By MISSOURIAN STAFF
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was one of the first to jump into the gap left by Gov. Matt Blunt’s decision to not seek re-election this year.
Citing experience in the Senate and as lieutenant governor, Kinder said he was confident he could be the governor Missourians want.
“I am the right person to deliver the positive change Missourians deserve,” Kinder said in a statement after Blunt’s announcement Tuesday.
His involvement in state politics began in 1992 when he was elected state senator for the 27th District. He served three terms representing Cape Girardeau and surrounding counties.
In 2001, with a Republican majority, Kinder became President Pro Tem. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2004, winning in 91 of Missouri’s 114 counties.
Senators who have worked with Kinder called him a good leader.
“(Kinder) has a lot of conviction. When he’s determined to accomplish something he shows great resolution and creativity to get it done,” said state Sen. John Loudon, R-St.Louis County.
“Kinder has always been interested in economic development, and he has always had a statewide perspective,” said state Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Dade, Jasper and Newton counties.
— Rachel Heaton
U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof has not confirmed that he will make a bid for governor, but a spokesman in his Washington office said he may make a decision soon.
Hulshof has served as Missouri’s representative for the 9th District in Congress since 1996.
He considered running for governor against Matt Blunt in 2004 but then withdrew from the race before the election because of a death in the family.
He also pursued a position as president of the University of Missouri System last year but was unsuccessful.
Hulshof serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Subcommittee on Health, the Subcommittee on Trade, and he has a seat on the House Committee on the Budget.
Before 1996, he was a special prosecutor with the State Attorney General’s office. He was raised in Bertrand where he owns a family farm.
— Jenn Herseim
Rod Jetton, state Speaker of the House, is considered a possible candidate. He released a statement this week indicating interest.
Jetton of Marble Hill won his seat in Missouri’s House of Representatives in 2000. In his second term, he was elected by his party as Speaker Pro Tem, then House Speaker in 2005.
After serving four years in the Marine Corps in the 1990s, he founded his own real estate company. This entrepreneurial experience, he said, led him to advocate “cutting taxes and reducing needless regulations.”
— Sean Madden
U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson also may be considering a run for governor. As the first woman from Missouri in Congress, she represents the 8th District.
In her sixth term in the House, Emerson serves on several congressional sub-committees, including as vice-chair of the Central Aisle Caucus, a bipartisan group, and vice president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. She said she is giving serious consideration to the opportunity and will make a decision next week.
— Anne Hauser
State Treasurer Sarah Steelman announced early Tuesday that she would seek re-election to her post this November. Yet after Blunt’s announcement that he would not seek a second term, Steelman joined the short list of Missouri Republicans being talked about in the race for governor.
She has served as state treasurer since 2005 and is also chairman of the Missouri Higher Education Savings Board. Her previous political experience includes a term as a state senator from 1998 to 2002.
— Anne Hauser
If former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent from Missouri throws his hat into the ring, it would not be his first bid for governor.
In 2000, he lost the race to Democrat Bob Holden by just over 20,000 votes. In the 2006 race for U.S. Senate, he was defeated in another close contest against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.
According to Talent’s 2006 election Web site, he served as the co-chair of the Senate Anti-Meth Caucus to change “Washington to help Missouri law enforcement protect our neighborhoods from the meth epidemic,” supported funding increases for veterans’ health care and worked to pass legislation increasing ethanol and biodiesel to the nation’s fuel supply by 2012.
— Sean Madden
Rumors of a run for governor also surround Catherine Hanaway, the U.S. Attorney from Missouri’s eastern district since 2006. Hanaway has served in the Missouri House of Representatives and in 2003, she became the first woman Speaker of the House in Missouri.
“I am considering running but haven’t made any decision,” Hanaway said Wednesday.
— Anne Hauser
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves has all but ruled out a bid for governor. Graves said he plans to continue his campaign for re-election to Congress this year despite suggestions that he might throw his name in the race.
“Sam wants to make Washington work for Missouri,” said Jason Klindt, communications director for Graves’ office. “He’s flattered by the suggestion, but he is working to get our economy back on track, secure the border and wean ourselves off of foreign sources of oil.”
Graves has represented Missouri’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001.
— Brooke Tacker