Kinder expected to endorse Hulshof for governor

Saturday, July 12, 2008 | 8:23 p.m. CDT; updated 4:29 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is endorsing Congressman Kenny Hulshof in Missouri’s Republican gubernatorial primary, The Associated Press has learned.

Kinder’s campaign released an advisory Saturday saying he will appear with Hulshof in Cape Girardeau on Monday “to make a joint campaign announcement.” A source close to Kinder’s campaign confirmed that the lieutenant governor plans to endorse Hulshof at the event.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly in advance of the announcement.

Hulshof is running against state Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the Aug. 5 primary election, with the winner expected to face Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon in November’s general election.

Even before the official endorsement, Kinder had more closely aligned himself with Hulshof than with Steelman.

Kinder was the first to enter the governor’s race after Republican Gov. Matt Blunt unexpectedly announced in January that he would not seek re-election this year. When Kinder dropped out of the gubernatorial race barely two weeks later, he gave Hulshof advance notice of his decision. But Steelman was taken by surprise, learning of Kinder’s reversal only when he announced it to hundreds of people gathered at the Republicans’ annual Lincoln Days conference in Springfield.

Hulshof said at the time that he and Kinder would “make a great team.”

Hulshof already has the support of many in the Republican establishment, including U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, the state’s other Republican Congress members and various business and agricultural interests. He received the endorsement of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry in June and is expected to receive the endorsement Tuesday of the Associated Industries of Missouri.

Steelman has discounted the importance of endorsements from elected officials and party insiders, saying she instead would prefer the support of average voters. She has run her campaign with a “Power to the People” theme.

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