Kinder forms Congress exploratory committee

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder moved toward a possible Congressional campaign, stating special interests have co-opted most federal lawmakers while government has grown.

The Southeast Missourian reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/16UjtlK ) that Kinder formed an exploratory committee. Kinder said he is re-acquainting himself to federal election law, and that the committee’s purpose is to forecast support for potential candidacy. He discussed a potential campaign Monday with supporters such as former state Rep. Mary Kasten and author David Limbaugh.

“Our country is in deep trouble,” said Kinder, who is serving his third term as lieutenant governor. “We’re going to have to send our most proven candidates to fight in Washington.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Smith currently represents southeastern Missouri’s 8th District after replacing Jo Ann Emerson, who resigned from Congress to become the president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Earlier this year, Smith bested Kinder and others when an 84-person committee of local Republican leaders selected the Republican nominee for a June special election. The congressional office next appears on the 2014 ballot.

Smith said he cannot imagine Kinder challenging any Republican incumbent. He said if Kinder were to leave the lieutenant governor’s office, it could allow Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a fellow Democrat as lieutenant governor.

“Peter has been in politics for over 20 years, he knows better than to give up his office to a Democrat,” Smith said. “Also, I have always considered Peter a friend and I supported him in his primary last year and he has supported me in past elections. Friends just don’t run against friends.”

The Republicans currently hold six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. Democrats represent a district that includes St. Louis and one that covers part of the Kansas City-area and several rural counties farther east.

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Information from: Southeast Missourian, http://www.semissourian.com

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