No doubt in Lieutenant Governor Kinder’s mind. "I’m in," he says.
–As in, in the race for Governor. He’s the first person to definitely say he is running for the job Matt Blunt will give up.
He says he slept only about 90 minutes Tuesday night because he was so wound up after a furious series of phone calls and meetings in the hours after Governor Blunt’s 4 p.m. announcement he was withdrawing from a re-election bid.
Kinder says he tells those he calls that he’s the best-qualified and most-deserving Republican making a bid. He points to his work establishing and building GOP majorities in the legislature, his victory in a statewide race in 2004, and his work with the Blunt team to bring about change in Missouri.
Senator Bond, Missouri’s top elected Democrat, convened a conference call of those who are considering making the race yesterday. But nobody decided to get out before they got in. Kinder hopes he will not face a primary election opponent. But he says that decision is out of his hands.
Several other Republicans either have openly said they’re testing the waters or are considered likely candidates: Senate majority leader Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, House Speaker Rod Jetton, Former Speaker and now eastern Missouri federal prosecutor Catherine Hanaway, and members of Missouri’s congressional delegation–Jo Ann Emerson, Kenny Hulshoff, and Sam Graves.