UPDATED 5:51 p.m. Dec. 16, 2010:
Looks like Governor Nixon is comfortable in the top spot in Jefferson City - he's confirmed that he'll seek re-election in 2012.
Though Nixon confirmed his intentions with a "Yea" to the Associated Press today, his campaign says he's already raised about $1 million since the Nov. 2 elections, and Nixon said he's "committed" to running, he could still follow the precedent of former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.
Blunt also had been raising money for a potential re-election bid in 2008 before shocking supporters by announcing that he would not run again.
The key difference between Nixon and Blunt's statements?
Blunt had been careful not to ever definitively say he would run again.
Marvin Overby is a political science professor at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He says it’s too soon to predict if Nixon will win again, but adds that he’s positioned well for a second run:
“He’s very well known to the voters,” Overby said. “He’s been sort of a set piece on…the Missouri political stage for a couple of decades now…I think a lot’s going to depend upon sort of what happens nationally to the Democratic Party.”
Nixon defeated Republican challenger Kenny Hulshof in the 2008 governor’s race. Prior to that, he served 16 years as Missouri Attorney General.
“(Nixon) was elected with a good margin in 2008, (and) he’s dealing with a split partisan control of government, which I think has kept expectations down a bit,” Overby said. “If you’re a politician, that generally works to your advantage.”
Overby highly doubts that any major Democrat would challenge Nixon in 2012, barring any further collapse in the economy or some unforeseen scandal.
And what about someone else vying for the spot?
Nixon has no official challengers yet, but Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is expected to enter the race and announce his intentions by early January.