ST. LOUIS—State Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, formally launched his 2024 campaign for Missouri Treasurer Thursday, several months after a state ethics commission filing signaled his interest in seeking the office.

Serving as the House Budget Chairman, Smith has played a key role in shepherding state budgets through the legislative process. During the 2023 legislative session, Smith made budget headlines by proposing the elimination of all $4.5 million for public libraries in the state in retaliation for a lawsuit filed by library interests to overturn a state law that bans sexually explicit material in school libraries. He argued that the state shouldn’t subsidize the suit. 

The funding was ultimately restored in the Senate.

Smith also championed the state’s largest income tax cut, which lawmakers passed in a special session last fall.

First elected to the House in 2016, Smith is term-limited and will serve in his final House session starting in January.

The announcement puts Smith in a primary with Vivek Malek, the Wildwood attorney appointed by Gov. Mike Parson to serve as Treasurer after Scott Fitzpatrick won the State Auditor’s race in November. Malek will seek the office in his own right and will have Parson’s support.

Sources have said the GOP primary field could still grow larger as other state lawmakers eye the race.

Lucas Johnson, a Democrat from Union, Mo., has filed Missouri Ethics Commission paperwork indicating his candidacy.