All of the long-time Republicans candidates for governor met for the first debate of the 2016 campaign this week in Jefferson City. The intensity was high as Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, former Speaker Catherine Hanaway, and businessman John Brunner all presented their cases to an overflow crowd of interested Republicans. Not-for-profit organizer Eric Greitens didn’t attend. although he did make time to be in Missouri the next day to file as a Republican.
Kinder laid out his case as the proven winner in the field and the one candidate who could take votes from normally reliably Democratic constituencies in the fall against Koster.
Brunner brought the most boisterous supporters and stayed on message as the candidate who has never held office. He was also quick on his feet with some off-the-cuff remarks. It will be interesting to see where his fire goes as the campaign goes on, but he demonstrated that his team will put work into their ground game.
Hanaway came ready, and delivered some of the most stinging attacks on Koster, the absent Greitens, and Governor Jay Nixon. It was clear that she doesn’t have any scruples lingering from last year and is willing to be aggressive with her opponents.
The real message may be the intensity of the Republican base that turned out ,and not only filled the Lohman Opera House & Revel Events Center, but spilled down the stairwell and into the overflow. It shows that there is a intensity in the Republican base that likely worries the Attorney General.
However, the actions of the legislature are just as likely to inspire intensity on the other side with some of the business regulations that would negatively impact labor unions. It’s certainly setting up to the an interesting eight months in Missouri politics.
It is also set up to be an interesting four months completing the legislative session. One dynamic is that after filing how would you like to be a lobbyist sent by David Humphreys to ask Senators Schmitt, Schaefer, Kraus, or Parson to vote for a PQ. I mean, fool them once, shame on them, fool them twice, and people will start to ask if they really do have the judgement to be in high government office.
Speaking of Humphreys, filing did not really produce many surprises, save for Senator Dan Brown filing for state treasurer. The last known wild card is whether David Wassinger files for statewide office or not…
See you on the trail.