By Eli Yokley and Scott Faughn
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State Treasurer Clint Zweifel is expected to announce Monday that he will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2016 — effectively clearing the field of a major road block for Attorney General Chris Koster’s likely candidacy.
Zweifel, a former Teamster, apparently announced his intention during a meeting with Attorney General Chris Koster. After the meeting he informed U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill while she was in mid-Missouri earlier this week, according to four Democratic sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
Zweifel’s announcement would allow unions to solidify even further around Koster, if they chose to. Just this past quarter, for example, the United Auto Workers in Hazelwood contributed $25,000 to Koster’s campaign committee — part of a $95,000 large donor haul in the first full quarter since his reelection.
Koster, who switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party ahead of his 2008 campaign for attorney general, would be a similar candidate to the office’s current occupant, Gov. Jay Nixon, who won reelection on the premise that he was a Missouri moderate willing to work together with the Republican controlled General Assembly.
Zweifel will be term limited in 2016, and his name has been mulled as a potential nominee for U.S. Senate against Sen. Roy Blunt. The meeting could be the first in an effort by McCaskill and others to solidify a ticket early to continue the party’s hold on the top of state government, particularly in a year like 2016, where the powerful Blunt political machine will emerge from its current hibernation.
UPDATED: A source close to the treasurer told the Missouri Times “The Treasurer informed the Attorney General of his intentions last week. There were no deals or party pressure. The decision was a personal one, with the ages of his daughters being a significant factor. The Treasurer isn’t ruling out any other options.”