Most of the GOP candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor were at the Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair. That’s four who have officially declared their candidacy, and one who has all but.
Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has been polling high since he entered the race. He thinks he keeps that momentum by doing what he’s done in winning three statewide campaigns.
“And that is just trying to show up all over the state as often as you can, in as many diverse and different places as you can, and in my case that includes going into the urban core to compete for minority votes who usually don’t vote Republican,” Kinder told Missourinet.
Kinder said it’s more important to him that a Republican become governor than that he become governor, but he thinks his record of winning statewide elections makes him the most likely Republican to win.
“It’s time for Republicans to go with and line up behind a proven winner,” said Kinder.
Former House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway has been in the race the longest, and thinks her time out of office sets her apart from Kinder.
“Living in the real world, raising our kids, working for a living, not being a career politician is a vastly different experience, but it’s not as though I’m without experience in government,” said Hanaway.
Springfield state senator Bob Dixon has been in the race for just more than a month, but said he declined requests that he run for more than a year. He doesn’t think that delay has cost him backers.
“Support has been quietly there over the year and I didn’t realize how much they were very supportive and their on board and really pushing very hard in support of our effort,” said Dixon.
2012 Senate candidate and businessman John Brunner told Missourinet his formal announcement will come within a month.
“People are all hung up on these stages here, but we’re full in, all the way, doing everything we can,” said Brunner, who noted that no one is officially a candidate until filing begins in the spring.
Brunner thinks voters want someone whose background isn’t political.
“Whether it’s doctor Ben Carson on the national level or Donald Trump on the national level, people are fed up, and they want people who have done things to get in there and get the job done,” said Brunner.
Former state representative and deputy director of agriculture Randy Asbury is confident he is building name recognition, “Getting out and speaking wherever we can, and we take every opportunity to do that. People are seeing that we’re legitimate, that we’re serious, and that we’re a contender.”
Three of the GOP gubernatorial hopefuls commented on the allegations that Planned Parenthood has broken laws against selling fetal tissue. Hanaway thinks Governor Jay Nixon (D) should call a special session to increase the penalty for such a crime.
“It’s only a misdemeanor in Missouri and we need to at least get it up to a felony. It’s a serious crime,” said Hanaway. “That way if somebody is caught doing it, if it proves to be true that is happening in Planned Parenthood, we can seriously penalize the people doing it.”
Asbury hopes the videos raising those allegations have an impact even on people who are pro-choice.
“I think if Planned Parenthood disappeared there are plenty of services out there through local opportunities that women can partake of without problems, so as far as I’m concerned Planned Parenthood can disappear,” said Asbury. “Because what they do is not a benefit to our state and certainly not a benefit to our children.”
On the day after the first of those videos was released Kinder called for legislative hearings into Planned Parenthood’s operations in Missouri – hearings that continue this week.
The candidates also participated in a forum at the Missouri Farm Bureau building about the federal clean water rule, better known as the Waters of the U.S.
Dixon said such regulations are threatening Missourians, particularly in the agriculture industry.
“That is a clear example of the federal government run amok. It doesn’t make any sense, and in Missouri we are common sense people,” said Dixon.
Brunner would make 5 GOP candidates, and a likely 6th would be former Navy SEAL and author Eric Greitens.
They’re vying for the chance to challenge Democrat Chris Koster for the governor’s office in 2016.