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Columbia Missourian

VOTERS GUIDE 2012: Candidates for Missouri Governor

By Jordan Shapiro, Matthew Patane
September 17, 2012 | 9:00 a.m. CDT

Editor's note: This story originally publishedin advance of the August primary. It has been updated to include information about the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. This article is part of the Missourian's 2012 general election voters guide.

WHAT'S THE JOB? The governor is the state’s chief executive officer. The governor’s powers and duties include:


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The governor must be at least 30, must have been a U.S. citizen for 15 years and must have been a Missouri resident for 10 years. The governor's salary is $133,821. Governors are limited to two four-year terms.

Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon (D)

A native of De Soto, Nixon was elected as governor in 2008. Before that, he served as Missouri's attorney general for 16 years.

Nixon's campaign website points to his accomplishment as governor, including  balancing the state's $24 billion budget without raising taxes. Under Nixon's administration, the state workforce has shed more than 4,000 employees.

He has also strayed from his party on the Affordable Care Act, opposing the law's requirement that every American have some type of health insurance. Nixon, however, has not offered his stance on whether Missouri should expand its Medicaid program under the provisions of the federal health care law. 

According to his campaign website, Nixon's top priority is jobs and economic development. If re-elected, he plans to push for lower taxes on small businesses and boost the state's exporting capabilities. 

Dave Spence (R)

Dave Spence, of St. Louis, said Missouri needs someone who "recognizes government can’t solve, and shouldn’t be expected to solve, every problem."

Spence, who has never held public office, recently stepped down as CEO of Alpha Packaging to run for governor. He ran the plastics manufacturing company for 27 years and is using his experience in the private sector to run against "career politicians" and “government bureaucrats.”

Spence said his top priority would be to create a business environment with limited regulations in order to create jobs. He also advocates litigation reform and says that providing tax certainty would benefit job creators and the business climate.

Jim Higgins (Libertarian)

Higgins, of St. Louis, said is running for governor to bring a different perspective to state government.

"I'm tired of hearing these politicians promise to create jobs," he said. "They think the government is the solution and it's not."

Higgins said that if he becomes governor he would cut back on government subsidies and allow school administrators to have greater flexibility when deciding curriculum. He also supports holding yearly reviews of business regulations and opposes the use of eminent domain.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.