Lt. Governor Peter Kinder appears to be the leading Republican candidate for governor, but he hasn’t announced, yet.
United States Senator Roy Blunt, who kept Senator Bond’s seat in Republican hands, introduced Kinder to the Lincoln Days crowd in Springfield.
“I’m proud to introduce him tonight as he stand before you and stands with me as our lieutenant governor and, I believe, the guy who can be the next governor of Missouri, Peter Kinder,” Blunt stated.
We asked Kinder if that was an indication of how he is leaning.
“It was an indication of how he’s leaning,” Kinder responded. “And I will make a statement on the day I decide to officially announce of what I’m going to do.”
Kinder hosted the reception that opened Lincoln Days in Springfield. He shook many hands, greeted many Republicans, tirelessly working the halls and banquet rooms. He told the Missourinet in an interview that the political support among his fellow Republicans seems to be there. Indeed, it wasn’t just Blunt who speculated during the weekend that Kinder could be the next governor.
Kinder said the real test is whether he can secure the financial commitment to pay for a gubernatorial campaign. He noted that he had raised $6 million in two runs for Lt. Governor, adding that he would have to “step up his game” if he wanted to run for Governor, especially since a run in 2012 would be a run against incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon.
“That’s a daunting challenge, because an incumbent governor in our state can raise any amount of money,” Kinder told us.
Talk of Kinder for governor increased after he grave a half-hour speech at the Friday evening banquet. Kinder lashed into Nixon in the speech, criticizing him as a spectator, rather than a fighter for Missouri. Kinder did all but announce his candidacy. Still, he stopped short of any formal announcement. He said he will make an announcement in 90 days.
Missouri Republican Party Chairman David Cole shied from answering the question of whether he would like to see Kinder run.
“That’s up to Governor Kinder,” Cole stated, using the proper reference for the office. “I think that should he choose to take that jump I think he would be a great candidate and I think he’d be a great governor.”