The director of Missouri's Department of Economic Development is stepping down at the end of the year.
In a news release Tuesday from Gov. Jay Nixon, department director David Kerr cited a desire to spend more time with his family after working for 35 years in the public and private sectors. Nixon said he would move quickly to select a new director.
St. Louis businessman Dave Spence says he is entering the Republican race for Missouri governor.
Spence declared his candidacy Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. He becomes the first prominent Republican to officially launch a challenge to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in the 2012 elections.
Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder also is expected to announce his candidacy for governor soon. That would set up a Republican primary next August.