Sources tell Prime Buzz that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, regarded for months as the Republican Party’s candidate for governor next year, will not run for that office.
Reached on the phone by Prime Buzz around 1:30 p.m., Kinder declined comment when asked if he was bailing from the race.
“I can’t talk right now,” he said.
Speculation is mounting that he’ll instead flip over and run for a third term as lieutenant governor.
Kinder had been expected to kick off his campaign on Sunday in his hometown of Cape Girardeau. But the media had not been notified of that event by Friday afternoon.
That Kinder is bailing from the race is hardly surprising given the long run of bad news his fledgling campaign endured this year.
The capper was a series of stories about his relationship with a former Penthouse Pet who now works at a St. Louis bartender. Also damaging: a Post-Dispatch story that raised questions about a long list of Kinder hotel stays that taxpayers foot the bill for in recent years.
His departure from the race leaves the GOP with little-known St. Louis businessman Dave Spence as the party’s lone gubernatorial candidate to run against Democratic incumbent Jay Nixon next year.
This week, a Republican state senator from northwest Missouri, Brad Lager, announced that he was running for lieutenant governor. That could complicate any decision by Kinder to run for re-election.
University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said on Tweeter this afternoon that Kinder’s announcement “almost guaranteed” Nixon a second term.
“We’ll see who jumps in now,” Sabato said.
Read more: http://midwestdemocracyproject.org/blogs/entries/multiple-gop-sources-kinder-out-race-mo-governor/#ixzz1e5ZkMA2M