Missouri’s lieutenant governor thinks about seeking a promotion

CLAYTON, Mo. – Peter Kinder, Missouri’s Republican lieutenant governor, said Tuesday that he might want a promotion.

Speaking on conservative talk radio in St. Louis, Kinder said his supporters are “coming up to me and encouraging me to enter the race for governor.”

“I am saying here today that I’m prayerfully and very humbley considering their appeal,” he said.

If he enters the race, Kinder could find himself in a crowded Republican field.

Already, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, has announced her candidacy. And after the suicide in February of state Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican who had joined the race, too, three others – St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former U.S. Navy Seal Eric Greitens, state Sen. Mike Parson – have said they are exploring their own candidacies.

Kinder, who was elected to a third term in 2012 after serving as a Republican leader in the state Senate a decade before, said he was frustrated by Republicans who “talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.” He noted his support for gun rights in the 2000s, pointing to his push for concealed carry which Hanaway initially opposed, and right-to-work now, which Senate Republican leaders have shown wariness to pass.

“I’m frustrated right now with Republican leaders in the Senate who are not moving ‘right-to-work.’ It is time that Missouri became a freedom to work state,” he said.

Kinder’s first public flirtation with the job came on the same day that Bev Randles, the chairwoman of the Missouri Club for Growth who wants to challenge him for his job, announced she had stepped down to focus on her campaign.

“It has been an honor to serve as chairman of the Missouri Club for Growth, and I am proud of all that we have been able to accomplish during my time with the organization,” Randles said in a statement. “Now it is time for me to focus on my plans for 2016 and beyond.”

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