Updated at 5:35 p.m. via the Associated Press, and at 5:42 with a quote from Brad Lager:
In a ripple effect from Kinder's announcement, St. Louis developer Chris McKee, who just announced his candidacy on Monday, has now announced that he is pulling out of the race for Lt. Gov. and instead will throw his support behind Kinder.
Republican state Sen. Brad Lager, of Savannah, also declared his candidacy for lieutenant governor Monday. Lager said Friday that he is still in the race but will re-evaluate that decision after he gets a chance to talk with Kinder.
A political observer says Republicans in Missouri may have already blown their chances to win state-level statewide offices next year.
The Secretary of State’s race is the only one with any major GOP contenders (State Senators Scott Rupp and Bill Stouffer, and House Speaker Pro-tem Shane Schoeller), following Steven Tilley’s departure from the Lt. Governor’s race. Current Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) still hasn’t announced whether he’s running for governor.
(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.”
Election Day 2012 is just under a year away, and there’s still no major Republican challenger to Democrat Jay Nixon in next year’s Missouri Governor’s race.
GOP Lt. Governor Peter Kinder still has not announced his intentions, despite raising over a million dollars for a potential gubernatorial run. Dave Robertson is a political science professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He says allegations about Kinder’s past visits to a strip club may have harmed his ability to financially keep pace with Nixon.