Labor Day weekends are a good time to look over what’s shaping up as an intensely competitive race for Missouri governor in 2016.
Yes, it’s early, but the race is fully engaged. So here we go with The Buzz’s Power Rankings for Missouri governor, 1.0:
1) Chris Koster, Democrat, two-term attorney general. Unchallenged in the Democratic primary, Koster's got a whopping $4 million in campaign funds and the second-best weapon (after money) in American politics — a killer TV presence.
2) Peter Kinder, Republican, three-term lieutenant governor. With the best name ID in the GOP field, Kinder ranks as man to beat in a crowded primary. Question: Can he raise the bucks to remain on top?
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3) Catherine Hanaway, Republican, former House speaker. She's got money, via Rex Sinquefield. She's got government experience via the trench warfare of Missouri House politics. And she's the field's lone woman, which could matter in 2016 with its possible "year of the woman" undercurrent. But...she was an early entrant in the race and failed to close the sale, especially in the wake of former state Auditor Tom Schweich's death. And her vote against concealed carry will hurt.
4) Eric Greitens, Republican, former Navy SEAL. The race's wild card. At 41 and with no political experience, Greitens seeks to punch the outsider's ticket in 2016 in what may turn out to be year of the outsider. (See Donald Trump. Ben Carson). He's shown some fund-raising prowess with more than $1 million in the bank, much of it from out-of-state. But Missouri tends to elect seasoned state government veterans to its highest office. Can Greitens buck the trend?
5) John Brunner, Republicans, St. Louis businessman. He's hired a stellar campaign team. He's got personal wealth. But Brunner's delayed entry arguably has cost him dearly. An early start might have cleared much of the field. And the cost of running would have been less. Does the race have room for two outsiders? Shaky on the stump in his 2012 U.S. Senate race, Brunner has enormous upside potential. But if he's going to run, he's got to get about it.
Other Republicans: state Sen. Bob Dixon, a Springfield Republican; state Rep. Bart Korman, a High Hill Republican; former state Rep. Randy Asbury, a Moberly Republican.