The Cape Girardeau Republican fended off a challenge from former State Auditor, Democrat Susan Montee. She called Kinder shortly before 11:00 p.m. to concede the race and congratulate Kinder. He celebrated his victory with a small gathering of supporters, about 30 in all, at a hotel in Creve Cour. He credits what he calls "grass-roots" campaigning for his victory this time around.
"I was outspent by a million-one -- that was a new experience for me, I had never been outspent, and (I) was able to withstand that," Kinder told reporters. "We just fought and clawed every day for the better part of two years to get here."
Kinder also won despite TV ads by Montee -- and by Brad Lager during the primaries -- that lambasted him for past visits to a strip club and for using state funds to stay in an upscale hotel in St. Louis for various events.
"The people seemed to have shrugged their shoulders and said, 'we'd rather talk about the state's economy,'" Kinder said. "'We'd rather support a candidate who defends the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.'"
Kinder defeated Montee 49.4 percent to 45.4 percent. Libertarian nominee Matthew Copple finished third with 2.8 percent of the vote, while Constitution Party nominee Cynthia Davis finished fourth with 2.4 percent. Write-in candidate Charles Jackson got 242 votes.
Kinder is the first Lt. Governor to be elected to a third term since 1940, when Democrat Frank Harris won a third term in office. Kinder says this will be his last term as Lt. Governor.