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Kinder To Seek A Fourth Term As Lieutenant Governor

(file photo: UPI)
Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder appears ready to bolster his standing as the longest-serving person in that office, as his campaign confirms he plans to seek a fourth term in 2016.

“As of right now, he plans to run for re-election in 2016,’’ a spokesman said Tuesday.

Kinder’s intentions had been implied, but unclear, in a statement he issued late Monday in response to financier Rex Sinquefield’s $1 million donation to Bev Randles. She currently chairs the Missouri chapter of Club for Growth, and has formed an exploratory committee for a possible 2016 bid for lieutenant governor.

Randles and Kinder are both Republicans. Sinquefield's donation is the largest single donation to a single candidate in Missouri history.

Kinder took note in his statement that he had defeated a party favorite, then-state Sen. Brad Lager, in 2012 after many of the top GOP donors had defected from Kinder because of a controversy over his former friendship with a stripper.

Kinder concluded in Monday’s statement by observing, “It has been an honor to serve as Missouri's Lieutenant Governor, and I look forward to the 2016 campaign.”

Rumors of Kinder’s plans for 2016 have been circulating for months. A native of Cape Girardeau, he had surprised many by his decision  to drop an earlier quest to win the 8th District congressional seat when it became open in early 2013 following the surprise resignation of longtime U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. Kinder announced earlier this year that he wouldn't challenge fellow Republican Jason Smith, R-Salem, who had replaced Emerson in a special election.

Kinder briefly had sought the state GOP nomination for governor in 2008, but then opted to run for re-election instead.

He currently is among only two Republicans holding statewide office in Missouri, despite the huge GOP majorities in the state House and Senate. Among other things, Kinder long has been known for his amiable ties to St. Louis area business leaders and area officials in both parties.

In his full statement, Kinder said:

“I've taken on and defeated bankrolled challengers before. In 2012, I fought through two tough elections and carried 109 of 114 Missouri counties despite being heavily outspent. This year I worked with and campaigned for Republicans throughout Missouri to increase our historic majorities in the Legislature, and I am proud to have led the conservative cause in our state throughout my career. It has been an honor to serve as Missouri's Lieutenant Governor, and I look forward to the 2016 campaign.”

So far, no major Democrat has yet to announce plans to run for lieutenant governor in 2016.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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