(Click on the link to hear Marshall Griffin's exclusive interview with Tilley)
The only major Republican contender in the Missouri Lt. Governor’s race has dropped out.
Steven Tilley of Perryville made the surprise announcement today (Thursday) to fellow House Republicans and to the media. He says he made the decision after realizing that he wants to be a normal person again.
“It wasn’t in my heart to do it, I just didn’t have the fire in the belly," Tilley said. "I started out because I wanted to do it, but I’ve sacrificed a lot to myself financially and to my family, and I’m comfortable…it’s a load off my shoulders and I’m excited to move into a new chapter.”
Tilley added that he wants to spend more time with his daughters, and that his recently-announced divorce from his wife in part influenced his decision.
Tilley personally addressed the House GOP Caucus at the State Capitol today. Darryl Pollock (R, Lebanon) says Tilley’s announcement was both unexpected and sad to hear.
“Steve shared that he missed out (on) a lot of things with his family in serving, (and) you know, I think we all feel that same thing," Pollock said. "When you’re away from your homes for the amount of time that we are, we’re anything but a part-time legislature.”
Tilley will remain House Speaker and serve out his term in office, which ends next year. He also says he'll remain active in politics and will likely make an endorsement in the Lt. Governor’s race, once other candidates jump into it.
Tilley had raised more than $1.5 million and had no announced opposition within his political party. Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has said he will not run for re-election and is instead expected to seek the Republican nomination for governor.