Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder plans to meet with residents across Missouri before deciding whether to challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in next year's elections.
Although he has not officially declared his candidacy, Kinder has been preparing for months to run for governor.
But his potential campaign was dealt a setback earlier this month when Kinder acknowledged that he had repeatedly visited a strip club 17 years ago.
At least one Republican lawmaker and a major financial donor have called on Kinder to forgo a gubernatorial bid.
In an email Monday to supporters (the full text of which is below), Kinder recounted his accomplishments and said he will meet with conservatives, grassroots activists and voters before making a final decision. He says he will not run if he believes he cannot win.
Kinder's letter to supporters, via Politico, which first ran the story regarding the letter:
I am communicating directly with you so you don’t have to sort through all the spin by the press and bloggers whose agenda have replaced the truth and facts.
While my opponents’ operatives have taken advantage of a situation you may have heard of, I accept complete responsibility and apologize to you for my actions of almost 17 years ago as a single man.
With that being said, I strongly oppose the notion that Republicans should allow Democrat dirty tricks or media bias to disqualify or choose the Republican nominee for governor.
Who should be the Republican nominee for governor in 2012?
I believe that question should be answered by Republican voters and activists, not the media, and certainly not the self-described kingmakers, nor the special interests and insiders.
There are 15 months until the election. I have not announced for governor. I have not filed nor have I been nominated to be the Republican candidate; yet, some insiders and media pundits are calling for me to bow out of a race I have not even entered.
In my entire career, nothing has been given to me. I have never had an easy race. I first ran for state Senate in 1992. My opponent was a former first lady of our state who had been her party’s gubernatorial nominee four years earlier. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, I came from behind to win, making me the first Republican ever to represent any Bootheel counties in the Missouri Senate.
I have had to fight and work hard to win every battle. After almost 20 years of service, I am not going to quit now without letting the rank and file of our party be part of the process. Part of that process is letting you and others know the REAL RECORD and the REAL REASON the Democrats supporting Jay Nixon have orchestrated these early personal attacks.
In the Missouri Senate, I sponsored, passed and worked to override the governor’s veto of Missouri’s first ban on partial-birth abortion.
I sponsored legislation defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
In 2001, I led Republicans to their first Senate majority in over 50 years. Upon my election to Senate president pro tem, I immediately bucked senior members of the party by instituting reforms, eliminating corruption and cutting the budget by almost 20 percent.
As president pro tem, I sponsored and won approval for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a measure that restores the highest constitutional protections for the fundamental right to worship. Under my leadership, we passed Missouri’s conceal and carry law, which gave law-abiding citizens the right to carry a firearm.
I took on Jay Nixon when he was attorney general, uncovering insider contracts where he paid trial attorneys over $20,000 an hour for work on the state’s tobacco settlement, which robbed taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars.
I worked to pass legislation establishing a sales-tax holiday in Missouri, giving families relief from sales tax for a three-day period to assist them with buying clothes and supplies for school. My innovative tax relief is helping Missouri’s economy by increasing retail sales at the same time it helps Missouri families.
For over almost two decades I have fought and successfully sponsored the creation of charter schools that give urban children and parents a choice for the first time, and more importantly, a chance of succeeding.
In 2004, I faced the popular former secretary of state and came from behind. I was the first Republican to be elected lt. governor in nearly 30 years. In 2008, when Republicans across the country lost in the Democrat landslide election, I was the only Republican to win statewide.
As acting governor in 2005, I signed into law the Missouri Military Family Relief Fund. The fund makes grants available to families of persons who are members of the Missouri National Guard or Missouri residents who are members of the reserves and have been called into active duty as a result of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Since being elected your lt. governor, I have returned money to taxpayers every year. Last year alone, I returned almost 10 percent of my budget to the state treasury.
Last August, Missourians rejected the Obama-Pelosi-Reid health care bill by passing Proposition C by over 70 percent. Despite this result, Gov. Nixon refused to act on behalf of Missouri taxpayers. In fact, Nixon continues to spend your tax dollars to prepare for the implementation of the federal mandates required by Obamacare. I acted by raising private money and have financed a constitutional challenge against the federal mandate requiring individuals to carry health insurance. Twenty-one states and executive and legislative officials in four other states have signed on to support my constitutional challenge which is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
I have always been a team player. Four years ago, I chose not to run for governor to preserve party unity and committed myself to helping other Republicans. Last year alone, I raised and donated over $300,000 for Republican candidates, raised money for the Republican Party and attended over 50 fundraisers for legislative candidates.
Today we are at a crossroads. Missouri’s economy is languishing in ruin, and the current governor has done nothing. Missouri had the third-worst job loss rate in the country last year and ranks 49 out of 50 states in monthly employment growth since January 2009. No state has suffered a longer drought in employment growth than Missouri. From January 2009 to March 2010, Missouri saw 14 consecutive months of decline in employment. Nearly 83,000 jobs have disappeared since Jay Nixon became governor.
What can a governor do to help create jobs? In Missouri, we have looked to other states with innovative governors to find an answer. Our current governor continues to embarrass our state by showing governors across the country what not to do. A defining example of Jay Nixon’s dereliction of duty occurred in 2009. While governors from other states were meeting with Harley Davidson to try and lure jobs to their states, Gov. Nixon cancelled his appointment with the company, choosing to spend the day at the state fair. This inexcusable behavior contributed to a major loss of what could have been nearly 1,300 good-paying jobs. Another example is Jay Nixon’s refusal to return calls from the official in his administration tasked with helping create Missouri jobs. For this reason, Gov. Nixon’s director of economic development resigned in frustration, stating she had been “unable to meet” the governor “to discuss and reconcile our different views on how to move the state … forward.” You deserve better.
I believe in our state, and I believe the people of this state have an untapped greatness. I am committed to waging a winning campaign as I have done five times before.
But before I make my decision, I will begin a statewide tour and visit every corner of the state and meet with conservatives, grass-roots activists and all Missouri voters, while listening to you and your concerns. I will share the details of my plans of how we can restore Missouri’s greatness by creating new higher-paying jobs, cutting waste and fraud of taxpayers’ dollars, improving schools and rebuilding our communities.
Before I make my final decision, I want the chance to earn your trust so together we make the difference you deserve. Together we can chart a course to win in November 2012. Without your support, I cannot succeed, and I will not run if I cannot win. The decision should reside in your hands, not a few power brokers or the media. If I were not a real threat to their politics as usual and out-of-control spending, they would not be attacking me so viciously and falsely.
I cannot express enough my appreciation for your friendship and support. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail soon!
Peter D. Kinder
P.S. I thought you might be interested in this link to a video segment regarding my record of service: http://www.kfvs12.com/story/15344763/viewpoint-peter-kinder.