 2020. He is an attorney and engineer for trade. In 2014, he ran for a state senate seat in St. Louis County but did not win.

The Ashcroft name is well known throughout Missouri, not only because of his successful terms as Secretary of State but also his father, who served as a U.S. Senator before becoming U.S. Attorney General in 2001. John Ashcroft also was appointed as Missouri State Auditor by Gov. Kit Bond and, in 1976, he was elected to the first of two terms as Missouri Attorney General before becoming governor in 1984.

“Growing up, I made the decision of never going into politics, and I’d never be an attorney, and evidently, I failed at both of those, but serving as Secretary of State, I really just loved the ability to be a public servant, to work every day to make Missouri better for everyone in this state,” Ashcroft said in an interview Wednesday with Missouri Chief Capitol Bureau reporter Emily Manley. “That is what government should be about.”

Ashcroft previously taught engineering and technology courses for St. Louis Community College before going to law school with working for a legal firm. He now lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Katie, and their three sons and one daughter.

“I see being governor as an opportunity to be able to get things done in the state,” Ashcroft said. “We need individuals that will lead, that are willing to stand up on the issues, that are willing to listen and understand them but are also going to get the job done.”

Gov. Mike Parson is not seeking re-election due to term limits.

Ashcroft will face off again Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, in the 2024 August primary.